On the eve of a new season on the PGA Tour, it seems appropriate – or, depending on your perspective, completely cliche and expected – to break out the crystal whiffle ball and do a little prognosticating. Some of what follows is serious, some is silly, but in every instance you're getting what you paid for. (Hey, if you can think of a better way to start a new golf blog, the comments section is open for business!)
In 2010 ...
Phil Mickelson will win the Masters, and possibly another major to go with it. With family health issues under control, a new old putting stroke, and Tiger most likely not quite himself (or absent), look for a brief but exciting "Era of Phil" to begin. His weight will continue to fluctuate.
Tiger Woods will miss the Masters as he struggles to get his personal life back on track. Not to go all Brit Hume or anything, but I think Tiger has to get right with himself before he can get back to being the golfer he was. This will take time. Some commentators seem to feel that if there's a divorce, Tiger's comeback will happen sooner rather than later -- with no marriage there's nothing to fix, right? But I'm of the mind that if he's serious about changing himself, which I hope he is, extended time away will be necessary regardless of his marital situation. It's not inconceivable to me that he could miss 2010 in its entirety as he works to get his priorities in order. Take your time, Tiger – then hurry back.
Tom Watson will NOT become the oldest player to ever win a major. But look for Old Tom to become the youngest sexagenarian ever to miss the cut at the Dubai Desert Classic.
Greg Norman will vow to never again seek marriage advice from Tiger Woods.
Rory McIlroy will be the most exciting young golfer to watch. He will contend in at least one major, but will not win one in 2010. He will, however, win multiple times around the world, and by year's end will be regarded as the favorite to unseat Tiger (or possibly Phil) as the #1 player in the world.
Ryo Ishikawa's hair will hire its own agent – and perhaps pick up some of the sponsors who dumped Tiger Woods.
Jack Nicklaus will turn 70 on January 21, as scheduled, exhibiting unmatched grace and class in the process.
Padraig Harrington, with his 2009 swing changes finally taking root, will win his fourth major.
Someone (perhaps Harrington), will blow a final-round chance to win the PGA Championship by posting a big number on the brutal 18th at Whistling Straits.
Steve Stricker will pick up where he left off in '09 and win multiple events (including this week's SBS Championship) in oh-10 – but no majors. If I'm wrong about the majors, look for his breakthrough win, and tears aplenty, to come at Pebble Beach, where he finished T27 in 2000, a mere 24 strokes behind runaway winner Tiger Woods. I'd love to think he could win the PGA at Whistling Straits, but the home-state pressure will likely do him in there.
Sergio Garcia will just miss his first major at the Old Course – and then blame his loss on "whatever idiot decided to screw with the Road Hole after 150 years."
Y.E. Yang will win again – and celebrate by lifting Gary McCord over his head.
John Daly's new TV show, airing in the vacuum left by Tiger, will briefly propel the newly svelte golfer to new heights of popularity – until word gets out of an ugly parking-lot incident involving a Hooters waitress, at least one of his ex-wives, and an incriminating pair of Loudmouth pants.
Gary Player, the Jack LaLanne Perry Como of professional golf, will celebrate his 75th birthday on November 1 with a 40th anniversary release of his album, "Gary Player Sings."
Vijay Singh will continue to be boring.
2010 will be remembered (by me) as the year I took a flyer and started a golf blog. Thanks for checking out this inaugural post. And please feel free to leave a comment with your feedback – good, bad, or ugly!