Since everyone else is doing it, I thought I’d throw in my predictions for 2012. Some are actual predictions; some just wishes. I’ll leave you to figure out which is which.
1. Fred Couples wins the Masters. And why not? His back apparently is in as good a shape as it’s been in ages, the belly putter is working, and I doubt there’s another serious contender who knows the course as well as he.
2. Luke Donald wins his first Major at the US Open. There’s been a lot of talk about Jim Furyk having a great chance at Olympic because of his irons play. But is there anyone better right now than Donald?
3. Sergio Garcia wins the Open Championship. His game seems to be back on track, and he’s due. I also think this is the Major he was born to win.
4. Dustin Johnson wins the PGA Championship. He’s due.
5. Tiger contends in three of the four Majors. He ends the season with a single PGA Tour regular season victory, but not a Major.
6. For just the third season in his career, Phil Mickelson will be without a Tour victory. I say this for the same reason I think Tiger will struggle to just one win: the young talent out there right now is dominating. The only thing the younger guys have left to do is to “learn to win.” That lesson, they’re learning fast. There were 20 wins by players on their twenties on tour last year. I expect to see that again.
7. Following up on that thought, the PGA Tour season will be dominated by the current crop of “Young Guns”: Webb Simpson, Dustin Johnson, Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan, Jason Day, Nick Watney, Matt Kuchar (not so young), and Bubba Watson. That’s not much of a prediction, though.
8. The US wins the Ryder Cup.
9. Tim Finchem announces his retirement.
10. The PGA Tour and LPGA merge operations, but not overall management. This move allows the LPGA to maintain its independence, while saving millions on the day to day operations side. The PGA Tour has done a similar thing with the Canadian Tour—loaning it money while providing operational help with development and sponsorship.