It's a Tuesday and we still don't know the winner of the first PGA Tour event of the year. The wind and rain in Hawaii has delayed golf since Friday, but this shortened 54-hole event should conclude today. As of right now Dustin Johnson holds a 3-shot lead over Steve Stricker going into the last 18-holes. Hmmm, Sam Johnson's favorite player and my favorite player going head to head...this could get interesting! I just read that Stricker is in a lot of pain in his left leg, so this hilly course isn't exactly what the Dr. ordered, but hopefully he can hang in there (GO STEVE!!).
Many of the big names opt to skip Hawaii, and even some of the Hyundai field will pass on the Sony Open starting Thursday, but fans should be delighted to see DJ, Matt Kuchar, Webb Simpson, Kyle Stanley, and Keegan Bradley on the list of tee times starting in 2 days. Browsing the field, I was also happy to see Erik Compton, Brendon deJonge, and 2013 rookie and Minnesotan Donald Constable.
As is my tradition, I will address the Majors first. My love affair with the Masters is still as strong as ever, but it is with great sadness that I have decided to set aside my dream that Steve Stricker will win a green jacket. I was all set to lock him in until I read about his decision to severely limit is play in 2013 (only 10 events) and the very recent discovery that he is having some pain issues with his left side. And then there's that little part of me that thinks that if I DON'T pick him he'll win! So if it can't be my favorite player, then I'm putting in Sam Johnson's favorite player Dustin Johnson as the winner of the Masters.
The US Open is all about patience and dealing with bad that you know will come at some point. I'm going out of my usual list of favorites and picking Justin Rose. He's got a great game and can fly under the radar...sort of like what Webb Simpson did last year.
The Open Championship will be a Muirfield this year. Ernie Els will be defending where he won in 2002, and we don't have much history for current players at this track. If we see again what we saw at the end of 2012, I think the winner will be Rory McIlory.
I'm a sucker for the PGA Championship, and Rory's win there was nothing short of spectacular. In 2013, Oak Hill will be hosting the event and I've got this feeling that Jason Dufner might just get what eluded him in 2011.
The Players Championship was a joy for me last year. Seeing Matt Kuchar beat arguably the best field in golf made me grin from ear to ear, just like him. But in 2013 I think we're going to see Luke Donald dig deep and take this win.
What? No Tiger you say? I know, I know. But I do think Tiger will have a successful 2013 season. He will contend in 3 of the 4 majors and be in the top 5 in 2. Woods will also win 2 times and be one of the 5 guys controlling his own destiny at the FedEx Cup finals.
Phil Mickelson will have a similar season to 2012, I think he will win early (Phoenix Open?!), contend in a few majors, and will then win again, possibly at a WGC event.
I don't have Matt Kuchar winning a Major this year, but he will win in 2013 and again be in the top 10 in FedEx Cup points at the end of the season.
Bubba Watson hasn't disappointed me in 2 years, so let's make the 3rd time a charm! Watson will have 2 wins this season, at least 7 top 10's and will be another one that will have a chance to win the FedEx Cup.
2012 FedEx Cup winner Brandt Snedeker will play some consistent golf and will have a putting hot streak to get him 1 win this season.
Brendon deJonge WILL get a Tour win in 2013!!
Hunter Mahan, who seemed on and off last year, will have a solid season and will post 8 Top 10's and 1 win. Adam Scott will win somewhere in the southeast and also post 8 top 10's. Newly "Nike'd" up Nick Watney will prove he's worth the investment with a win and a Top 10 finish in the FedEx Cup. Will Webb Simpson go winless? I think he will, but he'll have at least 3 top 3 finishes and be in contention all season long. Bo Van Pelt will be in the winner's circle at least once and will post double digit Top 25's again this year.
Erik Compton found himself back at Q-school again this fall and after earning his way back to the Tour for 2013, I think he's ready to dig in and play some good golf. I predict he will improve his missed cuts stats from '12 and only miss 5, an improvement of 4 from last season. He will also improve his Top 25 stat to 5.
If you follow my Q-school updates, you know I'm really excited that Minnesotan Donald Constable (a lefty!!) was able to successfully navigate the 2012 Q-school maze and make it to the Tour. I'm not sure how many events he'll get in, but he's at the Sony this week and I'm going out on a limb to say he'll make the cut here! I think he'll be a surprise at the PGA and he will retain his card for 2014.
Ah, Rory McIlory...it's hard for me not to like him, and if Stricker fades into less play, he's got potential to be my favorite player. He's earned every bit of his accolades and I don't see his #1 player status going away any time soon. Besides the Major I already predicted, I think McIlory will win 3 more times around the world (including the PGA Tour events) and will be your FedEx Cup champion.
But I will end with my favorite heart pick of all time, Steve Stricker. While broken hearted at his limited schedule announcement, I think he's going to make the most of his 10 events in 2013. He will make every cut and make a run at the Shell Houston Open...there will be 3 top 10's in his future, and always a place in my heart.
There you have it!! I went a little out of my "favorites zone" and hopefully I'll have a little better luck in the Majors. I'm excited for a new PGA Tour golf season and hopefully another fun Kerplookee Fantasy golf season! No news yet on when that will start up, but it really is a great multiple format site with some great folks playing and managing it. I'll update here when I know things are going to start up.
Happy Golf Season!!
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Filed under: Phil Mickelson, Sam Johnson, Erik Compton, Steve Stricker, TIger Woods, Matt Kuchar, Cathy Erickson, Brandt Snedeker, Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Nick Watney, Predictions, Brendon deJonge, Adam Scott, Hunter Mahan, Rory McIlroy, Webb Simpson, Donald Constable, 2013, Justin Rose, Jason Dufner, Bo Van Pelt