PGA Tour predictions: Will Tiger Woods win major in 2013? How many titles for Rory McIlroy?
As the calendar turns and we head into 2013, there are plenty of questions that face the golf world.
So the Golfweek staff attacked three prominent ones:
1. Will Tiger Woods win a major in 2013?
Martin Kaufmann (travel editor): Absolutely. At least one. He recently has shown signs of playing like, well, Tiger Woods, and has exorcised that dreadful Web.com Tour demon who had invaded his body.
Julie Williams (assistant editor, Golfweek.com): No. I expect Tiger to win in 2013, but I’ll go so far as to say he might not ever win another major.
Sean Martin (managing editor, Golfweek.com): No. I always bet against a player winning a major in a given year. There's only four of them, so the odds are always in favor of any one player not winning one.
Bradley S. Klein (senior writer): Tiger Woods will come closest to winning a major at The Masters or at Muirfield during the British Open but has no chance of winning at a "small ball" course like Merion during the US Open or a precision second-shot course like Oak Hill during the PGA Championship.
Jeff Rude (senior writer): Yes. The most dominant player of all-time is overdue and should be more prepared to win a major than any time since 2009. He just needs to play the weekends better, which used to be his thing.
Adam Schupak: (senior writer): Yes, Tiger's majorless streak, which now stretches to June 2008 and Torrey Pines, will, mercifully, come to an end. He made enormous strides in gaining confidence in his swing changes in 2012. Most of all, the majors in 2013 are at places that used to be on his bedroom wall. Augusta, of course; but Merion, where Jack Nicklaus lost in a thrilling playoff; Muirfield, where Jack won the British in 1966; and Oak Hill, where The Olden Bear won the PGA Championship in 1980 at age 40. Tiger knows his history, and he's licking his chops to grow his legacy.
Cassie Stein (assistant editor, Golfweek.com): No. Tiger is getting older and older by the day, but the fields are getting better and better, too.
Steve Harmon (director of content): No. Nicklaus' record will endure.
Alistair Tait (senior writer): Probably not. But with this guy, you can never be sure. His putting from inside 10 feet isn't what it was, and that will probably be the difference.
Alex Miceli (senior writer): No. The question for me is will he win another, which is also no. The fields are stronger, and Tiger is getting older. Enough said.
Nick Masuda (director, digital content and innovation): Yes. I believe he gets two major titles this year. Augusta and Muirfield. The way he was striking the ball at the TW Challenge was a sign that his short game was catching up to his long game. That's dangerous.
Brentley Romine (assistant editor, Golfweek.com): No. Aside from Augusta, the other major venues haven't been very generous toward Woods. He might come close, but 2013 will not be the year where Tiger hoists another major crown.
James Achenbach (senior writer): No, he has gone to the dark side of swing over-analysis.
Jason Lusk (director of design): Tiger will win one major.
Jeff Babineau (editor): Yes, Tiger Woods will climb back on the major horse and resume the Great Nicklaus Chase in 2013, but it certainly won't be easy. His best chance, as usual, will be right out of the gates at Augusta National, though mysteriously his dominance there has disappeared (one victory since 2002, none since '05). This year's other major venues aren't quite so Torrey Pines/St. Andrews Tiger-friendly — he shot an 81 and tied for 28th at Muirfield (British Open) in 2002, tied for 60th at Oak Hill (PGA) a decade ago, and never has been to Merion, a short track that won't do any large favors for the big hitters. But his game steadily has become more consistent, and he simply is too good a player to keep off the major board for another full year.
Jim McCabe (senior writer): No. Not unless the Arnold Palmer Invitational becomes a major.
Craig Horan (managing editor): Tiger will add his 15th major, coming at the US Open at Merion.
Gene Yasuda (business editor): Yes. His major-less streak has spanned more than four years, but he has been close to victory on several occasions. Can't imagine anyone wanting — needing — redemption more than Woods, and that will fuel him to get it done in 2013.
2. Will Rory McIlroy win more than six tournaments in 2013?
Kaufmann: Not a chance. He's making an equipment change, and he's apparently in love. That's a recipe for a slump if ever there was one.
Williams: No. I think Rory could win half that many in 2013, and I predict one will be a major.
Klein: Rory Mclroy will not win six events in 2013.
Martin: No. I say four.
Rude: No. Six tournaments? Who's putting that kind of expectation on the kid? In these times, four is a career year.
Schupak: No, Rory won't win six times. Not only that, I'm going to say he doesn't win a major this year. That said, April is a long way off and I respectfully reserve the right to pick him to win the Masters!
Stein: No. I know he denied his engagement, but it seems to be in the media more often than not. He may be getting married sooner than we think.
Harmon: No. Play more than six tournaments? Probably.
Tait: No. With a reduced schedule it's hard to see Rory winning half a dozen events. However, like Tiger, he's so talented he he might just surprise everyone.
Miceli: No. After a WGC and a major, which I think McIlroy could win, he would need four more. Since he will limit his play somewhat, I can't see it.
Masuda: No. I think the kid is good. Very good. But people forget his slump in the middle of the year. He gets tired easily. He'd have to play 22 events or so to get six wins. And that won't happen.
Romine: No. McIlroy has a lot going on in addition to being the top-ranked player in the world. To win six times would be a huge feat. If it happens, though, it will be Rory doing it.
Achenbach: No, three wins would be a good year considering that switching equipment companies historically has been difficult for top golfers.
Lusk: Rory will not win more than six, probably three.
Babineau: No. Winning on any professional tour these days is a difficult task. Winning six or more times? It would take an exceptional season. Yes, McIlroy was on fire late in 2012, but winning six times would mean winning roughly a third of his starts, and that's doubtful to happen. Remember, winning six times or more on the PGA Tour has happened only five times in the past decade, and only one of the five monster seasons belonged to a guy with a surname other than Woods. That would be Vijay Singh, who won nine times in 2004.
McCabe: No. Listening to how tired he is, I'm not sure he'll play in more than six tournaments.
Horan: Rory McIlroy will win in 2013, but don't expect him to reach six victories next year. Two or three W's will be added to his career totals.
Yasuda: No. That's setting the bar too high.
3. Will the PGA Tour and/or European Tour ban anchoring in 2013, ahead of 2016 proposal?
Kaufmann: No, not a chance. These are bureaucracies; they move slowly, deliberately. If anything, they might be inclined to say that 2016 is too early for an anchoring ban, and that they are going to undertake a study (say, five years in length) of the subject that effectively will kick the can further down the road.
Williams: Definitely not. It doesn’t seem like either tour is in any kind of hurry to get rid of anchoring.
Klein: The PGA Tour/European Tour won't make any decision for 2013 but might still make an early decision before the 2016 season, pending an outbreak of criticism by the public and the media of any "anchorers" who win big time this year.
Martin: No. Can't move that quickly on such a momentous decision.
Rude: No. Personally, think they should ban anchoring after the 2016 proposal. Say, like 3016.
Schupak: No. Of these three predictions, I feel most secure in this one, but hope I'm wrong. Being commissioner means making decisions that inevitably are going to upset many of your constituents. Tim Finchem has done a masterful job of building consensus. I don't expect to see him rock the boat. Finchem and USGA executive director Mike Davis likely will have a private meeting early this year — if they haven't already — where the tour grants its full support.
Stein: No. The tours don't want it as it is, so the three years that it takes to implement it will stick.
Harmon: No. The tours didn't start this fight, but they're caught in the middle of it.
Tait: No way. The tours will toe the line, as they've done for years. It has been 30 years since the Euro Tour made an exception to the Rules of Golf, when it briefly allowed the repair of spike marks in the early 1980s.
Miceli: No. Like the NRA, the rallying cry for some on the PGA Tour will be "I will give up my belly putter when they pry it from my cold dead hands." Do you really think Tim Finchem and the crew in Ponte Vedra want to really force this issue prematurely?
Masuda: Yes. I believe the PGA Tour knows that waiting until 2016 will do no one any good. Time to pull off the Band-Aid and just adopt the rule for the 2013-14 season, which begins in October.
Romine: No, although we could see players making the switch on their own throughout the season.
Achenbach: No, all the professional tours will stick with the USGA and R&A timetable.
Lusk: Anchoring will not be banned early.
Babineau: Players who have used these wands for most of their careers are shellshocked enough, and the PGA Tour would not be wise to pile on and take away the mid-length and broomstick "anchoring" utensils earlier than prescribed. It might not be such an issue on the Euro Tour, where fewer players anchor, but such an early ban might spark an uprising on the Champions Tour.
McCabe: No. As in no way! The tours don't want to ban anchoring at all, never mind now.
Horan: Neither tour will ban anchoring ahead of the 2016 proposal. However, I expect both tours to follow the USGA/R&A lead and eventually ban anchoring.
Yasuda: No. Governing and managing an increasingly global game is challenging enough without having individual entities strike out on their own. Uniformity is paramount, especially considering players frequently hop from continent to continent these days.