Hate to be Rude: Can’t-miss '11 predictions
I don’t own a crystal ball or tarot cards. And I haven’t been to a psychic who reads dried coffee stains in several years. But I do have answers to a few questions as golf 2011 commences.
Q: Will Bubba Watson cry this year?
A: Does a pool of water surround the 17th green at TPC Sawgrass?
Q: What will make Bubba cry?
A: Victory, defeat and most things in between.
Q: How will you remember the late lawyer Leonard Decof?
A: As part of the six most feared words heard at PGA Tour and USGA headquarters over the years: “Leonard Decof is on the phone.”
Q: Will Anthony Kim sleep this year?
A: Only if Charley Hoffman cuts his hair.
Q: What will Phil Mickelson do next?
A: Last year, he tried to buy several Waffle Houses, ate at Five Guys Burgers every day during The Players and then announced in August that he’s a vegetarian. So who really knows?
Q: What will Graeme McDowell do for an encore?
A: Win two times worldwide in clutch fashion and buy stock in Guinness, one pint at a time.
Q: Whatever happened to U.S. Open runner-up Gregory Havret?
A: He was kidnapped a month before British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen was.
Q: Who are three players not named Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson whom you’d pay to watch play?
A: Dustin Johnson, Retief Goosen and Jose Maria Olazabal, even if he rides a cart in a recreational round.
Q: Who are the three best players under 30?
A: In order, Rory McIlroy, Martin Kaymer and Dustin Johnson.
Q: Are you high on Rickie Fowler?
A: Very. His four birdies to finish the Ryder Cup buried thoughts of the layup in Phoenix and turned him back into Lanny Wadkins.
Q: Do you like the way Fowler dresses?
A: Yes, on Halloween. And yes, because golf has enough conformists.
Q: What’s your take on McIlroy’s hair?
A: Well, he’s had the Cookie the Clown look and the Frosted Perm. Can dreadlocks be far off?
Q: What’s the most incredible thing you’ve ever seen in golf?
A: You mean, besides the Cristie Kerr makeover several years ago?
Q: What are the three worst words in golf?
A: “Pay up, dude” edges “You’re still away” and “Cart path only.”
Q: Who will be this year’s Matt Kuchar?
A: Nick Watney. I have a hunch Watney might become a superstar. He’s long, has an all-around game, made noise in three 2010 majors and the Tour Championship, had eight top 10s last year and has Butch Harmon in his corner.
Q: Who will win the 2011 major championships?
A: Retief Goosen, Masters. Lee Westwood, U.S. Open. Rory McIlroy, British Open. Phil Mickelson, PGA.
Q: No Tiger Woods?
A: OK, so I’m more wise guy than wise man.
Q: Where will we see Ian Poulter stand out this year?
A: Everywhere he goes, considering the clothes he wears.
Q: Who’s the best player in the world?
A: Lee Westwood. He’s clearly the game’s best ball-striker and regularly contends in the big stuff. The different question now is, Can Woods elevate his game to get into Westwood’s league?
Q: Since Woods won 51 percent of his starts from July 2006 through 2009, why did he change his swing?
A: Good question.
Q: What’s the central question surrounding the 2011 Tour?
A: Which Woods will show up? The one who won more than half of his Tour starts during those 3 1/2 years? Or the inconsistent one who had but two top-10 finishes last year when coming out of sex scandal?
Q: So what’s the answer?
A: Someone in between.
Q: So how will that translate in terms of numbers?
A: Four trees hit, three wins, two close calls in majors, one missed cut, no hydrants.