September 27, 2018

1. The Ryder Cup. On the surface one has to think the Americans ought to be heavily favored. This might just be one of, if not the, most talented teams ever assembled. Lots of young guys who thirst for the spotlight. And with Europe, is there anyone besides Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari that scares you right now? Rory McIlroy certainly doesn’t, and neither of the others do. I won’t be watching – I’ve got too many other things to do – but it wouldn’t surprise me if the Americans win in a rout.

2. The 2109 schedule. Man, talk about compressing your entire season into just six months! I can see a greater likelihood that someone who, say, comes out of The Players Championship (no, I’m not going to capitalize all the letters as the PGA Tour does), really hot could then run off a string of majors in short order.

3. Justin Thomas. Have to admit he’s looked a little listless and sloppy at times this year. But one has to remember that he’s still a (at least in PGA Tour terms) a kid, and he’s still learning his craft. I fully believe that in five years’ time he’ll have racked up at least three more majors and will be the dominant American player. And there aren’t many guys I know who could pull off wearing pink.

3. Jordan Spieth. Could it all have come a little too easily too early for Jordan? I love his game, but there’s something going on there that if he doesn’t get a handle on it he runs the risk of becoming a has-been at a very early age.

4. The problem is that there’s too damned much money out there. Think about it: you’re 24 years old and rich beyond your wildest dreams. And in this day and age on the PGA Tour you don’t even have to win to make oodles of dough-re-mi. It would take someone with a very high level of discipline and maturity not to let it get away from him after achieving so much success so early in his professional career.

5. Rory McIlroy. See #4 above.

6. Dustin Johnson. It’s obvious the guy has game and can hit the ball a long way. But I sense no killer instinct there, no desire to refine his game to the point where any one would fear him. Sure, the guy will make a pile of money any given season (and maybe that’s good enough for him), but in my view he’s wasting his talent. Maybe those rumors of issues in his marriage with Paulina Gretzky have something to do with it.

7. Rickie Fowler. Think Dustin Johnson without all the rumors that have dogged Johnson over the years. On the surface Rickie is squeaky-clean, and perhaps that’s true. But methinks between the money, the fame, and his character he doesn’t possess that killer instinct you need to start out hot at a major, then put your foot on the necks of the rest of the field to grab his little piece of immortality. He’s a nice player and fun to watch, but he doesn’t strike me as someone who can come from behind and snag that major by going super low on Sunday. I hope I’m wrong – would love to see it happen.

8. Phil Mickelson. I think that win in Mexico will turn out to be his last hurrah, both in terms of his game and he being the ultimate fan fave. That act he pulled at Shinnecock gave his reputation a hit (he should have either been disqualified or, more appropriately, DQ’d himself after the round ended), and his game is all over the place. He’s had a good run, but time catches up to everyone no matter how good you are.

9. Tiger Woods. And the same will happen to Tiger. As I’ve mentioned before, he’s going to get injured again – it’s a virtual guarantee. His body was old before his back surgery, and nothing has changed since then. This is a very good run for Tiger – perhaps he can keep it up for another year or two or three – but no matter how hard he works out it is unreasonable to expect him to maintain his level of play over the past month for an entire season.

10. That being said, I could see him peel off a major or two over the next few years. There are still significant headwinds facing him – the number of great players out there, his health and age, etc., but I’ll admit I never expected to see him playing at the level he has been again. So maybe all the fawning attention Golf Channel has been foisting on him all year is warranted. After all, Tiger just doesn’t move the needle as far as professional golf is concerned, he IS the needle.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 01:53 | Comments (0)
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