What to watch for the rest of 2013
Tiger Woods, South Africa, Q-school, and more will highlight the rest of 2013.
Can you see it?
We're almost there. We've almost emerged from the other side of golf's silly season to the Tournament of Champions in January when the PGA Tour gets going in 2014.
We're still six weeks away though and there are still a few things to be on the lookout for between now an then.
Trust me, I know everyone is wrapped up in Bama-FSU and that Broncos-49ers Super Bowl we definitely won't get but let's not look past the last few things that will finally put a cap on the year 2013.
Here they are.
Tiger Woods will host the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge the first full weekend in December. It's a loaded field -- Ian Poulter, Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Jordan Spieth, Matt Kuchar, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Bubba Watson, and Keegan Bradley, among others.
Guess what, that's some good watching and it will be Woods' first time to appear on Golf Channel since his rift with Brandel Chamblee. Even better watching.
Woods talked recently about how important the tournament is to him and his charity.
"Running our own golf event with the players that we've had supporting the event, them experiencing and understanding what we're trying to do for kids, has grown exponentially."
World Cup of Golf
This actually starts on Thursday in Australia and runs through Saturday. Dozens of countries are represented by two-man teams from over two dozen countries.
The format is 72 holes of stroke play with the low two-man score winning the team portion of the event (much like the 2016 Olympics). Matt Kuchar and Kevin Streelman are competing for the US. Kuchar and Gary Woodland won the event last year.
South Africa will host four tournaments in the next four weeks on the European Tour circuit. The tourneys include the Alfred Dunhill Championship, of which Charl Schwartzel is the defending champion.
They are four of South Africa's eight tournaments on the season. Remember, last year we got this jewel of a photo from Louis Oosthuizen and his prized backhoe in South Africa. I'm hoping for more of the same this year.
We know Phil Mickelson will shorten his 2014 schedule but what tournaments will he cut out? That has yet to be announced. Also, will Steve Stricker only play five tournaments next year? Three? Less?
And what will Tiger Woods do during the Winter Olympics? His girlfriend Lindsey Vonn will be skiing in Russia February 9-22. Those dates coincide with the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Northern Trust Open, and Match Play World Championship.
Woods only played in one of those (the Match Play Championship) last year, I wonder what he'll do this year.
Additionally, what will guys like Harris English and Jordan Spieth who have now won on Tour (English, twice) do? Those two guys were playing every tournament they could get into last season but they won't need to now. It will be interesting to see how their schedules shake out.
The stories won't be as great this year because Q-school is no longer a way into the PGA Tour but players will still feed into the Web.com Tour and, likely, some eventually go on to become PGA Tour players someday.
There have been quite a few notable names move on from Round 1 including Jordan Spieth's old roommate, Keegan Bradley's old roommate, and Jhonattan Vegas' younger brother.
Qualifying lasts until just before Christmas.
Previews and gift guides
We're about to start counting down the 50 best golfers going into 2014 -- that's always a fun list. Plus we have holiday gift guides and some other fun preview stuff planned.
Think of it as the bridge to connect the end of your 2013 fandom with the great year that awaits in 2014.
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