January 1, 2020
2020 New Year's Wishes and Predictions
Wishing all of you a healthy and prosperous New Year that is filled with plenty of golf and many birdies!
2020 stacks up to be a very interesting and exciting year. Tiger Woods appears to be healthy and eager to regain his spot on top of the golfing mountain. Brooks Koepka is the present number one, but injury might prevent him from keeping that position. Rory McIlroy at times last year was outstanding. If motivated and focused, it could be his year. Here are my wishes and predictions for the world's best players for 2020 according to yearend World Ranking.
1. Brooks Koepka – (Wish) A clean bill of health and a stronger desire to compete hard in every tournament. (Prediction) Will not win a major this year, but will win multiple times on the PGA Tour.
2. Rory McIlroy – (Wish) Have a year of total commitment that results in a Masters victory. (Prediction) Will win one major, but unfortunately for Rory not the Masters.
3. Jon Rahm – (Wish) A first major victory. (Prediction) I think he is one year away from superstardom. Needs to harness his emotions. He will do that, just not this coming year.
4. Justin Thomas – (Wish) Make the step-up to consistent superstar. (Prediction) These next two years will define Justin's career. Can he show consistency of greatness that defines superstar status? He has shown the greatness, but does he have the skill set to make it last?
5. Dustin Johnson – (Wish) Bring back the DJ we knew before his fall on the stairs at the Masters two years ago. (Prediction) He hasn't been the same since. I have no inside information, but something else is going on. Too much talent and will continue to be a top 10 world player.
6. Tiger Woods – (Wish) Good health and be able to play a full schedule. (Prediction) Will play selected tournaments and will win two majors. If he is going to catch Jack Nicklaus, it has to start this year.
7. Patrick Cantlay – (Wish) Ability to use 2019 as a stepping stone to greater things in 2020 (Prediction) Has all the tools for greatness. Will see if he has the mindset to move up another level.
8. Justin Rose – (Wish) Regain his top three ranking. (Prediction) He will move up to the top three in the world. Don't see a major victory, but a Players Championship or Tour Championship and FedEx win is very possible.
9. Xander Schauffele – (Wish) Continued improvement (Prediction) Outstanding solid player that is only getting better. Might not have the overall strength game to consistently compete for majors, but he will win one or two before his career is over.
10. Tommy Fleetwood – (Wish) Live up to his potential. (Prediction) A good to great player that might not be as good as his hype. Needs to win in America to be taken more seriously, which I don't think he will do.
For the rest of the top tier golfers, I have these wishes. For Patrick Reed – a conscience; Bryson DeChambeau – a science formula on fast play; Rickie Fowler – more wins for the nicest guy on the PGA Tour; Tony Finau – learn to close a tournament; Jason Day – a strong back. With a good back he's a top five player; Jordan Spieth – a grand comeback for another of the nice guys on Tour; Phil Mickelson – a drink from the fountain of youth. One more glory year!
There will be many more headlines and stories this coming year. Golf is such a fickle game that can change in a blink of an eye. Great shots can turn out to be disastrous. Bad shots can get lucky bounces and be great. Usually in the end the best player wins, but not always. It's nice to predict and prognosticate, but these are just guesses. You have to do it on the golf course. That's why we play the game.
Have a wonderful New Year. All the best, Earl