New Year's Resolutions: Changes for Spieth, Reed and Woods as 2018 dawns
Let's take a look at some small tweaks that could make a big difference
It's the most wonderful time of the year. When the treadmills at your local gym are pack and we all give up that mid-afternoon Dr. Pepper ... for three days anyway. Your world is likely rife with New Year's resolutions, both your own and from those you know and love. But what about PGA Tour golfers? Oh, I'm sure they have theirs stored away on their phones somewhere, but what would they be if I got to pick?
Here are a few things some of the best players in the world should resolve to accomplish in 2018 to both help their games at the highest level as well as improve their happiness and health.
Patrick Reed -- Play less: Reed might be the craziest scheduler in the world. He's ranked No. 24 in the world, but he builds his schedule like he's No. 240. Reed played 29 (!) times on the PGA Tour last season and another four on the European Tour. He also played the Presidents Cup, which somehow counted as a Euro event and helped him keep his card on both tours in 2018. I think Reed could do himself some good by reducing his schedule by 25 percent. He ranked 94th in final round scoring average, which is a sign that maybe playing less would mean winning more.
Patrick Cantlay -- Play more: Of course, Cantlay will likely play more in 2018 because now he gets to build his schedule. The main reason he didn't in 2017 is because he was easing back into PGA Tour life and trying to not re-injure his back. Cantlay hasn't missed a cut since the end of 2014 (he only played one event in 2015 and 2016), and he's moved from outside the top 1,500 in the world to inside the top 50. He already won in the fall, and if he plays the full slate, it's difficult to see that not happening again.
Tiger Woods -- Play only when you want: You know how the goal of any entrepreneur is to get to a place where you can work when you want to and not work when you don't want to? Well, Woods entered that space about 22 years ago, and he should start taking advantage of it. I know he said inthat he wants to play a full schedule in 2018, and I'm all for it as long as the body is holding up. But I hope he doesn't sacrifice Year 2-10 of the fused back for Year 1. And here's the rub: I'm not even all that concerned about the back. I'm concerned about the rest of his body given that he was swinging like he's 24 and not 42 at the Hero World Challenge a few weeks ago.
Everybody on the European Tour -- Play the Dubai Desert Classic: Wait, why? The 2016 winner was Danny Willett. The 2017 winner was Sergio Garcia. Both golfers went on to win the Masters later in the year. Can it happen three years in a row? Well, I want to see you try and stop the hype train when Rory McIlroy wins it here in a few weeks.
Rickie Fowler -- Improve out of the rough: Fowler's game has really rounded out well, but one of the few areas where he struggled last year was proximity to the hole from the rough. Fowler ranked No. 164 in proximity to the hole out of the rough, and even though he drove the ball quite well, this hurt him. He also struggled from 200-225 yards away, and the two probably go hand in hand. There aren't a lot of areas of Fowler's game that can take substantial improvement, but this is one of them.
Rory McIlroy -- Figure out the wedge game: Not really a big secret here, but McIlroy was lousy from 125-175 yards last year. He was outside the top 150 in proximity from both 125-150 yards and 150-175 yards. A lot gets made of his putting stroke, and that's fine, but this was the real weak spot in his game in 2017.
Dustin Johnson -- Take elevators.
Justin Thomas -- Win early: One thing that can take the pressure off of the year after an historic year is winning early in the season. Guess what? Thomas already did that at the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges late in 2017. Leave it to the Player of the Year to accomplish his 2018 goal before 2017 ended.
Jon Rahm -- Do what D.J. did: Rahm, like McIlroy and formerly like Johnson, has a problem from 125-150 yards out. He was 178th on the PGA Tour in proximity to the hole from that distance. That's an issue for anyone, but it keeps somebody who drives it like him from scoring up to his capabilities. Johnson figured it out and has won seven times in two years. If guys like Rahm and McIlroy are able to figure this out, it's going to be a problem for the rest of the Tour.
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