Happy New Year from all of us here at DimpleHead! (If you’re scoring at home, all of us = just me) Like many of you I am making New Year’s Resolutions for 2013. No, no, not for me; for the world’s best golfers. Why? Surely these titans of modern golf are all looking for the opinion of a golf blogger/podcaster on what they need to do to be successful…[Dr. Evil voice] “Riiiiiight.” Here’s the thing, we all know what these guys should do to have a successful 2013, and so do they. But in case they need some direction here goes…
We’ll start with World-Number-One, Rory McIlroy
Rory had a great 2012, he won his second major championship by eight shots, ascended to the top of the Official World Golf Rankings (more than once), and, oh yeah, could not close out the Fed Ex/St. Jude Classic in June. Sorry, don’t mean to throw a wet blanket on McIlroy’s great season (because ANY other golfer in the world would have given their right arm to have the season Rory had). Really, the only blemish on his otherwise incredible season was that late spring/early summer lull he fell into. RESOLUTION: Avoid the lull.
Tiger’s 2012 makes me think of that classic number from the American Songbook, “Friday” by Rebecca Black. (If you’re not familiar with this song, and good for you if you’re not, check it out) Except that, unlike Ms. Black, Tiger did not seem to be “looking forward to the weekend, weekend.” At least not in the Majors. RESOLUTION: Be a little more like Loverboy (Working for the Weekend)
Three little words for ball-striker extraordinaire, Lee Westwood. RESOLUTION: Make pressure putts.
Luke Donald is Mr. Consistency, right? It’s how he vaulted to the top of the Official World Golf Rankings in 2011 and held the top spot for more than a year. A walking top-10. And his record in the majors must be equally as consistent. We remember the dramatic chip-in on the 72nd hole of the 2011 Masters which led to a T-4 finish; or his T-5 at Royal Lytham and St. Annes this past July. But did you know that Luke Donald has not made the cut in each of the four majors in a season since 2006? Really? Yes, really. It seems Luke Donald would happily trade to have the #TigerWoodsProblems mentioned above (before you even think it, not THOSE #TigerWoodsProblems). RESOLUTION: Find those four weekends in 2013.
PLUG: (Incidentally, I picked Donald to win the U.S. Open this year. You can read that, along with my other 2013 Major Championship picks here.) [End of self-promotion].
The greatest left-handed player in history is a lock to contend at Augusta National (only twice since 1999 has Phil finished outside the top ten there). He’s about 50/50 to contend at the U.S. Open (8 top tens since 1998). He likely will not contend at the British Open and his PGA record is so-so at best. When Phil finishes in the top five at Augusta he usually contends at the U.S. Open (Since 2001: 9 top fives at Augusta = 6 top sevens in the same year at the U.S. Open). RESOLUTION: Contend at The Masters to have a chance at the U.S. Open.
RESOLUTION: Play fewer events…wait…already committed to that? Moving on then…
Golf’s newest $11 Million Man aka FedEx Cup Champion shouldn’t change a thing. He can putt. He plays quick. He’s brimming with confidence off of a career year in 2012. Did I mention he can putt? It’s time for Sneds to putt (get it? putt?) himself into the category of perennial Major Championship contender. He coughed up a chance at Augusta back in 2008 and did the same thing last year at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. A putter like Snedeker should “Always Be Contending” RESOLUTION:
Buy me a house with, say, 1% of your FedEx Cup haul. Contend in a major without giving it up (full disclosure: I picked Snedeker to win the PGA in ’13).
The only players with as much swag in their games as Bubba Watson are Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy. Bubba’s length and shot-making/bending make him as fun to watch as anyone. His expectations have also never been higher coming off of his Green-Jacket-Winning-Gap-Wedge-Hook-From-152-yards-In-The-Trees to beat Louis Oosthuizen last April. RESOLUTION: Back it up. No Major Championship Hangover.
Lastly, I’ll call these guys The Anchormen (no, unfortunately I’m not referring to Ron Burgundy):
Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, Ernie Els, Adam Scott, Carl Pettersson, Tim Clark and the rest of the players who use an anchored putting stroke had the kibosh put on their brand of putting by the USGA and R&A in November. While the ban on Anchored Putting Strokes does not take effect until 2016, there is no need to waste time being defiant. Webb Simpson has already begun to work with a conventional method. RESOLUTION: Figure it out. If they haven’t already begun to try out some non-anchored method of putting, they’d better do it soon.
There you have it. The 2013 resolutions for golf’s top players. Seems simple enough, right? I can’t wait to see how 2013 plays out.