The Follow-Through: Walker taking advantage of new schedule
By David Jordan, Golf Editor
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - The PGA Tour has tweaked its schedule this season and no one has taken advantage of it more than Jimmy Walker.
The new wrap-around schedule started Oct. 10 at the Frys.com Open, which was just a week after the 2013 campaign's final event, the Presidents Cup.
When many of the PGA Tour's marquee players were taking some time off following the grueling marathon of a season, Walker was tearing through the competition to earn his first three titles on tour.
The first came at the aforementioned Frys.com Open before he collected two consecutive top-15 finishes over his next two starts. He then collected his second win at the Sony Open in Hawaii.
After missing the cut at his next event - the Farmers Insurance Open - Walker earned his third career victory last weekend at Pebble Beach.
Walker's four top-10 finishes this season are just one shy of his five all of last season and he has already surpassed last season's earnings in just eight events.
Not to take anything away from Walker's accomplishments, but much of his success could be attributed to the new schedule.
All three of his victories have not come in tournaments with the strongest of fields, as his toughest win came last weekend at Pebble Beach when seven of the top 21 players in the world rankings participated.
What those wins can do for him, though, is build his confidence, so when he does find himself battling with the likes of Tiger Woods and Adam Scott on a weekend in the future, he will have the belief in himself that he can compete for the win.
It's not to say he lacked belief in himself, but it's hard to think a man who had not collected a win on tour since joining the PGA full-time in 2009 would not have a shadow of doubt in his mind that he could pull it out.
Now Walker has the distinction of being the hottest player in all of golf, and he's projecting doubt into the mind of his competitors.
In a sport in which the mental aspect is just as important as the physical, that gives Walker a decided edge.
"I just go out and play golf. This is what I want to do and I've worked really hard to do it, to be here, and to be in this position, and it's really cool," Walker said after his final round at Pebble Beach.
Really cool is a bit of an understatement.
He is on a streak slightly less hot than Woods' run of four wins in a seven- tournament stretch in early 2013 which included three titles in a four-start stretch. The tournament that was not a win during that span was a tie for fourth at the Masters, where a famous rules violation ended the chance of a potential victory.
That streak catapulted Woods to earning his 11th career PGA Tour Player of the Year award, a feat Walker still seems a long shot for, but is clearly in driver's seat as of this moment.
Whether Walker can keep up this pace when the weather turns warmer and more players come out of their winter hibernation remains to be seen. What is clear, however, is Walker has set himself apart from the crowd as another name to watch for in upcoming tournaments.
02/14 13:36:21 ET