5 Reflections from the PGA Tour's Season Opener
As the PGA Tour concluded its weather-shortened season opening tournament on Tuesday, Dustin Johnson emerged as the victor. It is Johnson's third time winning a weather-shortened tournament and the seventh win of his career.
However, with the conclusion of the tournament comes several thoughts and questions for the following weeks.
How will Johnson perform for the rest of the season? Just how good are Brandt Snedeker and Keegan Bradley? Will Steve Stricker be able to continue his strong play on a reduced schedule?
Begin the slideshow to find out!
Will Dustin Johnson Win Again This Year?
You would think the winner of the PGA Tour's opening tournament would traditionally go on to have a solid year with multiple wins, right?
Well, for the last three seasons neither Geoff Ogilvy, Jonathan Byrd nor Steve Stricker were able to build on their momentum from winning in Maui.
When comparing Dustin Johnson to those three, it could be argued Johnson has the game best suited to earn another win. His ability to hit the ball a country mile as well as his soft touch around the greens makes it possible for him to win at any course on the Tour's schedule.
In addition, Johnson has won multiple tournaments in two of the last three years.
If he is fully healthy, expect Johnson to win more than once this year. He is simply too talented not to.
Brandt Snedeker Picks Up Right Where He Left off in 2012
Snedeker had the best year of his career in 2012, as he won the FedEx Cup, two tournaments and had seven top 10 finishes.
He began his 2013 campaign with a third place finish—yet another top 10.
Snedeker has always had a fantastic putting stroke, but only a mediocre game from tee to green. However, if he is able to hit the ball above average during any week, his brilliant short game usually elevates him into contention.
In addition, by winning the Tour Championship last fall—the win that secured him the FedEx Cup—under all that pressure, Snedeker may have finally learned to control his golf swing in big moments.
I expect another solid year from Brandt, including him being in contention more often in both majors and weekly tournaments.
Will Keegan Bradley Build off His Fantastic Ryder Cup Effort?
At the 2012 Ryder Cup, nobody was more fun to watch than Keegan Bradley. He made practically every putt he looked at and knew how to celebrate and rally the American crowds as well.
He played so well all week that it made me wonder if Bradley would bring that same fire to the 2013 season.
Bradley showed signs of life in the opening tournament to start the PGA Tour's calendar, but whether or not he can sustain the fantastic level of play he showed at the Ryder Cup remains to be seen.
In 2012 he started off red hot, cooled off, won, cooled off again and then got red hot right before the Ryder Cup.
It should be a very interesting year for Keegan, as he will look to add more wins to his resume and another major to his collection.
Can Stricker Continue His Excellent Play with a Limited Schedule?
Steve Stricker made headlines this week by announcing that he would be playing a limited schedule this year on the PGA Tour (via PGA.com).
Stricker, who has won the Comeback Player of the Year twice, will spend more time with his family.
But, after a runner-up finish in Maui this week, one has to wonder how much more great golf Stricker will be able to play?
Only playing in 10 tournaments will certainly add rust to Stricker's game when he does travel. This will perhaps be Stricker's most difficult challenge: figuring out a way to keep his game sharp.
In addition, he will have to play unbelievable golf or be selected as a captain's pick for the Presidents Cup to play in the biannual event this fall.
However, Stricker does deserves credit for wanting to be with his family more. It is something that is rarely seen in the golfing community.
Now the question remains how well will he be able to perform with a limited number of repetitions?
How Much Longer Will the Tour Open Its Season at Kapalua?
After the awful weather this week in Maui, a question has been raised as to how much longer the PGA Tour will continue to open its season in Hawaii?
With the beautiful scenery, wonderful golf course and a solid sponsorship, it is hard to see the Tour wanting to leave.
But, when a handful of the best players—and the most exciting ones—tend to skip the Tour's opening tournament because many consider it too early in the year, you cannot help but wonder if one day the PGA Tour will no longer include a stop in Hawaii.
Because Kapalua is such a fantastic golf course, I believe it deserves better.
The PGA Tour must find some way to bring all the tournament winners out to Hawaii to kick off the new season. Whether or not that involves pushing the tournament back to later in the year is up to the Commissioner.