Well, I'm cutting it a little closer to the end of the year than I thought I would to get my 2014 predictions out, but I'm here! I started this little tradition over at www.tees2greens.com and if you followed any of those, you know that my prediction record usually hovers between marginal and almost hilarous...until last year!!
When I looked back on my 2013 predictions in November, I discovered that I picked 2 of the 4 Major winners! (Justin Rose - US Open and Jason Dufner - PGA Championship) That alone vaulted me over any other year, but I had some decent other guesses, too. You can review all of my picks here. But now it's time to move on to 2014!
It's been a wonderful and hectic week or so getting ready for the holidays and spending time with family. Shopping, shopping again, and then that last minute trip to go shopping! We had our family Christmas a little early and I got the absolute best present from my Mom.
It was the last present I opened and it was a little bag - when I opened it, I found some golf balls, tees, Aleve, sunscreen, bug spray, a few quarters and a few other treasurers - it was exactly what I described in my last blog post as a neat present for that golfer in your life. The present was awesome, but knowing that my Mom read my post and was thoughtful enough to pull all those items together was the best gift I could as for. Thanks Mom!!
I wish everyone a blessed Christmas!!
Let's Go Shopping!
I know just about every golf related web site and blog shares their list of great gifts for golfers this time of year, but I’m going to be honest – half of them feel like promotions for their sponsors or just not applicable to the “average” golfer. Yes, somebody please give me a golf trip to Hawaii or Brandon Dunes…or a week at Annika’s Golf Academy. But lipstick and nail polish? (yes, these were all on holiday gift guides for golfers) Please, we can do better!
I've already posted an older list of ideas for female golfers, so I’ll build off of that and hopefully give you some links to a few neat gift ideas.
But first, let me say that it’s always good to be checking the golf shopping web sites this time of year, because many of them are doing daily or weekly sales/specials that will be too hard for me to keep track of. More and more sites like to do the “24 hour sale” so just when you think you've found something the sale is gone!
My favorite shopping sites are: 1. www.budgetgolf.com They usually have a weekly sale email and right now they are doing the 12 days of Christmas sales with a group of items lasting 24 hours on sale. Be sure to go to their clearance tab for some great sales. 2. www.rockbottomgolf.com Rockbottom always has deals, but doesn’t always have the same level of hot new items like some of the other sites, so if you’re okay with getting some older models (and some may only be 6 months old or less) this is a great site! (20% off site-wide right now!) 3. www.tgw.com I haven’t purchased anything from them lately, but I have been a good customer in the past! 4. www.golfsmith.com I’ve gotten a few things here, but I find better deals and selection in their stores vs. online. It can be hit or miss for me. (free shipping specials now!) 5. www.ebay.com There are several retailers that sell via ebay and it can be worth a weekly or daily check to see if your favorite items are available. But as we get run out of time make sure you can get it under the tree before Christmas.
I also encourage you to shop around! If you love a sale (and you know I do!) you can often find deals on at least a few sites, and if you are loyal to some more than others, you might find price matching guarantees so you can buy from your favorite place with a great price. I know it can be a pain to get all kinds of emails when you sign up for lists, but you can find some good deals! Just send them right to a Golf Folder in your email! Check out free shipping (TGW is having free shipping right now!) or Google for coupon codes for golf sites so you can get the best deal. Of course if getting the best deal isn't important to you, then shop away!
Okay! Let’s get to some golf gift ideas.
Novelty Golf Head Covers – If you have a golfer in your world that has a favorite animal, cartoon character, sports team, or just about anything else, you can probably find a head cover. Check out http://www.headcoversonline.com/ to see all the ones they have to offer. And right now they are having 25% off and free shipping! You could find a neat gift for under $25.
Golf Socks – nothing beats a great golf shoe, but a nice golf sock can make a day on the course even more enjoyable! There are all kinds of high performance golf socks out there, with prices ranging from $4.00 a pair to over $20! I think nice golf socks are a great gift because it might not be something a golfer would invest in themselves. I’m a fan of FootJoy, but there are many comfortable and sporty looking socks from golf manufacturers and specialty brands like Kentworth ($19.95 a pair). Golf socks make a great stocking stuffer! (pun intended)
If you’re looking for a gift idea say, from the kids, here’s what I think would be a neat idea and it might not even cost that much. Buy a pencil bag or medium zipper pouch and then fill it up with all kinds of golf stuff so your favorite golfers can put it in their bag – throw in some golf balls (you can buy over runs by the single at many shops or just buy a sleeve and throw them in, golf tees, a couple ball markers or quarters, some Band-Aids, a mini-bug spray, aspirin, repair tool, golf pencils, etc. You know we all have gotten some of this stuff as tee-prizes at events, but then we use up all the Band-Aids or take the quarters out and then we don’t have what we need. I would love a present like this (hint, hint!).
I’m always leery of recommending buying golf clubs, wedges, or putters unless you specifically know what it should be. Equipment is just too expensive not to get what is best for their game. A gift card to your local pro shop or golf retailer would be great here! Yes, I know that can seem impersonal, but let me say from experience, a gift card has been one of my favorite presents!
Speaking of gift cards – getting rounds of golf is a great idea – I’m amazed at how many online auctions or “deal sites” have buy 1 get 1 free offers or 50% off on golf at many area courses – heck I wouldn't feel bad if someone got me discounted rounds of golf. Be sure to buy one for yourself, too, so you can go together.
If you have a little more to spend, I think the new wrist GPS offerings are great. They seem to get great reviews and it sounds like you can get just about any course. All the big brand names are making one (Garmin, Bushnell, Sky Caddie) and they range from around $150 for the basic to up to $350 for more features. Of course you can go to full GPS hand helds or a ranger finder, too…save your cell phone battery.
For those of us that only golf half of the year, I’m thinking a putting mat would be a nice gift idea for home or office. You can get a basic floor flat model for between $20-$40, or get a special order raised floor model for a few thousand dollars. It’s a great incentive to get out of your office chair.
Of course I never think you can go wrong with a great Titleist hat or a box of Pro-V’s…and you can often get both personalized for free.
Other stocking stuffers could be a nice water bottle, a personalized golf towel, a nice extra-large umbrella, a trunk organizer or the jazzy ball markers for women.
Now hurry up and get out there to get me something!! Okay, just kidding, but I do hope some of your Christmas shopping might include some golf items this year.
AND, if you find any great deals out there, please comment here so we can all share in the joy. Happy Shopping!!
Show Me the Money
Ever since the FedEx Cup came to being, we've drifted away from ranking players by how much money they earn in a PGA Tour season. It wasn't all that long ago that "the money list" is what ranked a player in terms of playing privileges on Tour and determined whether or not he might have to go back to Q-school. Now, in 2013, it's the FedEx Cup points list that determines how much you can play or what your Tour status is.
Gone are the days that the Top 125 on the Money list matters. After the FedEx Cup playoffs (that Henrik Stenson won), there was a fall series where players that were on or near the Top 125 FedEx Cup Points bubble were battling it out to retain their playing status or face going back to the dreaded 6 round Q-school where the top 25 would get a card to play on the big tour...that, of course, has changed, too.
If you are outside the top 125 now, you're going into the fall series playoff with the web . com guys to hopefully make enough money to qualify. If not, the web. com tour may just be waiting.
I'm sorry the money list isn't our "go to" stat anymore. I was curious as to what guys actually made last year - I know Tiger won 5 times, but I can't recalling anyone saying he also raked in a cool $8.55 million. Henrik Stenson, with 2 wins including the Tour Championship, was second with $6.3 million (not including is FedEx Cup windfall).
The next 4 on the list each had 2 wins this year...Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Brandt Snedeker and Adam Scott earned between $5.6 million to $4.8 million. The highest money earner without a win was none other than Steve Stricker, earning $4.44 million in just 13 events.
The lowest earner with a win was Woody Austin, who won the Sanderson Farms Championship worth $540,000, and then cashed in only 1 other event (of 8 total on the Tour) for another $28,800, with a total earnings of $568,800 for 2013.
Brendon deJonge played 30 events on the PGA Tour in 2013, the most for any Tour player, and took home $1.8 million. Rory McIlory only needed 16 events to earn $1.8 million. There were 33 players who won more than $2 million, and there was a total of 82 golfers who cashed in at least $1 million, with Brendan Steele at 82nd.
There were 8 players who got only 1 start on the PGA Tour in 2013, and the highest earner of that group was Bernard Langer, winning $56, 040 at the Masters. But don't feel too bad for Langer, he played in 24 events on the Champions Tour and took home over $2.4 million there, which included 23 top 25 finishes.
Besides Stricker, Keegan Bradley, Jason Day, Jim Furyk, Hunter Mahan, and Webb Simpson all finished in the top 20 in money earnings without posting a PGA Tour win in 2013.
It should probably be noted that Tiger Woods won his $8+ Million in only 16 events, where he made all of the cuts and had 8 top ten finishes (including the 5 wins). Woods' worst finish was a T65 (2) and his Player's Championship was his best payday winning $1.71 million that weekend.
I'm thinking back to Rory McIlory, in 2012 he was #1 on the PGA Tour money list earning just over $8 million in 16 events that included 4 wins. What a difference a year makes. Same number of events (16) and $6 million less in earnings. I think that's why his recent win in Australia has been dubbed a "comeback"...and just like Tiger, Rory is good for golf, so wins matter.
All this makes me start pondering my 2014 predictions. Who is going to shine starting in January? Will we have another $8 million man? Will the 2013 non-winners step up and get a W? And who is going to win the FedEx Cup?
The members of the PGA Tour duel with their golf clubs to make their living and more importantly to keep their status. We'll see what the 82 millionaires from the 2013 season will show us!
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!