January 3, 2017

New Year Wishes for Tiger, Phil and others

The New Year starts with a clean record and high hopes. Let's hope that 2017 will bring to all of us great golf, good health, and fulfillment of your wishes!

Here are my wishes for 2017

Tiger Woods – a year with good health and playing a full schedule. Golf is more fun when Tiger is competing and challenging. It would be great to have him back playing regularly, but really the true wish is that he is back winning again. That will be difficult.

Jordan Spieth – consistency off the tee and with his irons. 2016 showed that playing the power game isn't his strength. Hope he gets back to hitting more fairways and working on strengthening his iron play. Of the elite players, he is the weakest in average distance from the pin on his second shots.

Rory McIlroy – a happy marriage this spring and renewed focus and determination. Then he is "on" with his "A" game, he is the best in the world. His greatness and legacy will only be limited to how strongly and how high he sets his goals.

Jason Day – a year free of health concerns. The hardest swinger of the top players in the game. Although Jason is in excellent physical shape, his swing is such that it will wear on his body. Last year the body showed signs of not holding up. I hope I am wrong and that he will fulfill his quest to be the best player of this era.

Dustin Johnson – continued maturity and commitment. Scary player when he has it all working for him. Will never be a cerebral player, but he is the poster child for all out "NASCAR" golf, which is super fun to watch. When in his groove, he could win numerous tournaments in a row, including majors.

Henrik Stenson – keep his newly found putting stroke. My wish for him last year was to find his 2013 form and win a major. He accomplished that and more. If he keeps putting like he did in the second half of last year, he could overtake Jason Day as the number one player in the world!

Hideki Matsuyama – will he be the Japanese player to breakthrough and win a major? So difficult for a Japanese golfer to live up to the expectations and wishes of the Japanese public and press. The scrutiny and pressure that surrounds him is hard to imagine, because almost his every move is recorded. However, Hideki has the talent and, at 24 years old, is learning what it takes to compete at the highest levels of professional golf. He could be the one that wins a major this year.

Bubba Watson – Happiness on the golf course. Time to realize that Bubba is just going to be Bubba. Great talent, but easily distracted on the golf course. He seems to have figured it out off the golf course, but looks unhappy on the course where he makes his living.

Phil Michelson – good health and another major. Had two hernia operations this off-season. Needs a full recovery. If so his improved iron play could mean a great season. Driving is still an issue, but when that's on, he is a top three contender.

Adam Scott - mental focus to match matchless golf swing. Whatever he is missing; drive, determination, or guts. He has everything else, but not quite a superstar. He certainly is smart enough, but is missing something. Maybe it is as simple as; he is just not a good enough putter.

Ricky Fowler – multiple wins. The press says he is a superstar, but his record says differently. Great personality, nice person, and a pretty good player. I wish him a season that matches his press clippings.

Patrick Reed – should be a year for a major championship. Most golfers don't showcase a lot of bravado. Patrick feeds off of his strong personality. He lived up to the hype at the Ryder Cup. He should be able to ride that confidence to greater heights in 2017.

Brooks Koepka – rising superstar that will break into the top 10 world ranked players this year. Showed he could handle the pressure at the Ryder Cup and elevate his game to the next level. Needs to continue his growth and sustain that higher level of play throughout the year. If so, we will be treated to some outstanding golf.

Justin Thomas, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Kevin Chappell, Daniel Berger, Scott Piercy, Chris Kirk, Jason Kokrak , Tony Finau – time to show that you have what it take to be stars. A lot of potential, but no one has broken out. All need to step it up a notch.

Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson, Steve Stricker, Ernie Els – solid seasons and be in the mix for titles. All have different goals, but the wish is that they all remain in the golfing public spotlight and we see them often on television vying for the lead.

The PGA Tour – Get serious about slow play. Same as last year. Time to step up and make a statement. The PGA Tour is the world's most influential tour and if they make a policy with teeth and start enforcing it, it will really make an impact.

United States Golf Association – no controversies. In the past they were the leader for how to do things right. Multiple mistakes the past few years have tarnished their reputation. Hope they get back to making it about the golf and not about themselves.

To Everyone A Happy and Healthy New Year!!!


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