Is POY Tiger Woods' to lose in 2014?

And who might be the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year in 2014?

Updated: December 27, 2013, 5:00 PM ET
ESPN.com

Tiger Woods seems to win the PGA Tour Player of the Year award every year, whether he captures a major or not. In 2013, though, there was serious debate before Woods took home another honor.

Might someone other than Woods get the nod in 2014? And who might surprise golf fans and make a run at a Ryder Cup spot for the Americans?

Our scribes dive into those topics and more in the latest edition of Four-Ball.

1. Who will be PGA Tour Player of the Year in 2014?


Michael Collins, ESPN.com senior golf analyst: Tiger Woods will be player of the year for the 213th time. Well, OK, it just seems like that many, but this time he'll have major No. 15 to squash any arguments as to who deserves it.

Farrell Evans, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Tiger will win his 12th player of the year award by taking five or six victories. But there is a very good chance that he will do it again without winning a major.

Bob Harig, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Adam Scott. He was a strong contender in 2013. Now he takes the next step by winning a few more tournaments, contending in majors and making a push for No. 1 in the world.

Kevin Maguire, ESPN.com senior golf editor: The easy answer is Tiger Woods because, simply, he always seems to win. But if forced to pick another name, I'll go out on a small limb and say Keegan Bradley. The 2011 PGA Championship winner will be hyper-focused to make the U.S. Ryder Cup team and he's coming off a "down" year -- although he did still earn north of $3.6 million, albeit without a victory.

2. Who will be PGA Tour Rookie of the Year in 2014?


Collins: Peter Malnati. The great thing about him is his unwavering self-belief. This guy is in my top 10 of people to interview already and I've chatted with him only once. In the nine cuts he made last year on the Web.com Tour, he finished outside the top 25 only once and you should expect the same from him on the PGA Tour.

[+] EnlargeHideki Matsuyama
AP Photo/Kyodo NewsIn his short professional career, Hideki Matsuyama qualified for five majors and made the cut every time. Most astounding might be that at just 21, he owns a pair of top-10s coming in 2013 at the U.S. Open and Open Championship.

Evans: Hudson Swafford. The 26-year-old former Georgia Bulldog spent the past two years on the Web.com Tour while his former college teammates -- Russell Henley, Harris English and Patrick Reed -- won on the big tour. Swafford has a game that's better suited for the PGA Tour. Don't feel bad if you mistake him for English. They look like brothers and both hit long, high fades.

Harig: Since Hideki Matsuyama is not eligible, the vote here goes to Patrick Cantlay, who made his way onto the PGA Tour through the Web.com Tour Finals. Cantlay didn't have a great 2013 season, but he managed to persevere and find his way onto the tour.

Maguire: Chesson Hadley. The Georgia Tech product claimed two Web.com Tour victories in 2013 and posted a very consistent eight top-10s in 22 starts in the PGA Tour's minor leagues. That strong play continued in the early portion of the 2013-14 schedule with a T-5 in just his second start as a full-time PGA Tour member.

3. Give us a player not in the top 50 in the world rankings that could you envision making the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup team next year.


Collins: That's easy, Harris English. At the end of 2012, he was ranked 140th. As of Dec. 16, he was already ranked 53rd with a win under his belt and visions of Augusta. With one more win in 2014, he could make the team with ease.

Evans: With a horrible year of putting, Bo Van Pelt, a perennial top-10 machine over the past four years, has fallen to 57th in the world. The 38-year-old former Oklahoma State star was considered for the 2012 team at Medinah, but didn't play well enough late in the season to earn a spot or a captain's pick.

A good 2014 season could help him land a spot on the Ryder Cup team and put him on a course to finally becoming a regular winner into his 40s.

Harig: Harris English. The winner of two PGA Tour events, including the last one at Mayakoba, English has put himself in excellent position to make the team. He's ranked 53rd in the world and he is fifth in U.S. Ryder Cup points. There is a long way to go, but English has positioned himself well because he'll get chances to play in the WGCs and the majors.

Maguire: Peter Uihlein. He's playing most of the time on the European Tour, so qualifying for Team USA could be a challenge, but if he's able to get into the majors and WGCs, watch out. He's got the game to make a quick jump up that standings list.

4. Who has the best shot at being the 2014 version of Jordan Spieth?


Collins: We're either way too spoiled or my boss has lost his mind. In 1980, 1992, 1994, 1996, 2005, 2011, 2013 -- those are the only times in the history of the PGA Tour guys went from zero status to full status. Last year Spieth became only the second ever (Tiger was the first) to make it to the Tour Championship from that status. So who has the best shot of being 2014's Jordan Spieth? Unless I missed a kid like Jordan coming up, which I didn't, no one.

Evans: John Peterson had top-5s in his last five events of 2013, including a tie for second in the Web.com Tour Championship, which had a very strong field that included many veteran PGA Tour players. In 2012, the former LSU Tiger nearly won the U.S. Open at Olympic, where he finished in a tie for fourth. Peterson has Spieth's confidence and stage presence. He will soon be a winner.

Harig: I don't see anyone doing what Spieth did. That is how incredible the feat is. First, you have to find someone who not only doesn't have PGA Tour status, but not on the Web.com Tour, as well. So is there a player outside of that realm who can do the same thing as Spieth? Highly doubtful. To get into tournaments will be hard enough. To win enough money to become a special temporary member is impressive on its own. But to win and contend for Tour Championship? That is a rare feat that Spieth just accomplished.

Maguire: Max Homa. He's 23 and currently residing around 800th in the world ranking but can crush the ball well over 300 yards off the tee. That certainly helps, but maybe more so is the $171,450 he's earned in two starts of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season. If he can get into enough tournaments, the former Cal Bear could leapfrog up those world rankings pretty quickly.

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