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Monday, December 17, 2012

2012 - A look back at some predictions

As I prepare to make some predictions for the 2013 PGA TOUR season, I thought it would be fun to go back and look at some comments I made ahead of the 2012 campaign. I had several posts that covered different topics, and below are a few of the ones that stand out……good and bad.
The first is “Who could be this year’s Webb Simpson and Bill Haas.” I’ll let you read the full post http://thegolfaficionado.blogspot.com/2011/12/who-could-be-this-years-webb-simpson.html  if you choose, but I pointed out three guys most likely to have a 2012 like Simpson did in 2011 were Kyle Stanley, Kevin Chappell and Cameron Tringale. The parameters were that it needed to be a young, non-rookie with a solid pedigree. Stanley obviously came the closest, winning and adding a runner-up and at one point leading the Ryder Cup points list, but he lost his momentum and never found it again.
As for the Haas comparison, the parameters were for someone who had been on TOUR a while longer, possibly having a win on their resume but largely would be a surprise should they win the FedExCup. The three I mentioned were Kevin Na, Chris Kirk and Jeff Overton. Each of those three had solid seasons, but none took a step any larger than they already had. I’m not sure Brandt Snedeker would have really qualified for this list, as he was probably too accomplished already.
I had another post entitled “Veterans who may disappoint in 2012.” http://thegolfaficionado.blogspot.com/2011/12/veterans-who-may-disappoint-in-2012.html The five names I included in this list were Jim Furyk, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Paul Goydos and Jerry Kelly.
I did pretty well with Furyk, suggesting that he may need a captain’s pick for the Ryder Cup, but did over-exaggerate the level of which he make sink, suggesting he would be closer to 50th in the OWGR than 10th. He is currently 27th. By any standard, the way in which he blew some marquee tournaments down the stretch, along with a poor Ryder Cup record, would likely have him label 2012 as a disappointing year.
I didn’t call for a crash-and-burn for Mickelson, only noted that his time at the top is slowing down and his ability to contend regularly is coming to an end. He won just one event in 2012 and barely made the Ryder Cup on his own merit, finishing in the eighth and final automatic spot.
It’s apparent that I whiffed on Els, and I’m glad I did. The sport is better with The Big Easy on top. My basis was that he was outside the top 160 in almost every major statistical category in 2011. What I didn’t factor in, was how well he plays Royal Lytham!
It’s unfortunate that an injury is the reason Paul Goydos proved me right, but he is known for having to make way too much money in very few events.
Jerry Kelly finished outside the top 125 for the first time in who knows how long. I noted that my selection for him as more of a hunch, factoring in age and declining ball-striking stats, and unfortunately it was proven correct. Fortunately for Kelly, he has career money exemptions in his pocket and we’ll see plenty of him in 2013.
I offered up my initial guess for the members of the 2012 Ryder Cup team for the U.S. side back in December http://thegolfaficionado.blogspot.com/2011/12/early-ryder-cup-power-rankings.html. I’m happy to say I had nine of the 12 right. (Matt Kuchar, Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson, Keegan Bradley, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson and Jim Furyk) I also incorrectly had Hunter Mahan, Lucas Glover and Nick Watney on the team. Brandt Snedeker and Zach Johnson made my 9-man watch list, but Jason Dufner got no respect from me pre-season.
In the coming days I will offer up some similar predictions for the 2013 season. Some will be right and others will look about as smart as predicting Ernie Els to have a down year in 2012!

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