Pittsburgh, PA — Early on in the PGA TOUR season, I offered some predictions for how everything would go, and the results were very much mixed.
- Hideki Matsuyama will win the Masters– Well he did tie for 11th so it was not a horrible prediction. Matsuyama was incredibly streaky putting good form with form where you were scratching your head as to how he won two WGC events in the same season. Once he lost the PGA Championship this year, his play never truly recovered. Even at the Presidents Cup, International Captain Nick Price described how Matsuyama was describing something being off. I also predicted Tiger Woods would tie for 12th, but we all know that certainly did not happen. Woods did not play at all this year and is back up to hitting 60-yard shots. His injuries have been well documented as have his swing changes and passion for military and their training style. So much has created this fall from grace and it is easy to worry that Tiger Woods will never play pain-free golf again. At least he is taking his time back from injury but as sad as it sounds, maybe it is just better that he does just the majors and a fewer bigger tournaments while easing the mileage on his accelerator. The only person who knows how he is feeling is Tiger Woods, although a large part of me feels that he has been in denial for so long that it may be a lost cause. It was a big step when Woods admitted he may never play on tour again, but his practicing 60-yard shots tells me otherwise. Either way, Tiger Woods coming back to golf would be great to the game, but he certainly owes it to no one but himself to make the decision that best benefits him.
- The U.S. Open will be won by Branden Grace– If by win you mean a tie for 50th place then I sure succeeded here. Grace did not have his best year in the United States, and really this pick was based on the last two U.S. Opens where he was a mainstay on the first page of the leaderboard. I also stated Patrick Reed would lose to Grace in an 18-hole playoff, which he certainly did not do, but he did tie for 13th place. I lastly stated Rafa Cabrera-Bello would miss this supposed playoff which he certainly missed it tying for 42nd. It seemed as though I was a major off as he tied for fourth at The Open Championship.
- Sergio Garcia wins his first major at The Open Championship– You know what? Just because I even picked Sergio to win his first major at all, I will consider this a success. I did end up having a friendly bet with DYST Now’s Brian Stefan Masters weekend about Sergio holding off and somehow won that bet. As far as this major, Sergio tied for 38th. I picked Sergio over Brooks Koepka which again was a major too late. Koepka was still in form for most of this major and again just having Koepka listed I will call a success given his U.S. Open victory. He did tie for sixth place.
- Rory McIlroy salvages a below standards year and wins PGA Championship– Something told me McIlroy would struggle by his standards this year and really, he did. He had the marriage, which was great but it was a year done in by injury and of course at this point he was just a week or two removed from a caddie change. McIlroy tied for 22nd. On a personal note, I just hope this is not the end of Rory’s dominance. When he plays well, he is so dominant. My Scott Piercy and Pat Perez being in the final grouping could not have been any more wrong. Piercy did not even play in the PGA Championship and Perez was paired with South African Richard Sterne and no not in the final group.
- For the second time ever the International Team will win the Presidents Cup– Ouch, this one really hurts. Maybe next time I should just stick with tournaments and not team competition.
- Dustin Johnson will win the FedEx Cup– This was a close call. I knew he would not win any majors but did not expect a back injury to take its toll most of the season. Still, Johnson was peaking at the right time but nobody in their right mind was going to stop Justin Thomas. I stated he would win for the 10th consecutive year and he won three times but also suggested he would contend in each major which he did not do. Johnson infamously was a very last minute WD at the Masters, missed the cut at the U.S. Open and tied for 54th at The Open Championship.
- Bryson DeChambeau will win his first PGA TOUR title at The Travelers Championship– I will call this a success because he did win at the John Deere Classic. The Travelers Championship gives a lot of players their first wins and starts their careers, which is where my thinking was. He ended up tying for 26th in that event.
- Jason Day will not win on tour this year– Check
- Phil Mickelson will not win on tour this year– Check
- Rickie Fowler will not win on tour this year– Whoops
- Henrik Stenson will not win on tour this year– Check
- Adam Scott will not win on tour this year– Check
Overall I would say that of these 12 predictions the only truly terrible one was The Presidents Cup, that was awful. I got at least six right by my standards which is not bad, considering some of these were quite bold.