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!
As usual, I will start with the Majors. Last year I decided to let go of my dream to see Steve Stricker win at Augusta and went with Dustin Johnson instead. That plan didn't work, and after seeing how well Stricker played in 2013, even though he didn't win, he has earned his spot as my pick to win the Masters. A girl can dream, right? (Stricker will win on Tour in 2014, and make 80% of his cuts)
There has already been some buzz that Tiger Woods has a great chance at all of the Majors this year, but I think we all know there is one player who wants a US Open win more than just about anything. I'll ride that wave of hope and pick Phil Mickelson (2013 British Open winner) for the US Open at Pinehurst. We've heard rumors that Lefty will play an abbreviated schedule in '14 (a la Stricker) and will work his schedule around prepping for Pinehurst..so besides this Major I think Phil will have 2 more wins.
The British Open will be at Royal Liverpool in 2014...the last time it was played there was 2006, and the Claret Jug was hoisted by Tiger Woods. It's been 8 years, could he do it again? I happen to think so and I will pick Tiger to win the British in July.
Valhalla (Louisville, KY) will be the host of the PGA Championship, and during its last hosting duties in 2000, Tiger once again came away with this Major. But I'm going to stray away from that obvious pick and go with Matt Kuchar. Matt is SO ready to have a Major! His 2012 Players victory has set the stage for him to reach that final plateau of success. Go Matt!!
The Players Championship is arguably the strongest field on Tour all year, so it's going to take 4 days of solid play and few mistakes to grace the top of the leader board come Sunday. It might not be a Major, but I think Lee Westwood can bring it home to get one step closer to a Major.
Rory McIlory was a disappointment in 2013, and clearly was not the pick for the British last year. But we've seen some spark again in late 2013, so I feel safe in saying that McIlory will contend in 3 of the 4 Majors, finishing in the Top 5 in 2 of them, and he will win one of the WGC events.
It was hard not to pick Adam Scott for one of the Majors, but I do believe he will win again in 2014. I'll go out on a limb and say he'll win the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, be the runner up at the Masters, and have 8 top 10 finishes.
Major winners in 2013, Jason Dufner and Justin Rose will both have successful seasons with 1 win each and have 50% of their event finishes in the top 25.
Breakout rookie in 2013, Jordan Spieth will have a decent year but won't win a PGA Tour event.
2013 FedEx Cup winner, Henrik Stenson will contend in 2 majors and will win one of the FedEx Cup playoff events, but he'll come up short on defending his $10 million payday.
So who will win the FedEx Cup in 2014? It may not be that much of a stretch, but I'm going with Tiger Woods. He's got the Majors on his side and he just seems happier on the golf course again.
Bubba Watson let me down in 2013, going winless, and a part of me wonders if his family and outside the course golf interests have him distracted. But since he's got talent oozing out of his pores, I'm going to believe he's going to win 1 event in 2014 and will earn more than $3 million.
Hunter Mahan was also winless in 2013, but earned more than $3 million with 5 Top Ten finishes. He's going to contend in 2 Majors and have 2 wins in 2014.
Oh what the heck, Brendon deJonge WILL win in 2014!! I won't stop believin'!
One of my favorite players, Erik Compton, will play at least 20 events and make 60% of his cuts. I'll give him 2 top 10's and 5 top 25's to earn at least $900,000.
Jason Day is a likable Aussie that has all the makings to go on a golf tear and put together a string of high finishes. I think we'll see him in the mix in most of the big events and he will make a run at the PGA Championship. I see 2 wins in 2014.
I can't leave out Sam Johnson's favorite, Dustin Johnson...he's got a recent win and his game is looking good. If Scott doesn't win in Hawaii, DJ will defend and will have another win sometime in '14.
I could write all night, but I think I'll leave my predictions there. I'm excited for golf in 2014 and with all the talent out there it's anyone's guess who will be at the top of the leader board in just about every event. Root for your favorites and then root for Stricker and Kuchar for me!!
Feel free to post in the comments your thoughts on my predictions or a few of your own!
Also, stop by each week and check out our weekly fantasy golf predictions as we move through the 2014 season. THANKS for reading!!
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!