I can freely admit that I am pretty bad when it comes to making predictions. Still, being bad does not stop me from making new ones. Why? Because it is fun to try to predict the future. I am probably as accurate as most of the political talking heads on Fox News or MSNBC. Even though officially the 2014 season has already started, I think it is okay to post the predictions now.
But before I go into my predictions for 2014… let's see how my predictions from last season panned out. I first predicted that Tiger would win the Masters. Yes, I was wrong, but barring a flagstick on the fifteenth hole Tiger probably would have come through for me. That flagstick did not stop him from winning five times during the season, but it caused me to be wrong about my prediction. I also said that he was only going to win two times, and he easily surpassed that.
I predicted Jason Dufner would win a major… Yes! I got that one right. I also said he would win the FedExCup and that part I was wrong about. Bo Van Pelt, well, he fell of the face of the earth and I could not have been more wrong about him. His ball striking stats for 2012 were so good I thought for sure he would win and play very well in 2013. I was dead wrong on this one.
I also predicted that Rory would struggle in 2013. I got this one 100% right. It may not have been the equipment change that caused him to struggle but I think weighed on his mind and he struggled. Rory had only one decent tournament where he finished second, and he was pretty much a non-factor for the rest of the year. So with that let's get on to 2014.
Tiger finally gets his first major since 2008 but he has to wait until the PGA Championship at Valhalla to get it.
This does not mean I think he will not play well at the 2014 Masters. I do think he will contend there, but not win again. I think Pinehurst does not set up well for him so no U.S. Open. I wavered back and forth on whether or not he would win at Royal Liverpool because he's won there before. I just think the weather can play havoc on the winner of the British Open, so it's a roll of the dice to say he wins there. If he does, he might win two in a row. So I think big things for Tiger this year. Certainly one and very probably two majors for Tiger this year.
Justin Rose wins a second major and emerges as the biggest challenger to Tigers #1 player crown.
I am not confident on my prediction that Rose wins a second major. I am confident that Rose will win some very big events this year. I think events like the Players Championship, WGC events, and be one of the favorites to win the FedExCup at the end of the year. I like Justin Rose's work ethic, his preparation, and his approach to the game. I think the win at the U.S. Open last year was a big monkey off his back but did distract him a little from the rest of the year. I expect him to be more ready to handle pressure and responsibilities during this season.
A dark horse wins the U.S. Open (i.e. not Phil Mickelson).
Pinehurst gave us Payne Stewart in a fantastic win over a young Phil Mickelson, but also gave us Michael Campbell. Campbell was fairly well known among us regular golf fans but the U.S. Open was the last we heard of him. I think hosting the event there is great because it is a course that all of us can play. I like the U.S. Open doing that. I will likely never play Merion or Oakmont, but I can play Pinehurst. But the course gives us unpredictable winners because of how odd the greens are. I think it makes for British Open type bounces leading to unpredictable winners. So look for a golfer that you may not have heard of winning the event.
Rory struggles for the better part of 2014 only making a late appearance on the leaderboard of the PGA Championship.
Rory is looking more and more like Sergio Garcia every time I read about him. By that I mean he is a romantic. In 2013 I would call it the year of the distraction for Rory. He of course made the big change to start the year with his gear, but he was also in the headlines a lot for his relationship with his tennis star girlfriend. I honestly have no idea if this is really a distraction for him, but from my outsider view it sure looks like it is. I would like to see him be less in the headlines for returning serves, and more for making birdies. I think that he will play well at Valhalla because the course sets up very similarly to his U.S. Open win at Congressional. I don't think he will challenge Tiger because Tiger has more toughness in his pinky finger than Rory has in his whole body, but he will once again appear on the first page of the leaderboard.
2014 has a lot to be excited about and I for one am looking forward to seeing what it holds.
Photo credits: © Drew Hallowell.