The 2013 PGA Tour season was officially over after the Tour Championship, but we really needed to wait until the Presidents Cup was over before we could start talking about it. With the new format, and the demise of the Tour Q School the PGA can get the new season underway next week, and everyone will start with a new slate at the same time. Luckily, unlike other sports, we golf fans only have to wait a week instead of six months for it to start all over again.
The season ended at Muirfield Village just like it started at Kapalua back in January with Mother Nature in full control of the action. Instead of rain, on Maui, it was wind. At Dove Mountain we got a snow storm on Thursday, and a wind storm on Sunday for the finale. Let’s don’t forget about the fog that forced a Monday finish at Torrey Pines. The only place the weather wasn’t a big factor was….you guessed it, Scotland.
Earlier in the season, we had a new first-time winner almost every week leading up to the Masters. And of course, the Masters had some firsts itself. Adam Scott ended the frustration of a whole continent when he won his first major at a place where no Aussie had ever won, Augusta National. The Sunday afternoon battle between Scott, in the rain I might add, was one of the finest finishes to a major championship I had seen in years. I still get goose bumps when they show the replay of Scott hitting that shot to number ten and getting the smile and thumbs-up from his competitor, Angel Cabrera. That moment made me an instant Cabrera fan.
Tiger Woods walked away with the PGA Player of the Year Award, and most money after five victories during the season. Three of the wins were quality wins that were against top fields and were classified as WGC events. His other top win was the PGA’s fifth major at The Players. I suspect that Tiger would have given at least two of those back if he could have won one major this year, but he didn’t.
The other problem Tiger Woods had in 2013 was bad decisions with penalty drops. It all started at one of the most hyped events in the early part of the year in Abu Dhabi. Tiger lifted a plugged ball in a fairway bunker, and was given a two-shot penalty, and missed the cut by one stroke.
The big mistake he made was, of course, the incorrect drop at August on Saturday. I propose to you that had Tiger not incurred that penalty, he would have been a factor on Sunday, and in contention for another Green Jacket. His problems came from the fact that he was hitting the ball so well on that Saturday, and hit the flagstick at 15 because he was hitting laser guided irons all day and just got very unlucky.
The Masters saw a bit more history with a 14 year-old from China being the youngest player in history to make the cut. Guan Tianalang went on to play more events where he made some cuts, and will have a chance later this month to play with Tiger and Rory in his home country. I can’t wait.
I guess I could have spent the whole day without having to talk about Rory McIlroy, and the horrible season he had in 2013. But hey…it happened this year, so we need to talk about it. Rory was so frustrated on Friday at The Honda Classic, he invented a dental problem, and withdrew from the tournament. He didn’t wait until the second round was over, he just picked up his sticks, and left. I’ve been there before, but didn’t have the world watching when I busted my four-iron, and went home.
We had three new major champions in 2013 . Adam Scott at the Masters, Justin Rose at the US Open, and Jason Dufner at the PGA Championship. Of course, Phil Mickelson got his first Open Championship, and his sixth runner-up in the US Open at Merion. Sorry Phil, maybe next year.
And who can talk about 2013 without talking about the way Henrik Stenson played all year, and especially the way he played down the stretch during the FedEx Cup playoffs winning his first FedEx Cup. He’s not done yet, He leads the European Tour in Race to Dubai points, and will get busy this month with those playoffs which end in December at the DP World Tour Championships, Dubai.
With this year in the books, the 2013-2014 season gets underway this week at the Frys.com from California. This will give the younger players some time to pad their FedEx Cup points status before the regulars come back in January at, you guessed it, The Tournament of Champions in January. I didn’t talk about Deer Antler spray, or anchored putters, but will get to that as it unfolds.
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