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Preview of 2012 - The US View
Posted by: Darren Ramowski on Mon 09 Jan 2012
Guest post from Kevin Hill of The Urban Golfer
We've already done our look ahead at the 2012 golf season but what about the US view ? Kevin Hill, Chicago, Il of The Urban Golfer gives us his views on the 2012 season.
Welcome to The Urban Golfer’s 2012 golf preview.
Looking back at 2011 we had a changing of the guard with a plethora of ‘young guns’ winning Majors and taking home a lot of money. We had to wait until the last golf event of the year in California to see the old guard (Tiger Woods) come through with his first, pre-Thanksgiving-car-crash victory at the Chevron World Challenge. Even the casual golf fan knows that the biggest story going into 2012 is whether or not Tiger Woods can win a major, or two, and close in on Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors.
We had two players correct in 2011 just not the correct major. Kevin Hill picked Charl Schwartzel to win the PGA (he won The Masters) and Jim Dowd picked Rory McIlroy to win The Open. (he won the U.S. Open)
As we did last year we are going to attempt to predict the 4 majors for 2012.
Who are the four major winners?
Kevin Hill: The cream always rises to the top at The Masters so there is no reason to think that Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Tiger Woods and Lee Westwood won’t all be at or near the top come Sunday. After winning the U.S. Open in record breaking fashion last year I don’t see why Rory can’t avenge his colossal meltdown last year and take home the Green Jacket.
Jim Dowd: Rory McIlroy. I really like Rory in this one. Tiger has not found the putting magic on the Augusta greens that earned him four green jackets. I believe Rory exorcises the fourth round demons of 2011 and wins his second major, while securing the world #1 ranking. Watch for the regulars like Tiger, Phil and Cabrera to contend.
KH: The 2012 U.S. Open will be held at Olympic Club in San Francisco, the last time the U.S. Open was hosted at the historic Olympic Club Lee Janzen won. Last year we saw young Rory McIlroy make a historic statement by blowing away numerous U.S. Open records with a four day total of -16 at Congressional Country Club in Maryland. Along with death and taxes we can assume that Olympic won’t be that easy. Tiger is a native Californian and seems to perform well on the left coast, he should have a handful of tourneys under his belt by mid June, I seem him winning this with a four day total of -5.
JD: Tiger Woods. Tiger did not perform well here 1998, but the guy was still a young pup. The question for him here is whether his driver cooperates and he consistently finds fairways off the tee. Nevertheless, I think Tiger gets his major here. He typically plays well in California and won’t be too far from his alma mater. I do think he gets a major this year, and the US Open is his best shot.
KH: The 141st British Open will be played at Royal Lytham and St. Annes Golf Club in Lancashire, England. This tournament can be so unpredictable because of the questionable weather. Heck, last year the weather at Royal St. George drove Rory McIlroy to announce that he is going to play the majority of his 2012 tournament in the US. After a very solid year on the European PGA Tour last year I see Simon Dyson winning the 2012 British Open.
JD: Ricky Fowler. The British gets more difficult each year to predict. The style of golf over there opens up the field and gives the greatest amount of competitors a chance to take home a major title. Back on the Tiger subject, Tiger did not play well here 2001 (when he was playing the best golf of his career). Ricky makes his major breakthrough here, building on a win at either Torrey Pines or Muirfield Village.
KH: The 2012 PGA Championship is being played at possible the hardest public track in the US, The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, SC. Jim Dowd can attest we might not see the traditional low scores this year in South Carolina. As mentioned above, the best player in the world not to win a major will get his first of a few at Kiawah Island, LUKE!!!! Luke Donald.
JD: Rory McIlroy. One of my favorite places in the world, Kiawah will host the 2012 PGA Championship. The Pete Dye designed Ocean Course, arguably the world’s most difficult course, will provide the field a last opportunity at a major in 2012. Much will depend on the weather. If its windy, watch for players adept to the British style of play. If the breeze is a bit more benign, American style “Driver to Wedge” will succeed. I think Rory wins his second major of the year. This is a tight one with Keegan Bradley, Ricky Fowler and Webb Simpson on his heals.
Who will finish the year as the # 1 ranked player?
Luke and why he won’t:
KH: There is a strong possibility that he will still be #1 at the beginning of 2013, but the man I see taking him over is Rory McIlroy. If Rory can win a major and 2 more tourney’s worldwide he can take over the top spot.
JD: Rory finishes the year as the world #1, a title he will hold for a longer period to come. He does have the best game out there, other than a healthy 2001 Tiger Woods. I peg him winning 4 to 5 events this year with at least one major.
KH: On pure OWR’s you have to pick the Europeans, but with the Chicago gallerys behind the Americans Ill take the USA. Either way it will hopefully come down to the last putt on Sunday.
JD: Might be a little early to predict this one, but I do like the Americans here. Medinah should provide a home field advantage and the Americans have gotten better with the emergence of stars like Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and Bill Haas. Bradley makes this squad and plays a critical role over the weekend.
Who will be the FedEx point winner?
KH: With Rory playing the majority of his 2012 tourneys in the US he would be at the top of my list, but with the consistency in 2011 I have to choose Luke Donald. I don’t see a down year for Luke, when your short game is that good it covers up a lot of mistakes. (and under average driving distance)
JD: Nick Watney. Watney does have major game and came close at Whistling Straits a couple years back. He won twice last season, at Doral and the AT&T. When his putter is hot, he is as good as anybody on tour. I think he comes close in a couple of the majors with a few wins during the year and one down the FedEx Cup stretch.
For the full predications low down from the Urban Golfer team visit: http://theurbangolfer.net/home/2012/1/5/2012-pga-tour-preview-and-predictions.html
Guest post from Kevin Hill, The urban male who enjoys golf, the 19th hole, fashion and travel.
For more information check out the Urban Golfer for golf news, PGA tour news via www.theurbangolfer.net
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