Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Five predictions for the 2010 PGA Tour season

I feel the same way about making predictions as I do over a long bunker shot -- not too good.

But it hasn't stopped me.

I'd like to say I'm as prescient as my friend Scott Michaux, the sports columnist for the Augusta Chronicle. Besides regularly drumming me in an annual pick the winners golf contest we're both in, he has a knack for seeing the future. At least he did.

In a column predicting what would happen in 2004 (I know, that was a while ago), he correctly predicted Phil Mickelson would end his 0-for-majors drought by winning the Masters after a lousy 2003.

But that's not all he predicted.

He also predicted the Boston Red Sox would end 86 years of frustration by winning the World Series that year. Bingo.

And, he correctly predicted Steve Spurrier would be the next football coach at South Carolina.

I can't accurately predict what I'm going to have for dinner. Nevertheless, here are five things I see happening on the PGA Tour this year:

1. Tiger Woods wins the British Open

Who knows, Tiger may not even play this year but I'm guessing he will eventually return and when he does, I like him to win at St. Andrews where he's already won twice.

It will be different when he returns (that's deep insight, I know) but he's still the best player in the game. When it gets back to just golf, he'll win again and again and again. I just hope he gets back to golf this year.

2. Rory and Rickie break through

Rory McIlroy proves this year that he's the real deal, if he hasn't already. He's going to play 15 PGA Tour events (including the Quail Hollow Championship) and he's going to win something, maybe something big. He's going to win around the world and become a huge star.

Rookie Rickie Fowler has the look and the game. He improves golf's cool factor by the power of 10 just by showing up with his long hair and trendy clothes. He gave us a taste of his talent last fall. This year, we see it blossom.

3. Sean O'Hair cracks the top 5

When O'Hair won at Quail Hollow last May, he talked about how it's the kind of event he needs to win, beating a stacked field on a tough course. The win came just weeks after a wicked loss to Tiger at Bay Hill and spoke to O'Hair's toughness.

He doesn't scare. He's outside the top 10 right now but by the end of the year, he'll be in the top five in the world rankings.

4. Tim Clark finally wins on the PGA Tour

Forget the best player without a major discussion (Sergio still leads that one). How about the best player without a PGA Tour win?

That's Tim Clark, the former N.C. State golfer. The drought ends this year, perhaps sooner rather than later. (I think I made this prediction last year, too).

5. Phil Mickelson wins the Masters

For the first time in forever, Mickelson didn't want the season to end last fall. He'd rediscovered his putting stroke, thanks to Dave Stockton, and found a comfort zone in his game. He closed by winning the Tour Championship, going 4-0-1 in the Presidents Cup and winning the HSBC Championship.

He sounds full of confidence and primed for a big year. This is his moment to shine. I'm thinking he seizes it.


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Anonymous said...

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