The PGA Tour will resume its 2014 schedule at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii beginning January 3rd. Here is a Q&A previewing the 2014 season:
Will Tiger win his 15th major?
I believe Tiger will win the Masters in April to claim his fifth green jacket. The Masters will be Tiger’s best chance in 2014 because has been knocking on the door three of the last four years at Augusta.
Another possibility is that Tiger will win more than one major in 2014. The British Open and PGA Championship will be played at Royal Liverpool and Valhalla, respectively. Tiger won the 2000 PGA at Valhalla and the 2006 Open at Royal Liverpool. Also, the U.S. Open will be played at Pinehurst No. 2 where Tiger finished in the top five at the 1999 and 2005 U.S. Opens. Course familiarity will help Tiger claim his 15th major.
Will Rory McIlroy bounce back?
It is very likely Rory will be bounce back in 2014. He recently won the Emirates Australian Open with a stellar 66 in the final round to beat Adam Scott by one shot. Rory seems to be finding his groove, and hopefully, the win in Australia allowed him to put his winless 2013 PGA Tour season behind him.
Rory had five top-10 finishes in 2013. He is very close to regaining his dominant form, and confidence will be the key to his success in 2014.
Who will capture their first PGA Tour win?
Graham DeLaet, Roberto Castro, and Brendon de Jonge are all poised to capture their first PGA Tour victory.
Graham DeLaet had seven top-10s in 2013, and finished eighth in the FedEx Cup. He played well at the 2013 President’s Cup, finishing with a 3-1-1 record.
Roberto Castro had four top-10s in 2013, and finished 21st in the FedEx Cup. His second place finish at the AT&T National in June gave him a major confidence boost after he struggled the first half of the season.
Brendon de Jonge had four top-10s in 2013, and finished 26th in the FedEx Cup. He is a consistent player who only missed five cuts in 30 events in 2013.
Who will win their first major?
Lee Westwood, Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, and Bill Haas all have a good chance to win their first major.
If I had to pick one player, I would choose Dustin Johnson. He already recorded a win in “2014” with a victory at the World Golf Championship-HSBC Champions in November. Johnson has now won a tournament in seven straight seasons on the PGA Tour. In majors, Johnson has had a few close calls, including a T2 at the 2011 British Open and a T5 at the 2010 PGA Championship.
Johnson knows how to win golf tournaments, and has the experience at major championships to finally win one.
Rookie of the Year?
The contest for Rookie of the Year may come down to two players, John Peterson and Patrick Cantlay. To earn their Tour cards, Peterson finished first in the 2013 Web.com playoffs, and Cantlay finished 13th on the 2013 Web.com money list after playing only nine events. Both players know they can be the next Jordan Spieth, and will be gunning for the ROY title.
Player of the Year?
Tiger Woods and Adam Scott are my top two picks. Tiger Woods is playing at a higher level, but Scott is inching closer to Woods as the second ranked golfer in the world. If Scott plays well enough to capture the number one ranking, then he should also capture the POY title.
Who will win the FedEx Cup Playoffs?
The Playoffs are becoming unpredictable. The last three winners have been Bill Haas, Brandt Snedeker, and Henrik Stenson. None of the players were ranked in the top-five heading into the playoffs, meaning the points system is becoming similar to a true playoff where winning matters most.
My guess for this year’s winner is Hunter Mahan. He almost won the Cup in 2011, and has played every playoff tournament since the inception of the FedEx Cup in 2007. It’s Hunter’s time.
There are plenty more questions about the 2014 season. Please post in the comments section to get the conversation going.