Friday, December 27

Tiger's Outlook and a Banner 2013

LOOKING BACK ON 2013, I MUST SAY it was a banner year in golf. I'm talking about the pro game. And I'm talking about on the golf course. There was plenty of drama and controversy off the course, but that's not my focus here.

Tiger Woods (Allison)
Taking the majors, an Australian, Adam Scott, finally won the Masters. An Englishman, Justin Rose, won the U.S. Open for the first time since Tony Jacklin's victory in 1970. Phil Mickelson, a Yank and long-suffering links golfer, won the British Open thanks to a brilliant and inspiring final nine. And Jason Dufner redeemed himself at the PGA Championship, capturing his first major.

Henrik Stenson won both the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup and the European Tour's Race to Dubai, soaring to No. 3 in the world. Take that, slump!

Tiger Woods, meanwhile, returned to No. 1 form, winning five times and doing everything except capture one of the big four. His majors drought has stretched to five years. Tiger will be 38 in three days.

Recently, Woods reflected on his 2013 season and looked ahead to 2014 at TigerWoods.com:
I'm really looking forward to next year. I played well at the end of this year, so it's nice to have some momentum heading into 2014. I thought I was pretty consistent throughout the year, starting off at Torrey Pines and ending on a positive note at Sherwood, where I finished second to Zach. I think my body of work overall for the whole year was pretty good. I also found a new Nike driver, VRS Covert 2.0 Tour, that I'm really excited about. I drove the ball a little further and definitely straighter than I have been all year.

I'm really excited about the major championships next year. I've won at three of the four venues -- Augusta National, Valhalla Golf Club and Royal Liverpool -- and on Pinehurst No. 2 (U.S. Open), I'm trending the right way, having finished third and second. But I still need to practice, work, grind and prepare, and have my game come together those four times a year, and I hope that will happen.
Golf would no doubt benefit if Tiger Woods resumed his chase of Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 professional majors.

Will he?

The women's game doesn't get a lot of attention, but it was also an outstanding year on the LPGA Tour.

Inbee Park won the year's first three majors and a total of six titles. Stacy Lewis also won fairly often and captured the Vare Trophy for low stroke average. And Suzann Pettersen notched four victories and hauled in a boatload of money. In addition, the Europeans romped at the Solheim Cup, their first win in America.

I'd be more than satisfied if 2014 is as great a year in golf as 2013.

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