I've been thinking on and off about the 2015 PGA Tour golf season for the past week or so. I'll be honest, last year I was not a very good PGA Tour fan. I probably watched the Majors and a few other events here and there, but for the most part I gave up on Fantasy Golf by June. I wanted Phil to win the US Open and of course I was rooting for Matt and Stricks whenever I could. Then there was the Ryder Cup...we don't need to talk about that. But I got inspired about golf again during the holidays and for the past week I have been updating the site and reading up on some of the "best of" stories and reviewing the tournament winners over the past year. I guess I'm as ready as I'll ever be to throw out some predictions for 2015! Here. We. Go....
As per tradition, I will do the Majors first. You know who I want to pick for the Masters. I mean I REALLY want to, but even though he has recently had surgery and hopes to be 100% this spring, I'm going to forego my obvious heart pick and go with my other heart pick - Matt Kuchar. Kuchar held a share of the lead in the final round in 2014 but just couldn't keep it up going into the back 9. He's SO due for a Major and I think this Georgia Tech grad would be a perfect pick for 2015.
The 2015 US Open will be held at Chambers Bay in Washington...this course is a ode to the traditional links courses and with it's coastal location could stir up some interesting weather conditions. I'm of course drawn to the obvious heart pick, and with the 2013 British Open win, this might look like the right course for his career Grand Slam. So this time I'm going with my heart (and my Mom's and Deb's!) and predict that Phil Mickelson will be your US Open winner.
The Open Championship (The British) is back at St. Andrews in 2015. The last winner at the Old Course, in 2010, was Louis Oosthuizen, and the 2 prior to that was Tiger Woods in 2000 and 2005. But I'm going with the defending Open Champion, Rory McIlroy. Two Majors in 2014 and feeling confident, I think July will find him keeping the Claret Jug one more year.
We're back to Whistling Straits for the PGA Championship, and that is one challenging golf course. (Who remembers Dustin Johnson's "bunker or not a bunker"ruling?) It's no surprise that the 2010 of the last PGA Championship held at Whistling Straits was Martin Kaymer, and with 1 Major and the Players in his win category in 2014, Kaymer's not a bad choice...but I'm going with Rickie Fowler. It took me awhile to warm up to Fowler, but last year he showed some great ball striking and he put himself into positions to win. I think his 2014 experience will lend to a Major in '15. Fowler will also have at least 7 top 10's and make a run for the FedEx Cup.
I love The Players Championship. We can argue all day on "5th Major" status (or not!), but it's got an awesome field and requires a great combination of patience and pouncing on opportunity. I'm going with a player that got me a Major pick in 2013, Justin Rose. Rose had a T4 at the TPC Sawgrass in '14, but prior to that had less than marginal showings, But a T4 at the Tournament of Champions makes me think he's ready to shine in another big event. Rose will have at least 1 other win in '15 as well.
If you read my 2014 predictions, you may have noticed that I was on a little Tiger Woods bandwagon. Apparently I was drawn into the pre-season hype (or had a concussion) and instead we got 7 events and a sore back. According to PGATour.com, he's the #2 player to watch in 2015, but I don't think I'm going to fall for it this year (for Pete's sake, I picked him to win the FedEx Cup title last year!!) I think he's going to get a win in 2015, I hope he plays at least 14 events and brings some of his fans back to the ropes, but that's as far as I'm going for TW.
Speaking of the FedEx Cup, I'm going to go with Bubba Watson. I think he's going to have another season with at least 1 win, 5 top 10's and at least 50% of his events in the top 25.
Alright, I'm going to get it over with now...I'm going to choose to forget his stats in 2014 and focus on the fact he was in a playoff at the McGladrey a few months ago coming up just short..so Brendon de Jonge WILL win in 2015! (Let the insanity continue!)
I'm so excited that Erik Compton will be playing in his first Masters in 2015!! Compton met or exceeded all of my expectations in 2014, so I don't want to get too crazy, but I'm throwing out this challenge for him in 2015 - he will break the $2 million mark in earnings for the season, he will have 3 top 10's, and will make 70% of his cuts. As far as the Masters goes, Compton will make the cut and finish in the top 25. GO ERIK!!
FedEx Cup winner Billy Horschel will have a nice 2015. He will win, contend in 2 Majors, and will make it to the Tour Championship.
Adam Scott will make another run at the Green Jacket but will come up short to Kuchar. Scott will win, maybe in Texas, and may be your FedEx Cup winner if it's not Bubba.
Last year I predicted Jordan Speith wouldn't win in 2014 and he didn't...but this year, I think he's going to win, maybe twice, and make a run in a Major. Watch for 6 top 10's from him.
Have you been wondering where Steve Stricker is? Always close to my heart, Stricker will continue on his limited schedule and probably take it slow after having some surgery, but he's got another win in him this year!! I think he'll make it to the FedEx Cup playoffs and make it to the Top 30. And maybe, just maybe, a little of me is rooting for a Masters win this year!
Another favorite player of mine, Bill Haas, went winless in 2014, so I think he's going to get a win in 2015 and contend at the US Open.
Winless since 2012, Keegan Bradley is another player who will break through with a win in 2015. He will also better his cut number to only 3 missed cuts and 5 Top 10's.
I think I've finally forgiven Jimmy Walker for knocking me out of the Make the Cut Challenge at Buzz Fantasy Leagues last year. I think we're going to see Walker have another hot start in early 2015 with a win and 3 top 10's. He will also make the cut in all of the Majors.
This year I'll end with Sergio Garcia. Garcia will post 2 wins on Tour this year and be a contender in 2 Majors, fall just short in both. He will also make a run at the FedEx Cup title.
There you have it - my best golf thoughts as we stroll into 2015. I'm still not crazy about this split year Tour season, so for the record my overall results include all events in the 14-15 season, but wins only count in 2015 only. Oh - one final prediction - the Hyundai Tournament of Champions winner will be....Patrick Reed!
Looking forward to a great 2015 year of golf.
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