10 things that excite us about 2014
Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and (already) who is the next Jordan Spieth?
2013 was a pretty incredible golf season. We got Tiger wins (lots of them), Tiger drama (it never ceased), four great major champions, two absolutely classic major finishes, a host of youngsters who hit the ground running, and a $20 million man.
I'm not sure we could have asked for a golf season to deliver more than this one did.
A number of things that happened this year excite me when it comes to next year but none more so than these 10:
1. Ryder Cup -- As boring as this year's Presidents Cup was it successfully whet my appetite for what's going to happen at Gleneagles in October. I cannot wait.
2. Tiger's chase for 18 -- It will always be the most interesting story in golf (sports?) until he retires. It's impossible to get away from and next year, for the first time, he's going to start hearing whispers of the big "four-oh" (he'll be 38 in December).
I think he finally gets No. 15 next year but I think it'll be too little, too late on his chase for Jack Nicklaus.
3. Jordan Spieth's ceiling -- As in, what is it? When you go from no Tour status to to No. 25 in the world golf rankings in nine months, people start questioning your ceiling. I think his is the highest at the youngest age since the guy I mentioned above.
4. Phil Mickelson's career slam bid -- It will be the dominant storyline from the day after Masters Sunday through the end of the US Open. Can Lefty conquer Pinehurst?
Part of me feels like he's putting a little too much stock into his bid instead of just letting it play out however it's going to play out. What do I know about Phil's psyche, though? What does anyone know about it?
5. How will Rory McIlroy rebound -- I feel a monster season coming from Rory. Maybe it's the way he carried himself in Asia at the end of the year or the way he had the quietest top 10 of all time at the DP World Championship but I feel a big-time year coming from Nike's No. 2 guy.
The good news for him is that it couldn't get much worse.
6. How the Rules of Golf continue to evolve -- The two big rules stories from 2013 were the elimination of belly putters and fans being able to call in penalties. The USGA and R&A haven't totally ruled on the latter but it's coming and when it does it will no doubt reverberate throughout the golf world. I don't envy Tim Finchem.
7. The idea of one world tour -- When Matt Kuchar first mentioned the possibility of one, united world tour I kind of did a double take. But the more I thought about it the more I started to dall in love with the idea.
There's no reason PGA Tour stars should feel confined to second-rate events in the US when some of the best courses and tournaments are being played overseas. No reason for fans to be held hostage to that, either.
8. Who is this year's Spieth -- Will it be Brooks Koepka or Peter Uihlein? Maybe, and whoever it is likely won't have the kind of season Spieth had in 2014, but it will probably be somebody we aren't thinking of yet. Somebody who may not even have tour status at the current time.
9. Drugs and golf -- I thought the sneaky-big story of the year was Vijay Singh basically accusing the tour of covering up positive PED tests, or not testing certain golfers at all. How was this not a bigger deal and how, as our culture continues to explore this morality of sports, will golf respond?
I don't think that story is going away anytime soon.
10. Who gets major No. 2 first -- Let's play a game: With your life on the line who would you pick to get their second major, first between Adam Scott, Justin Rose, Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner, Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen, Zach Johnson, Bubba Watson, and Webb Simpson? That's a hell of a list but I think I'd take Bradley or Scott.
For that matter, who would you pick to get their first major, first between Hunter Mahan, Jordan Spieth, Brandt Snedeker, Matt Kuchar, Steve Stricker, Billy Horschel, Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Luke Donald, and Bill Haas?
Has to be Day, right?
Good thing we have all of 2014 to find out.
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