Here are the GolfBlogger’s predictions for this year’s PGA Tour season (yes, I know it began in the fall, but old habits die hard).
1) Tiger will win several times at the usual courses—those six courses that account for half his career victories. He will, however, fail again to win a major. Before Tiger fans start sending hate mail, though, let me explain. Tiger is certainly good enough to win a Major. But so are about thirty other guys. Gone are the days when Tiger could show up on Sunday and watch everyone else implode in his wake. YE Yang stole that Mojo. The talent is better and the players more fearless than they were early in Tiger’s career. Tiger also is a year older and the task of winning majors will get harder with each passing year. He’s got gimpy knees, a gimpy back, gimpy elbows and a gimpy wrist. None of that will get any better with each passing year.
This is a year in which Tiger really needs to win a Major, though. Jack won his fifteenth the summer he was 38. Tiger, who has been ahead of Nicklaus thus far, falls behind if he can’t pull it off.
2) Jason Day will win the Masters. He finished T2 in 2011 and 3rd in 2013. The year in between, 2012, he withdrew. Day seemingly saves his biggest days for the biggest venues and this is arguably the biggest. My backup winner is Brandt Snedeker. Brandt has the putting chops to win at Augusta. He was T3 in 2008, T6 in 2013. In 2011 and 2012, he finished 15th and 19th, respectively. If he can just get out of his own way …
3) Phil Mickelson will win the US Open. This is more of a wish than a prediction, but there it is. The (very good) argument against a Phil career slam at Pinehurst is that his own—and everyone else’s expectations—are so high. On the other hand, those expectations may just be what Phil needs. Jason Day is my backup for much the same reason as he’s my favorite in the Masters: two second place finishes in the last three years at the US Open. I’ll also back out of my first prediction a bit and say that if Tiger does win a Major this year, it should be the US Open. The US Open is a tournament where he could “back into” a win, holding steady while other collapse.
4) Sergio Garcia will win the Open Championship. Or he will embarrass himself. If he wins, it will be his only career Major. Sergio has been playing very well of late, and he is only 33. It only seems as though he’s ready to transition to the Champions Tour. Phil won his first Major at age 33, so why not Sergio? My backup is Dustin Johnson. He’s finished T2, T9 and T32 over the last three years. Tiger won at Royal Liverpool in 2006 and hit just one driver. Johnson is crazy long and could get away with hitting irons off the tee to keep it in the fairway and avoid trouble.
5) Matt Kuchar wins the PGA Championship. He’s due. Bubba Watson is my backup. Or maybe Keegan Bradley again. For my money, the PGA is the most “democratic” of the Majors, leaving it wide open, and making predictions difficult.
6) The US wins the Ryder Cup. I think the emphasis put on the choice of Captain is ridiculous, but Tom Watson does have Mojo across the pond. Plus, the US has to win sometime, right?
7) Lydia Ko will win an LPGA Major. Even now barely old enough to drive, Ko won five professional tournaments as an amateur, including two Canadian Opens.
8) Jordan Speith will win at least two tournaments. I think he’s that good.
9) The USGA’s Decision 18/4 is going to cause a major controversy. The rule essentially says that television replays won’t be used to determine rules infractions regarding ball movement. But that won’t stop television cameras from picking up the ball movement, and “analysts”—both on television and at home—from noticing them. Somebody is going to win a tournament with one of these non-infractions in his rear view mirror.
10) The professional golf media will continue to suck at Tiger’s teat. That one is guaranteed.