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GolfOnline's 5 Names to watch in 2014

January 14, 2014

As the dust begins to settle from the holidays and the back-to-work grind takes hold, January can quickly become a cold and tedious time with not much to look forward to. Here's a little treat to help get you excited about the year of golf ahead as we take a look at the five players we think are worth watching in 2014.

5. Zach Johnson

It's a name you probably didn't give too much notice to this time last year but a strong finish in 2013 gave Johnson his first taste of the top 10 and it doesn't look like the American's willing to relinquish his hard-earned success. After beating Tiger Woods at the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge with a spectacular bounce shot, Johnson managed to pick up 2014 right where he left off 2013, with a big win! The 37-year-old proved he hadn't lost momentum, edging his way back up to the top of the leaderboard in the final round and winning the Hyundai Tournament of Champions by one stroke on January 6th.

The current world number 7 told reporters after his win, "I've always liked the stories [of] the teams and the individuals that are kind of coming from behind, that are not supposed to win." Adding, "I'm not saying I'm always an underdog, but I kind of feel like it."

Hey Zach- we love an underdog too!

4. Phil Mickelson

Lefty proved he's still got what it takes to win majors in 2013. After using the Scottish Open as "practice" for the Open Championship in July, Mickelson sailed to victory at Muirfield. But an exciting summer soon gave way to a lacklustre year's end. The 43-year-old announced in October he would be scaling back his tournament schedule to better prepare for the major tournaments of 2014, mainly the U.S. Open which remains the only major to allude the Callaway player. After six second-place finishes will this finally be the year Mickelson completes his major grand slam with a win at Pinehurst?

3. Jordan Spieth

He might be only 20 years old but that hasn't stopped this Texan from giving the veterans some serious competition on the greens. With his win at the John Deere Classic in July, Spieth became the first teenager in 82 years to win a PGA Tour event. A feat not even Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy can claim. Beginning 2013 ranked at 810th in the world, Spieth rose to number 22 by the year's end. Earning him notice from a few people in high places, including Fred Couples who made the young golfer his Captain's pick at the 2013 Presidents Cup. When asked about the choice Woods agreed stating, "He's earned his way on here and he's played exceptional golf and his talent is going to take him a long way over the years." With a glowing reference from the number one golfer in the world we're definitely keeping our eye on Spieth!

2. Henrik Stenson

Having ended 2012 ranked as the number 53 golfer in the world everyone can agree Stenson had a pretty awesome 2013. The 37-year-old was a prime example of hard work and determination translating to victory on the golf course. Becoming the first player ever to win the FedEx Cup and the Race to Dubai in the same season, Stenson already knows the next hurdle he needs to conquer. "The majors are the biggest goal for me now and if I can continue to play at the level I have been then I feel I can have a pretty good shot at them." With a current ranking of number 3, just behind Adam Scott and Tiger Woods, 2014 looms big for the Swede and we can't wait to see what he offers.

1. Tiger Woods

Even though he might be stuck at 14 majors, Woods still had an incredible 2013. Most evident by his peers electing him the PGA Tour's Golfer of the Year. After a difficult few years away from the course, Woods' golf game was in fear of stalling in the wake of personal issues. But during the past 12 months the Nike player has shown definitive signs that the old Tiger is emerging, securing five PGA Tour wins. The 2014 major venues have the 38-year motivated so we might just see Woods finally break 14. "I'm really excited about the major championships next year. I've won at three of the four venues -- Augusta National, Valhalla Golf Club and Royal Liverpool -- and on Pinehurst No. 2 (U.S. Open), I'm trending the right way, having finished third and second."

This list was compiled by GolfOnline an online golf retailer selling the latest golf equipment in 2014.

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