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Friday, December 21, 2012

The Kids of 2012

In my last retrospective of 2012, I want to look at the PGA Tour. (I include the Tour in this as well, since several of the players jump back and forth.) And ironically, it may be the shortest of the three posts I've done.

That's because 2012 is going to be a tough act to follow. It seemed like every week we had new storylines, new drama, new names stepping into the spotlight. We had Tiger's reemergence, monster comebacks in final rounds (typically 6-7 strokes), blow-out wins (Rory's 8-stroke win at the PGA), dramatic first-time wins (Bubba's wedge to win the Masters), controversy over belly putters, and rookies who showed up the veterans.

So what can 2013 possibly offer us?

The most likely highlight will be a Tiger-Rory rivalry. Tiger appears to have his game to the point where he can focus on fine-tuning, and Rory seems to have figured out how to balance his personal and professional lives enough to play high-quality (if not consistent) golf.

As things stand now, I think Luke Donald and Lee Westwood will continue to round out the Top 4 in the OWGR. Louis Oosthuizen and maybe Charl Schwartzel could make it a Top 6, although that remains to be seen. Louis could have won 6 or 7 times in 2012 had he played just a few holes better. Charl seems to finally be healed up. The two of them have shown streaks of brilliance over the last two years, but are lacking some consistency. If they put things together though, watch out.

The rest of the Tour isn't likely to challenge this group consistently. I don't mean we won't see some high-quality play from a lot of players; I just mean it'll be a lot of players that change from week to week, not a few consistent challengers.

And I won't be surprised if "Wozzleroy" becomes an engaged couple sometime during the coming year. I don't think it will have a big effect on Rory's play, just that it could be the big news story of the year. (Yes, even bigger than belly putters. That issue will be more emotional, though.)

Speaking of belly putters, look for some new technologically-advanced putters. I don't think they'll really help, but the manufacturers will come up with something to become the new cash cow.

After all, if you're reading this, the Mayans were wrong and it looks like you're going to have to learn how to putt after all. ;-) At least we've got a new year of golf to look forward to... and it could be a pretty good one.

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