Saturday, December 17, 2011

2012 PGA Tour Predictions Part 1

So over the next couple days I am going to be posting some of my predictions for the 2012 PGA Tour season, with money list top 5, winners at large tournaments, FedEx Cup winner, and other predictions that I feel are worthy.  If you all have any other ideas or disagree with me, let me know!

Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines
With Tiger Woods opting to play in Dubai instead of at Torrey Pines, the field looks wide open for the best American golfers.  Most Euros I presume will also be at the Dubai event, so look for the young guns on the PGA tour to shine.  But don't count out Phil Mickelson at a course where he always seems to play well.  And with the length of the course, I expect Bubba Watson to contend and have a chance to defend his title.  The only thing that would make this tournament better would be to scrap the North Course all together and play only at the South Course.

Winner: Phil Mickelson: Phil always seems to play his best golf in the months leading up to Augusta.  After a decent rest break, Phil will be pumped up to show the youngsters that he still has game.  With hopeful increased confidence back in the putting, I think Torrey Pines will be a good springboard for a successful 2012 for Phil

Contenders: Bubba Watson, Nick Watney: If both players enter, which I presume they will (Watney is a California boy), their length will pay off huge on this course.  Look for Bubba's momentum to continue at Torrey and Watney's continued consistent play will put him in contention.

WGC Accenture Match Play
One of my favorite events of the year.  The players return to The Ritz-Carlton GC at Dove Mountain, a course the players seem to love.  Luke Donald returns to defend his title, presumably as the #1 player in the world.  But look for Tiger Woods to regain some of his matchplay magic from a few years ago.  Also, you cannot count out Ian Poulter in a matchplay event.  And some of the young players will have the tenacity and aggressiveness to win at this form of golf.  I expect this to be one of the hardest fought WGC Matchplay events ever.

Four Semifinalists: Tiger Woods, Ian Poulter, Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy
Finals Match: Tiger Woods vs. Ian Poulter
Third Place Match: Luke Donald vs. Rory McIlroy

I believe this will be the location of Tiger Woods' first PGA Tour win since 2009.  He showed his singles play prowess with a convincing win over Aaron Baddeley at the President's Cup in extremely windy and tough conditions.  Tiger's game seems to be coming around, and he should be at his best coming in to this event, after contending at Dubai in the prior weeks.  Ian Poulter will give Tiger a run, but I think Tiger will pull it out.  Donald and McIroy will play a very exciting third place match, and I think Donald will win this one.

WGC-Cadillac Invitational at Doral
Probably my favorite regular tour stop, the Blue Monster at Doral is a test for all of the pros.  This is the second WGC event of the season, which means the field will probably be the best so far in 2012.  The course plays pretty long, so look for the longer hitters to have better luck.  But to win here you have to hit the ball straight, with water lurking on a majority of the holes.  I expect Nick Watney to contend and possibly defend this tournament.  I also expect Alvaro Quiros, after winning the Race to Dubai's final event at a similar course, to have a good chance as well.  And Lee Westwood should be right up there as well.  A dark horse contender would be Steve Stricker (if you could call him a dark horse).

Winner: I believe Alvaro Quiros will win his first event on American soil here at Doral.  His game fits right into this course.  While he hits the ball a mile, he still manages to keep it in play a lot.  After winning the final event on the European Tour in 2011, he should have loads of confidence coming into 2012 and I expect him to have a big year.

Contenders: Lee Westwood, Steve Stricker: Both players have their strengths and weaknesses.  I expect Westwood to keep the ball in play and still hit it out there long.  And Stricker's putting can keep him in any tournament.

Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard
The final premier event before The Masters in early April, Arnie's tournament usually draws one of the better fields on the PGA Tour.  Look for Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia to be the two biggest names in European Golf at this event.  I expect a lot of the other players to stay in Europe.  The most consistent golfer at this event over the years has been Tiger Woods.  The course seems to suit his style perfectly.  But what about with his new swing?  Other players to look out for here include Rickie Fowler and rookie Bud Cauley, who I am expecting a lot from this year.

Winner: I have to go with the man Tiger Woods on this one.  Who else has won this tournament more times than him?  I also expect his confidence and swagger to be back after an earlier win this year.  Look for him to run away with the event.

Contenders: Rickie Fowler, Bud Cauley: I expect Rickie Fowler to get his first win this season en route to a Ryder Cup year.  And it may just happen right here at Bay Hill.  And Bud Cauley has one of the best games coming out of college in years.  He just signed a deal with Audemars Piguet, who only sign the best of the best.  Look for him to have a shot at winning his first event here, if not earlier in the season.

Other Winners of Note before the Masters
Here is a few golfers I expect to have a win before the Masters:

Luke Donald
Rory McIlroy
Mark Wilson
Bud Cauley
Nick Watney

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Stay tuned for more predictions!

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