Rude: Some opening shots for 2012

Lexi Thompson

Lexi Thompson

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Jeff Rude’s “I Hate To Be Rude” column appears on Golfweek.com on Wednesday.

I don’t own tarot cards, runes or a Magick Mirror. And I don’t read tea leaves. But I do have answers to a few questions as golf 2012 begins.

• • •

Q: How many LPGA tournaments will Lexi Thompson, 16, win before she can have a legal beer?

A: At least a six-pack.

• • •

Q: Will career schoolgirl Michelle Wie finally graduate this year?

A: Yes. She is set to finish up at Stanford in March and attend the graduation ceremony in June – unless she flunks her last calculus class or triple bogeys the last hole at the Kraft Nabisco.

• • •

Q: Phil Mickelson, Sandy Lyle, Hollis Stacy, Peter Alliss and Dan Jenkins will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame on May 7. Which will give the most entertaining acceptance speech?

A: Jenkins could spot Alliss one one-liner a side and the others three and still win.

• • •

Q: How many tournaments will Yani Tseng win in 2012?

A: How many are there?

• • •

Q: Seriously, do you think she’s better than Annika Sorenstam was in her prime?

A: It’s a little early for that kind of talk. But Tseng in 2011 did something than Sorenstam never dreamed of: She had six more wins on the LPGA tour than men named Woods, Mickelson, Els, Singh and Goosen had on the PGA Tour.

• • •

Q: When is the next time Steve Williams will disparage Tiger Woods?

A: Does candid dinner talk with friends count?

• • •

Q: Who would win a fight between Woods and Williams?

A: Williams might carry the clubs, but Woods swings them.

• • •

Q: What will make Bubba Watson cry this year?

A: Victory, defeat and anything in between.

• • •

Q: Luke Donald was the leading money winner in America and Europe last year. What will he do for an encore?

A: Win the money titles on the Professional Golf Tour of India and the South African Sunshine Tour. He’d have more, but supposedly his bid to join the LPGA was denied.

• • •

Q: Is Webb Simpson America’s best player?

A: He might be. It depends what version of Tiger Woods shows up and how many times Phil Mickelson went to Five Guys Burgers and Fries over the winter.

• • •

Q: Does every Tour player coming out of Illinois go by the initials D.A., like D.A. Points and D.A. Weibring?

A: No, just every other player.

• • •

Q: Will Ian Poulter stand out this year?

A: Yes, wherever he goes, considering the peacock costumes.

• • •

Q: Who will win the 2012 major championships?

A: Tiger Woods, Masters. Rory McIlroy, U.S. Open. Luke Donald, British Open. Lee Westwood, PGA. Jason Day will bid for the Runner-up Slam.

• • •

Q: Who’s the best player in world?

A: There isn’t one. But chances are the mystery guest will be revealed by mid-August.

• • •

Q: Whatever happened to Darren Clarke?

A: He was last spotted in a 19th hole in Sandwich, England.

• • •

Q: What’s the central question surrounding the 2012 Tour?

A: Whether Woods can handle the kids. Not Sam and Charlie. Rory, Martin, Dustin, Jason and Webb.

• • •

Q: Who will be the breakthrough player of 2012?

A: Sergio Garcia. He’s gone from the abyss to No. 17 in the world and still seems to be climbing. Barring unforeseen girl problems, he’s headed back to a familiar perch.

• • •

Q: How many times will Woods win on the PGA Tour this year?

A: Twice, each time in a playoff against Adam Scott, after which Woods will say, "This is the most satisfying victory of my career."

• • •

Q: Do you like the way Rickie Fowler dresses?

A: Yes, particularly on Halloween.

• • •

Q: Speaking of style, what’s your take on McIlroy’s look?

A: He is certain to be the first Marx brother to make it into the golf hall of fame.

• • •

Q: Do you know anything about world No. 88 George Coetzee?

A: Yes. He used to fight Muhammad Ali.

• • •

Q: What are the three most amazing things you’ve seen in golf?

A: Woods’ broken-leg Open, Jean Van de Velde’s blowup and, of course, the Cristie Kerr makeover.

• • •

Q: Who will be this year’s Webb Simpson to come out of nowhere and shoot into the world top 10?

A: If anyone can foresee that, he should go to Vegas, not golf tournaments.

• • •

Q: Who’s the best Ben in golf these days?

A: Crane. That goes for playing, joking and crawling.

• • •

Q: Will Bubba Watson go back to Paris?

A: Paris, Texas, maybe.

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