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The Top 10 Golfers of 2004

Selecting the Best Golfers of 2004

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Which golfers had the best years in 2004? Now that the 2004 seasons are over or winding down, we've taken a look back and made our selections. Take a look and, if you're so inclined, make your own picks in the Golf Forum.

Let's count them down:

10. Michelle Wie
Sure, she didn't win a single tournament in 2004, but Wie dominated every tournament she was at in attention received from fans, media and fellow competitors. It already seems like Wie has been around a while, but remember, for most of 2004 Wie was just 14 years old. This 14-year-old girl (age 15 at the time of this writing) played a PGA Tour event at the beginning of the year and came within one stroke of making the cut. She made the cut in all seven LPGA events she played. She finished 33rd in one but made the Top 20 in all others, including a 4th in the Kraft Nabisco, an LPGA major. And, as the youngest-ever participant in the event, she performed well on the winning U.S. Curtis Cup team.

9. Kevin Stadler
Son of the Walrus. And Kevin looks and acts just like dad, Craig Stadler. The resemblance is so uncanny, down to their girth and mannerisms, that NBC announcer Gary Koch refers to Kevin as "Maxi-Me." Something else father and son have in common: dynamic golf games. Kevin played his way onto the Nationwide Tour near midseason and wound up winning two tournaments and finishing in the Top 20 on the money list. That means he's earned his way onto the PGA Tour. Stadler may not have the most upside of the 2004 Nationwide Tour grads (that would be Jimmy Walker), but he should definitely be the most fun to watch over the years.

8. Retief Goosen
Goosen is a stealthily great player. He's so efficient, consistent and quiet that he's easy to forget - until he pops up with another victory. He had three wins in 2004, two on the U.S. PGA and one on the European PGA. His two U.S. wins were doozies - the U.S. Open and the season-ending Tour Championship. Goosen finished sixth on the U.S. money list and second on the European money list. In his 16 tournaments in America, he recorded nine Top 10 finishes.

7. Tiger Woods
We should all have slumps like Tiger Woods. In 2004, Woods won only once (the WGC Match Play), his lowest win total since 1998. But Tiger Woods' slump produced a season that 99 percent of the golfers who've ever played the PGA Tour would consider a career year. In 19 tournaments, Tiger had 14 top 10 finishes (second-best on Tour). He had three second-place finishes and three thirds, in addition to his one win. He finished fourth on the money list. He was third in scoring average and second in putting. It's a measure of how remarkable Woods' career has been that such a season is considered a disappointment. On the other hand, he married a Swedish swimsuit model, which should probably count as a major.

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