With the PGA season set to start anew, I have a list of a few players to be mindful of during the upcoming year. Some won’t surprise you, others might.
Quickly, what I took away from the 2011 season was that of one thing: no dominant player. Of course, some of us will look to one or maybe even two that could possibly change the landscape.
Here’s a few guys I will look at for 2012.
1. Tiger Woods
This goes without saying. I poo-poo’d his win at Chevron, but I wasn’t the only one. Some hae said Tiger will get more than one win and snag a major in the process, too. If I would pinpoint one major, it has to be The Masters. Even when Woods struggled over the last two seasons, he could still find his way around August National…and that says a lot.
2. Rory McIlroy
There will be one or two that will attempt to pit Rors against Tiger in every way possible. McIlroy could be the tour’s next dominant player considering his age and vast talent. The breakdown that was the 2011 Masters is not even visible to him now. Sure, it might sneak back up if he leads going into the final round, but we witnessed a pretty awesome year from him.
3. Rickie Fowler
I have Fowler this high on my list for a reason. I think he can win a PGA TOUR event. Downplay his win last year, but that field did include McIlroy. There has to be something said for that, right?
4. Luke Donald
I don’t think Donald can duplicate his 2012 feat of snaring a pair of money titles. I want to see if Donald can shake the tag of being the world’s #1 without having won a major. Just ask Lee Westwood about that one. Maybe I should actually be asking which comes first: winning a major or losing his top ranking? With his supreme consistency, the major could be the answer there.
5. Dustin Johnson
Many thought last year would be a breakout season for Johnson. It didn’t happen despite winning the first leg of the playoffs at The Barclays. That would serve as his only 2011 win. Still, some may register 2011 as a minor disappointment. I honestly expected a little more myself. We hear of the talent. Can he put together his best year since turning pro?
6. Sergio Garcia
I’ve never been his biggest fan, but I have to admit it was nice to see Sergio notch a couple of victories in 2011. He played well in spurts, so maybe it’s time to put together another good year. Hopefully, that can translate into a good 2012. With off-course issues seemingly behind him, I don’t see why that cannot be the case.
7. Bud Cauley
Had to put another young guy in here and Cauley certainly fits the build. I thought about Harris English since he won on the Nationwide Tour last year, but Cauley intrigues me a little more. He played in eight events last year with only one missed cut. In the other seven, he grabbed a top 15 in four with a third at the Frys.com Open to go along with a T4 at The Viking Classic.
There’s others: Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, the previous mention to English, Lee Westwood and many more. When the final stats for any tournament are in, I will be seeing what these guys did.