Happy New Year! It's Crystal Golf Ball time again!! I'm optimistic about following the PGA Tour again after feeling a little disconnected this past year. I've got my accounts set up for Fantasy Golf and I've been reading up on some of the new players on tour....but as you know, my heart often wins, so you'll probably be seeing some of my old favorites, too. Let's get to it!
The Majors first....As I write this there is only 97 days until the Masters! One of my favorite weeks of the entire year. It's hard for me to say good-bye to my dream of Steve Stricker winning the Masters...but I realize that I must move on. So for 2016 I'm going to go with a player that has moved up my favorites list the past few years - Justin Rose. Since 2011, Rose has been in the Top 25, with a T2 last year behind winner Jordan Spieth. I like his chances!
This year's US Open is at Oakmont CC in PA, with the last winner being Angel Cabrera in 2007. I feel like this is going to be a long ball hitter's course this year so I'm going with Dustin Johnson. Of course there is that other little part of me that would love to see some redemption for DJ after last year at Chamber's Bay. Do DJ!
I'm smiling right now thinking about Zach Johnson winning the Open Championship last year. The British Open can be one of the biggest golf challenges for a PGA Tour player and this year's event is going to be at Royal Troon. It's been 12 years since The Open has been there and, interestingly, the last 6 Open winners at Royal Troon have been Americans. So with that in mind I'm going to go with Rickie Fowler. I know, I know, there might be some different options, but I think Rickie would make a great Champion Golfer of the Year!
Two mere weeks later it's the PGA Championship at Baltusrol in New Jeresy. The PGA is one of my favorite events of the year and it brings about one of the best fields in golf. I don't do this often, but I'm going to go with back to back winners on this event and go with Jason Day. Honestly, I think Day will be in contention in all of the Majors, but I feel like the PGA is where he will shine.
The Players Championship is also a great field at a great course and while you might be wondering what took me so long, I'm going to go with Jordan Speith. It will be hard for Spieth to top his amazing 2015 season, but I think this event would be a perfect addition to his trophy case. And while I don't see him being a multiple Major winner in 2016, I do think he will win 3 times and have a total of 11 top 10's.
It was hard not to pick Phil Mickelson to win a major (my heart is wondering what is wrong with me!). But I do think we're going to see a win this year from Phil as well as a charge again at the Masters. Go Phil!
Another heart pick that didn't make my Majors list was Matt Kuchar...I still think he has a Major coming, but this year I think is going to be a 1 win season with 8 top 10's as he gets ready to represent at the Ryder Cup!
With all the focus on Jordan Spieth in 2015, Bubba Watson's year didn't make top-fold news...Watson had 2 wins, 3 seconds, and 3 thirds, earning over $6.8 million. His only 2 missed cuts? Two Majors, the US and British Opens. I think he will continue with his 2 win streak in 2016 and will win the PGA if Jason Day doesn't.
So, I contemplated putting him in my post because, well, it's been a long road of disappointments, but I've got optimism going for me so....let's have a win for Brendon de Jonge!! This journeyman golfer (averaging around 30 tournaments a year) gave me a glimmer of hope in the fall of 2014, but since then has shown a solid middle of the pack game. I'm not sure where, but he's going to make a run and I'm going to be there to cheer him on! (or write about how crazy I am a year from now).
I'm looking for improvement years for Hunter Mahan and Nick Watney...one of them will get a win.
I'm going to do some research on the new guys on Tour so I can't say much (but I'll do a post soon!), but I think we're going to see a few more first time winners this year, besides the several we saw this past Fall.
I will be rooting again for Erik Compton....I had high hopes last year, so this year I"m just going to say that I think he's going to make more money in 2016 and he'll continue to make a difference both on and off the course - that's a guarantee.
My final few just for fun: Lee Westwood will have a win and 6 top 10's. Charles Howell III will also get a win and most up the OWGR to break inside 100 at some point in the year. Paul Casey is going to have a good season with a win and a run at a Major. Kevin Kisner gets another win in 2016. And I think your winner of the Hyundai TOC is going to be Jason Day!
Enjoy the PGA Tour season - Good Luck at Fantasy Golf - and THANK YOU for reading!! ~Cathy
I love golf and I love to write, so I can't think of anything better than having a happy place like this to write about golf to my heart's content. Thanks for joining me!