What to Watch for in 2013

2012 was quite a year, I take a look at 2013 and what to expect from the PGA Tour.

Thrash TalkNow that the PGA Tour is about to kick off the West Coast swing, it is a good time for some thought on what to expect for 2013. In retrospect, 2012 was a really good year. I have already reviewed the season’s majors here, but the rest of the season had tons of intrigue as well. Tiger won three times, Rory won three times and took player of the year honors, and a new crop of rookies made their mark as well.

One enormous change for 2013 will the how players qualify for the PGA Tour. Q-School, which has been around since 1965, will no longer be a part of the equation. There are numerous perspectives on why this rite of winter will no longer award PGA Tour cards, with many folks saying that the PGA Tour players are trying to make it harder to get onto the Tour so that the current players can keep their jobs. This is a popular theory, but I have a slightly different perspective. I think the commissioner Tim Finchem was having a hard time finding a sponsor for what is currently called the Web.com Tour and offered up that this tour would be the only gateway to the PGA Tour. This would add to the intrigue of the development tour and make sponsors want to play a bigger role and pony up more money to be a part of it.

In either case I still feel this will be a very exciting year to watch unfold. My headlines for this next year are:

Tiger Wins the Masters and Two Additional Tournaments in 2013
Of all the majors, the Masters is the easiest for Tiger to win. It’s features a small field, a course with which he is very familiar, and he’s long overdue. The only hesitation I have with this prediction is that since they made the changes to the course, Tiger has not done especially well there. Certainly he has not dominated as he did in his early years. Still I feel that since 2008 he has come into Augusta with some sort of issue hanging over his head, and in 2013 barring any moving fire hydrants he should come in free of distractions and in position to win. The two additional wins are likely one in the early part of the season on the west coast, and then one later in the season such as the WGC event at Firestone.

Tiger Woods in the bunker

Jason Dufner Wins Twice, Once in a Major, and Claims the FedExCup
2012 was a fantastic year for Dufner. He played extremely well during the season and then was one of the extremely bright lights in a sea of disaster at the Ryder Cup. His steady play proved he can handle the nerves of a major championship better than he did at the Atlanta Athletic Club in 2011. I cannot say for sure which major he’ll win – maybe the U.S. Open – but Dufner is on a fantastic vector and should have a great 2013.

Bo Van Pelt Wins Early in the Season, Then Claims his First Major
My other breakout player prediction is Bo Van Pelt. His stats are fantastic and has already won once in Asia at the end of last year. He is, as we say in baseball, a five-tool player, because he can drive it long, is a good iron player, and his area of biggest improvement is putting. I expect big things from him, and he may even have a bigger year than Dufner.

With the Equipment Change to Nike, Rory Struggles in 2013
I could be very wrong here but I am extremely leery of Rory making such a big equipment change in the middle of such a successful career. Yes, Tiger did, but he also took some time to adjust once he switched. Graeme McDowell struggled when he changed and Rory will struggle as well. 2013 will be majorless for Rory. He may get a win internationally, and possibly late in the season for 2013, but the pressure will be mounting because of the big contract Nike signed with him. He will start to get questions about if the switch caused him to struggle and it will weigh on him. I expect Rory to struggle a bit.

Your Thoughts
I will throw out there, that in general if you disagree with me then you are probably going to be more right than me. I am pretty awful at predictions, and I made some pretty bold ones here. If 2012 was anything it was very unpredictable and I expect much the same from 2013.

What does everyone else think for 2013, who do you think we should watch out for?

Photo credits: © Golfweek.

7 thoughts on “What to Watch for in 2013”

  1. I like your thoughts other than the one on Rory… I really don’t think that the equipment change is going to phase him. I think Tiger has a great shot at the Masters (and every other major this year) and will win at least one. Not so sure about Bo Van Pelt winning one but I wouldn’t bet against it either. I like Dufner and his chances.

  2. The dufner prediction is just idiotic… think about it, when tiger wins at augusta, it will snowball into a historic season for eldrick. tw walks away easily with the 2013 player of the year.

  3. I like your Tiger prediction at The Masters. His mind is as right as it’s been in years, and it’s time for him to win another big one. There are plenty of others capable of winning there (including last year’s runner-up Ooisthuizen), but Tiger’s chances are definitely good. I don’t really love his chances at the other three majors, but I’m sure he will be in the hunt in one or two of them.

    I like Luke Donald to get his first major at Merion. If he can keep it in the fairway which isn’t always his strength, he might have his way with the course. I’m very excited to see how Merion holds up to today’s technology, and I hope the rough is HIGH!

    Rory has a pretty good shot at winning any of the four majors, and it will be a bit of a surprise to see him go 0-for-4 in that department. I’m not sure he will be as good as he was in 2012, but I still expect good things from him.

    I’m picking Dustin Johnson to win one of the final two majors (Oak Hill probably) and win the FedEx Cup as well. He was my pick before the season, and he made me look good by winning the first event. I really think this is the year he completely breaks out and ends up in the top 3 or 4 in the world by season’s end. He has everything it takes to be a great player.

    And as always, I’ll be cheering for all my Oklahoma State boys in 2013. Good to see CH3 get his usual top-five finish at the Sony Open. I’m hoping for a bounceback season from him and great seasons from Fowler, Mahan, and BVP (among others).

  4. Cody, not sure I agree about Dustin at Oak Hill. It is likely not to be a bomber who wins there. Shaun Micheel battled Chad Campbell there last time, both are not known for being long. I expect to see a solid mid to short iron player be the winner there. Dustin’s short irons are too suspect. Someone like Rickie Fowler has a good chance there, with your OSU connection you should pick him.

  5. McIlroy struggles in 2013 due to equipment change. That’s a very difficult thing to adjust to, even for a guy like McIlroy. Very tuff year ahead of him… a few bright spots, but mostly lack-luster performances.

    Tiger will have his best season in years. Expect him to win 1 or 2 majors, along with playoff victories, and a handfull of other tourneys. He is our 2013 FedEx Cup Champion.

    Phil Mickelson announces a limited schedule in 2014 after his worst season in many years. Physical ailments, family issues, and a win-less 2013 push him over the edge.

    Rickie Fowler will have a career year in 2013. I see him with multiple wins, and a presence in majors & playoffs. I’d like to see him play more this year though… somebody tell this kid he’s not Tiger or Rory.

    I like Bo Van Pelt. He will establish himself as a steady “Top 10’er” with a few wins as well. Will strongly contend in the playoffs due to his consistancy.

    Most fans are just realizing the potential of Brandt Snedeker after his 2012 FedEx Cup win. I expect ol’ B-Sned to really give us a show this year. I’m calling him a multiple winner, and the 2013 Master’s Champion.

    Rookies, rookies, rookies! That will be the story of the year. Finchem will look like a genius for changing the system to allow more talent into the PGA. Russell Henley has already shown his teeth in 2013, and something tells me he won’t be the only one.

  6. I disagree about Dustin Johnson having everything it takes to be a great player. He may have all the physical tools but he has yet to display the course management skills that truly great players always have had. I am not too sure about his personal judgement either. To me he is a Tom Weiskopf type player. Might sneak in a major, but will always underachieve his physical game.

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