December 5, 2011
I will go ahead and say that this weekend got me FIRED up for next year on the PGA tour. Why? Because Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods all won and will all be headlining the PGA tour next season. I know they will throw in Luke Donald, Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Bill Haas, Matt Kuchar, Webb Simpson and a few others as a marketing ploy, but I am calling it right now that these three will be the story of next year.
I am not the biggest Tiger fan in the world and I will be the first to admit that I never believe any of the rumors that he is back. I truly believe that Tiger will never dominate the PGA Tour like he did earlier in his career. That doesn’t mean I dont’ think he will win and win majors. I think he will win next year and I am not sure if a major is realistic or not. With that being said, you can’t deny the electricity he creates. I know that he won the Chevron this weekend and not the Masters, but it felt like I was watching a major for the last two holes. He has the IT factor and there is no denying it.
The reason I say he won’t dominate is because too many young guys have grown up on the tour in his absence. They never experienced the aura of the dominant Tiger and they won’t be quick to back down when he is in contention. Rory showed us all that he has mental toughness after absolutely embarrassing himself on the back nine at the Masters only to freakishly win the U.S. Open. Westwood has been through a rebuilding of his game and has a huge chip on his shoulder of never winning a major. He will get one eventually. These are the guys who are going to challenge Tiger now that he is “back” even though I still don’t think he will ever be the Tiger of old.
I really think this next year on the PGA tour is going to produce some memorable golf. Just like this year brought a bunch of first time winners to the winner’s circle, next year is going to generate some genuine rivalries and match ups that hopefully last all of us viewers a large chunk of time. I, for one, can’t wait for it to get here and start all over again.
June 20, 2011
I spent some time today reading all of the wrap us from the U.S. Open. It is overwhelming how many comparisons came out between Rory and Tiger. I can’t say that I disagree with all of them, but I don’t want to brand him the “new” Tiger after one major win. I think he will win plenty more and be around for quite some time, but you never know. Golf is a funny game.
Even more surprising, to me, was the amount of people finally accepting the fact that the new younger crop of players are getting really really good. Jason Day hit his ball everywhere but the fairway on Sunday and managed to take home a solo second place. I feel confident saying that Day will figure out his driver and put together a heck of a career. He is talented beyond belief and he doesn’t get frazzled. No matter where he was on the course he was focused on his next shot. It was very impressive. It actually reminded me a lot of watching Phil play. His tee shots can get wayward, but you know he has some magic in his game that will get him to the green and in the hole safely.
The reason this surprised me so much was because outside of Rory, Chappel and Day there weren’t a ton of young guns playing that great at the Open. Let me re-phrase that; besides Chappel there weren’t any young American players playing well in the open. Davis Love III tied for 11th for crying out loud. Dustin Johnson was the only notable young American player on anywhere near the leader board and he finished T23 along with Gary Woodland and Bill Haas. Webb Simpson finished T14, but I don’t think we can consider him our next great hope for American golf.
Where was Mahan, Fowler, Bubba, Kim and Watney? Bubba was the only one to make the cut and he finished at +9 for the tournament. The rest of the contenders in the Open were older veteran American players and Europeans. Other that Rory and Day can we really sit back yet and say the younger players have taken over? I don’t think we can just yet, but Rory’s win certainly makes me feel confident that we will be able to say that with unwavering confidence very soon.