10 Bold Predictions for Golf in 2013
It’s the time of year for resolutions and predictions.
We all do them with the expected variety of success, and they certainly are great for entertainment.
With the start of the PGA Tour 2013 season just four days away, it’s time to make some out-on-the-edge predictions about what’s going to happen with the best golfers in the world this year.
Check out my 10 bold predictions for 2013.
Tiger's Game Will Come Together at Merion
Tiger Woods will win a major championship in 2013, but it won’t be the one you might guess.
When Merion Golf Club last hosted in the U.S. Open in 1981, it measured 6,528 yards, the shortest course in Open history since World War II. When it’s contested there in June, the grand old club will be stretched to 6,900 yards
And that’s where Woods will win his first major since 2008. This will be the first time Woods’ new swing will really click, especially in terms of his short irons.
That precision will be an absolute necessity on Merion’s tricky greens.
Look out for Bo
Bo Van Pelt is hardly a household name on the PGA Tour, but he’s a guy who could have—and maybe should have—been on last year’s Ryder Cup team—he was 14th on the Ryder Cup points list, and based on the performances of Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker, could easily have been a captain’s pick.
Who knows if he’ll be playing well enough in 2014 to make that team, but he’s going to get off to a great start toward that goal by posting a pair of wins on the PGA Tour in 2012.
He's one of the best ball strikers on Tour and was on the leaderboard a lot in 2012.
He finished with 10 top-10s, which included a second-place finish. Fear Bo in 2013!
How About This Rivalry?
All the rivalry talk for 2013 about a rivalry centers around Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.
I’m saying this: While neither of those two will be hitting too many shots in anger early in the year, Jason Dufner and Keegan Bradley are going to get a rivalry heated up. This rivalry is maybe lacking the star power of Woods and McIlroy's rivalry, but it could be even more heated.
Bradley’s charismatic personality will play well off the stoic persona of Dufner, and the possibilities are pretty endless for this to be good.
Colsaerts Will Have an Impact
Nicolas Colsaerts is a native of Schaerbeek, Belgium.
You may not recognize the name, but by the end of 2013, I’m sure you’ll know exactly who he is.
He has had limited exposure on the PGA Tour—11 events to be exact. He opened and closed the Open Championship in July with rounds of 65, finishing in a tie for seventh.
Colsaerts played in the Ryder Cup for the first time and posted a 1-3-0 record, but he put together one of the best rounds in the event’s history, recording eight birdies and an eagle.
This 30-year-old can hit the ball a mile, and his average of 315.2 yards per measured drive is second only to Bubba Watson’s 318. He will win this year, quite possibly a major.
Hello Bubba, Goodbye Bubba
Not only won’t there be much of a defense of the Masters title Bubba Watson claimed a year ago, the big left-hander won’t even make the cut this April.
I don’t base that on numbers or performance as much as a gut feeling I have.
The guy was lucky, let’s be real. He doesn’t act like a major champion, and he certainly hasn’t played like a major champion.
He caught lightning in a bottle for a week. Don’t expect it again anytime soon.
Scarred Too Deeply
His last disappointment came at the end of September in the Ryder Cup when he lost a key singles match to Sergio Garcia. But the memories of Bridgestone and the Olympic Club will continue to burn at the very core of Jim Furyk.
It’s my humble opinion that this 42-year-old who had perhaps the worst second half of a season ever recorded will have a very difficult time rebounding from that in 2013 and will suffer through an un-Furyk-like season.
Next Young American Star
It’s a quirk, I believe, in the way sports fans are made up that they are constantly in search of the next young star.
In golf, there are a handful of good young Americans: Rickie Fowler, Webb Simpson, Keegan Bradley, Nick Watney and Bill Haas.
That’s a lot of good young talent, but who’s next?
Well, I don’t know how bold of a prediction this is, but there really doesn’t seem to be anybody better at this point than Bud Cauley.
He was highly-lauded as a collegian but made a bit of a statement last year, finishing 44th on the money list with seven top-15 finishes.
There are a lot of very good players who come to the PGA Tour and never break through, never get to be that next great one.
Cauley has too much game for that to happen.
It’s Time for This Rose to Bloom
He sometimes gets caught up in the backwash of the Ian Poulter, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia crew of not winning a major.
Prediction A: None of them will have a major title at the end of 2013.
Prediction B: Justin Rose will.
From the time he holed a pitch shot on the final hole of the 1998 at Royal Birkdale to finish in a tie for fourth as an amateur, there has been a spotlight on him.
It has not always been a pleasant existence for him, but he played very well in 2012, winning the World Golf Championship-Cadillac Championship and posting a dozen top-10s worldwide.
He was money in the Ryder Cup, beating Phil Mickelson in the Sunday singles.
Rose won the Open Championship. Does it get any better than that?
Ted Potter, Who?
Ted Potter, Jr. will win the Hyundai Tournament of Champions this weekend.
Yes, perhaps the most inauspicious champion in this winners-only field will get the 2013 season off to a shocking start by knocking off the likes of Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, Jason Dufner, Hunter Mahan and Keegan Bradley.
What makes me so sure about that? Well, this is going to be something of a wacky season with the schedule ending September 22 and the start of the 2013-2014 season beginning a couple weeks later.
So why not have a virtual unknown start the whole thing off by winning?
Fear the Dawg
He’s not big, and he’s left-handed, but Brian Harman knows how to move a golf ball around the course with a very low number of strokes.
The former University of Georgia star posted rounds of 61 at the Honda Classic, 64s at Pebble Beach and Canada and three 65s in 2012.
It takes a certain amount of fearlessness to go low, and this youngster going into his second season on the PGA Tour.
He made $1.13 million in 2012, and at 5'7", 150 pounds, I’m predicting Harman will be the best left-hander on Tour in 2013.