For the past several years I've posted a Crystal Golf Ball predictions list around the time of the Tournament of Champions in January, and then, around the holidays I check back in to see how terrible I did - there have been some doozy years, and I think one that was actually pretty good! I pulled up my post from January, and without further ado, here's how the golf year went based on my predictions...
My tradition is to start with the Majors...and with that my favorite week of the year...The Masters.
My heart swells just thinking about it, but I haven't had great luck at all picking a winner here...probably because of my tendency to go with Heart Picks here. But I think I can say not many people would have put Danny Willett in a green jacket in January a year ago. But for 2017 I'm going with current #2 player in the world, Rory McIlroy. In the last 3 years he's finished T10, 4th, and T8, and while new clubs may be in his bag, I'm feeling like this may just be the year for a green jacket. If not Rory, I would like to see my 2015 pick, Justin Rose, to be in the mix.
This was a great Masters!! Congratulations to Sergio!! Rory finished T7, which wasn't an awful pick - although he was never really in the mix. I will call the Justin Rose "in the mix" prediction a win with his great Sunday and playoff drama. Looking forward to 2018 already!! (PS, Matt Kuchar was T4!
The US Open is coming to the Midwest! Erin Hills, in Erin, Wisconsin will be the host in 2017. Not knowing much about the course, but loving their logo, it seems like Rory would be a great pick here, too!! But I'm going to go with Henrik Stenson. I got on his fan bus last year and well, he's accurate off the tee and has a great GIR %. What's not to like on a what is usually a tight course?
Uff da...Not a great pick here - Stenson missed the cut with 73-74, with Brooks Koepka taking home the championship by 4 strokes. Rickie Fowler started hot with a 65 but followed it up with a 73 and ended up T5.
This year the Champion Golfer of the Year will be determined at Royal Birkdale, located 20 miles north of Liverpool. The last time the Open was at Birkdale, Padraig Harrington was your champion, so it's been awhile to base any decision on history. So looking at other past winners there, and unapologically following my heart, I'm going with Matt Kuchar. Kuch SO deserves a Major and I've just got a feeling.
Oh, if it hadn't been for Jordan Spieth, and that final round back 9, this prediction might have come true!! Kuchar ended up solo 2nd, 3 strokes behind Spieth who gave 3 strokes to Kuch on the front 9 before rallying...-5 on the last 4 holes! I love Spieth, so it was hard not to be happy for him, but my heart, oh my heart, was wanting to believe this would be his first Major!! I give this a heart win.
Argubly, the best field of the year, the PGA Championship will be at Quail Hollow in August. The site of the Wells Fargo Championship, Quail Hollow has some history...a 2-time winner there is Rory McIlroy, and it's not often that I would pick the same person more than once for a Major, but Rory might just be a 2-time Major winner in 2017. Go Rory!
Huh, I didn't remember I was on a Rory kick a year ago...and I didn't know last January that Justin Thomas would have the year he had, including this win at the PGA Championship. McIlroy finished T22, so I guess that's better than a MC. Thomas made me a fan this year!!
The Players Championship is one of my favorites, and while I was saving this tournament of Dustin Johnson (2016 player of the year!) after looking at his history here, I'm not sure it's the right fit. So I'm going to go with Hideki Matsuyama. He's off to a great start in the 16-17 season, and he finished T7 last year.
Si Woo Kim came out victorious at the 2017 Players, and the best Matsuyama could do was T22. I'll have to do some better research next year!
Okay, now back to Dustin Johnson...DJ is just so fun to watch and deserving for POY honors in 2016. I believe DJ will win 2 times in 2017 and have 12 Top 10's...with a possible win at the Shell Houston Open as he gets ready for Augusta.
DJ carded 4 wins in the 16-17 season, but if you remember, didn't play the Masters after a tumble down some stairs...and he didn't play the Shell. With only 20 events this year he had a solid 8 top 10's that included his 4 wins...which included the Dell Match Play. Current #1 on the OWGR, DJ ha d a great year!
The current #1 Player in the world is getting back into the swing of things. and Jason Day may be prime for a great season, especially with his new Nike apparel! He plays the bigger events and I believe he'll be in contention in at least 3 of the 4 Majors, just coming up short in each of them. But he will have 2 wins, one early and one at the end of the year. I think 75% of his events he will be in the top 20.
This was not a great year for Day, who did not card any wins on the PGA Tour and had some family commitments that came first. In 20 events, there were 12 top 25's, but also 4 missed cuts. An off year for Day may mean a rebound in '18.
Phil Mickelson has been on my mind since the Ryder Cup - while I know there are new players to be fans of, i just can't get off the Lefty fan bus!! Winless since 2013, Mickelson did card 3 seconds in 2016 and earned just over $4 million. 2017 seems like a perfect time for a W! He's had a good history on the west coast, and I think the fans would LOVE a win at the Waste Management Open. I, of course, would love a run a the Masters, but if not the WMO we might see a win at the St. Jude.
2017 didn't bring an individual win for Mickelson, but he had a great President's Cup!! Lefty had 5 top 10's in 22 events with only 2 MC's. It's going to be hard to to root for him again in 2018!!
I had high hopes for Rickie Fowler in 2016, but he only had 1 top 3 & 8 top 10's making $2.7 million for the season, with no wins. He brings excitement to the game so I hope we'll see some more higher finishes and I think we will see a win this year as well...and possibly a run at the PGA Championship.
Yes, a win for Fowler!! Fowler had a decent 2017 season with a win at the Honda and 10 top 10's in 21 events. And he did finish T5 at the PGA so I'm calling this one a win!
How have I gotten this far without mentioning Jordan Spieth?? There is SO much to like about Jordan and I'm always rooting for him. After the amazing 2015 season, '16 was a little bit of a yo-yo year, 2 wins but only 8 top 10's in 21 events, including 2 MC's. $5.5 million is nothing to sneeze at for the year, but a $12 million prior season makes a weird perspective. My hope for Jordan is a 3 win season, runs at all the Majors and 50% of his events will end up in the top 10. I'm also going to say Top 5 at the Sony Open that he just confirmed.
Thank you, Jordan!! It WAS a 3 win season for Jordan, including another Major at the British Open...and in 23 events he had 12 top 10's...AND he finished 5th at the Sony - I'm calling this another win!!
Okay some scatter shooting (a la Sam Johnson) on a few more guys:
Sergio Garcia, while he doesn't play a lot of events here, I think he'll have a win and 5 top 10's and earn over $4 million (even if he's getting married!)
Well, I was a little off on this one...Sergio played 17 events, had 3 top 10's and earned about $3.5 million - and got a nice little Green Jacket.
Danny Willett will miss the cut at the Masters this year. (I might still be a little bitter about how he was at the Ryder Cup this year)
This was true - 73-78 +7 CUT
Adam Scott will break into the top 5 in the OWGR at some point in 2017, will have 1 win, and no missed cuts.
Well I'm 0 for everything on Adam Scott - at the beginning of 2017 Scott was at #6 in the world but never broke into the top 5 - and now as of this week he's #31...sheesh. He didn't have any wins this year on the PGA Tour and he had 3 missed cuts. Here's rooting for a better 2018!!
I've started to like Ryan Moore more now after the Ryder Cup - I think he's going to get into the Top 25 in the OWGR sometime this year, make the cut in all the Majors, getting into the Top 5 at the US Open.
Another overly optimistic prediction - Moore got to #30 on the OWGR in Feb. 2017 but then fell down the list, landing at #54 at the end of November. Moore made the cut at the Masters, missed the cut at the British, and WD'd at the US Open with a shoulder injury. Hopefully we'll see a little turnaround!
I picked Stenson to win the US Open this year but I think he will have a multi-win season, and he'll knock on the door to the #1 spot on the OWGR but will be #2 at some point in 2017.
If I remember, Stenson did have some injury issues this year, so I guess that may have impacted his 2017 results. Stenson had 1 win this year, was at #3 in the world early in 2017 and while staying in the top 10, is now lingering at #9 at the end of November.
I LOVED Patrick Reed at the Ryder Cup!! And he had a great 2016, with a win, 11 top 10's and over $5.6 million in earnings, ending up 3rd in the FedEx Cup race. So I guess what he needs next is a Major...he was in the Top 15 in the Britsh & PGA so I think we might see him make a run at one this year but may have to wait to hoist a trophy (Prove me wrong, PReed!)
Well, PReed had 4 top 10's in 29 events...and he did have a run at the PGA with a T2 finish, but otherwise just had a ho-hum year. Maybe he just does better in a team setting?
Jimmy Walker was a bit under the radar for me last year, until he won the PGA! With only 5 Top 10's in 25 events, I think Walker has something to prove in '17 - he will win, have 8 top 10's and move inside the top 30 on the OWGR at some point in 2017.
I'm feeling a little like a jinx this year!! Walker played in 21 events, only had 1 top 10, but he did break the top 30 in week 1 of the 2017 year - all the way down to #20 - and hung around the 20's until the Players in May and then started to take a tumble, landing outside the top 50 at the end of November.
I contemplated including Tiger Woods - I honestly don't know what his plans are, how long he will last, or if the drive is still in him. But if I had to guess, I don't think we'll see a win, but we'll see enough improvement that he'll get plenty of TV coverage and and 3 Top 10's.
OH Tiger...in 2 events in the 16-17 season there was really nothing to see. But we should be seeing him at his event before the end of 2017 and we should get some sense if we'll be seeing him tee it up in 2018.
My ultimate Heart Pick is of course Steve Stricker - his limited schedule gave us 15 events in 2016, and with a 4th at the British Open I'm hoping that means we'll see him at all the Majors this year...ESPECIALLY the Masters!! It may be just the sign/inspiration he needs to get his Major and Green Jacket!! I hope that means we'll see him in some events leading up to Augusta and I'm going to say he'll have 4 Top 10's this year and crack the $2 million mark in earnings. GO STEVE!!
Well, with Stricker finding himself more on the Champions Tour, it was going to be a challenge to get good finishes in his limited events on the PGA Tour - in 13 events he had 2 top 10's, 2 top 16's in Majors and 2 missed cuts...I'm still not going give up on a Major!! But it will be a challenge to get there. GO STEVE!!
Oh there's so many more I could write about, but I think I'll end it here.
I can't tell you how much the Ryder Cup inspired me and I've got a little PGA Tour fever in me now, too.
Definitely need to read up on new rookies and get my Fantasy logic together, but I'm looking forward to seeing lush fairways, great shots, and memories made in 2017.
Enjoy the PGA Tour Season!
I know I"m a little late to the game on the SBS Tournament of Champions, but it would be fun to see Patrick Reed make a Sunday run and win it!
Well, Reed didn't make a run, this is where it all began for Justin Thomas - we'll definitely be on my list in 2018!
Well, as usual, it was pretty awful - but always fun to get a review of the year!! I'm feeling optimistic!!
Thanks for reading and I hope your predictions were better than mine!
PS...Since it's the Holiday season, here's a link to my annual golf shopping recommendations post...
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