Top 5 Golf Stories to Watch in 2013
Last year in golf had Rory McIlroy ascending to No. 1 on the Official World Golf Ranking, Tiger returning to the winner's circle, a proposed rule change and the Ryder Cup.
2013 will offer some very exciting storylines that should keep golf fans glued to their mobile phones, tablets and televisions this year.
Although worthy of note, here are some stories that did not make the Top Five list:
- Augusta National will hold the Masters with two new female members plus a 14-year-old in the field.
- Has Tiger Woods found a serious rival in Rory McIlroy?
- Can a young American step up and win a major title in 2013?
The 2013 season starts this week in Hawaii with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
Let the games begin.
No. 5 Will Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter or Justin Rose Win a Major?
Luke Donald and Lee Westwood have both spent time at the No. 1 spot in the world golf rankings, but neither have a major championship on their resume.
Both are threats to win every time they tee it up, but the lack of a major championship title severely damages how their careers are viewed.
Fellow Englishmen Ian Poulter and Justin Rose also are at the point in their careers when a major is a necessity.
Poulter always seems to raise his game at the Ryder Cup. He is ranked No. 12 on the Official World Golf Rankings, has 12 European Tour wins and two PGA Tour wins.
Justin Rose has moved up to No. 4 in the world and has been steadily improving his game over the past few seasons. A win at the 2012 WGC-Cadillac, as well as top-10 finishes in the Masters and the PGA Championship, demonstrate that Rose is close to hoisting major hardware.
Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Justin Rose are all on that "Best Player to Never Win a Major" list.
Will 2013 be the year that one or more of these English golfers collect major hardware?
No. 4 PGA Tour Has Shortened Season in 2013
The 2013 PGA Tour season will end with the Tour Championship on September 19-22.
Players will feel the pressure to make the Top 125 and qualify for the FedEx Cup Playoffs to retain full PGA Tour status for the 2014 season.
It will become very important for all tour players—especially the rookies—to get off to a good start early in the year.
Players that are ranked No. 125-175 on the PGA Tour this season will find it difficult to get into tournaments. When they are able to play, it is important they make cuts and earn prize money.
Tournaments after the FedEx Cup Playoffs are now part of the 2014 season, and Q-School will only offer exemptions to the Web.com Tour.
What big names will struggle throughout the year or suffer injuries that may get them bounced down to the Web.com next year?
No. 3 Will the USGA and the R&A Enact the “Anchored Stroke” Rule Change?
In November, the USGA and the R&A announced a proposed rule change to ban the “anchored stroke” at the beginning of 2016. The move set off a huge discussion in the media about the use of the belly and long putter.
Webb Simpson, Keegan Bradley and Ernie Els all won majors using an anchored putting stroke. Many professional golfers have been using the long putters for several years, and to ban them now seems to be a severe detriment to their ability to earn a living.
The proposed rule change is currently in a 90-day period when the USGA and The R&A are listening to arguments for either side of the issue.
Will these ruling bodies follow through and ban the use of the “anchored stroke”?
No 2 Will Tiger Woods Win a Major in 2013?
Injuries, personal problems and swing changes have prevented Tiger Woods from winning a major championship since the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.
He rebounded to win three PGA Tour events in 2012, and his game seems to be improving every week.
Although Tiger did not have a good record in the majors last year, he did have his moments. Woods was just not able to post good scores on the weekends at the majors.
Rory McIlroy and a plethora of good young players have become a big hurdle and could be a detriment to Woods winning majors in the future.
Tiger turned 37 years old at the end of December, and time is now becoming a factor in his quest to surpass Jack Nicklaus' career major titles record.
Tiger Woods' performance in major championships will always be a big story.
No. 1 Can Rory McIlroy Sustain His No. 1 Status?
Rory McIlroy had four wins in 2012, including the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island in August.
He ascended to the No. 1 spot on the OWGR after his win at the Honda in March and finished the year strong, with two of his wins coming in the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
He has become a serious contender to Tiger Woods, and their rivalry will be something to watch unfold as the year progresses.
Rory’s highly publicized romance with gal-pal Caroline Wozniacki also adds intrigue to the McIlroy allure in the media.
Two majors in the last two years, leading money earner on both the European and PGA Tours, a beautiful and talented girlfriend and the No. 1 ranking in the world all make McIlroy the best story in golf for 2013.
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