It was only a few weeks ago that the FedEx Cup was wrapped up by Rory McIlroy who went home with the $15 million winners check, and before we all have time to recover from the tournament we are already looking ahead to the PGA Tour.
It is safe to say that golf has the shortest off season in all sports as some of golf’s most famous faces are back in action next Thursday with the Greenbrier Classic. Here at FansBet as we gear up for the 11 months of golf that lie ahead, we have a look at some questions we have ahead of the new season.
Is it all over for Tiger?
Tiger’s Masters victory back in April was probably one of the highlights of the year not only in golf but in sport in general. But was the win just a beautiful swan song, or can we will hope to see that red shirt and those black pants in contention late on any given Sunday? I will argue yes. I think you would have to be narrow minded to write off arguably the best golfer to every play this game just five months after he won the Masters.
However, Woods is clearly struggling with his injuries. Not only does his back seem to bother him, but he has just had arthroscopic surgery to repair minor cartilage damage in his left knee. However, the world number eight has stated he will be back for the ZOZO Championship in October.
With 15 major titles now under his belt, I believe that Tiger still has a shot at catching Jack Nicklaus’ mark of 18, and would fancy a bet on him winning one of the tournaments in a warmer climate like Augusta for the Masters.
(When) will it end?
Rory might be the reigning Players and FedEx Cup champion, but he is now going into his sixth straight season without a major win. It is crazy that at this point we are coming out of another year where McIlroy wasn’t a major name in any of the majors come Sunday.
With Koepka now tied in the major rankings, McIlroy’s title of best of his generation seems to be disappearing into the sunset. Whilst a Players Championship and the FedEx Cup are all well and good, don’t be fooled as at McIlroy’s level let’s face it, the only thing that really matters is a major.
Will the Koepka reign continue?
With four of the last ten majors played securely placed in his trophy cabinet, there are no longer any doubts that we are living in the Koepka era. In a big season that saw him win three events, claiming his fourth career major championship, Koepka finished on a high as he was named the PGA of America’s player of the year for the second consecutive season.
The question is just how long will the Koepka era last? I can’t see it coming to an end anytime soon and I for one will be shocked if we don’t see him in the mix once again, with another two majors under his belt if not more.
Can he do anything other than putt anymore?
Spieth strokes gained rankings for 2019 says it all:
Tee to green: 157th
After a season where his tee to green numbers would have seen him not keep his card on the Korn Ferry, let alone the PGA Tour. You would guess the three-time major winner will be in the lab trying to get back to the top.
And its important to remember that the previous four seasons he has finished 23rd, second, 25th and fourth in the statistics, so it’s not like he can’t get back there and if the putting stays the same, well look out world.
What about the English?
Rose and Casey won on the PGA tour but all in all it was a disappointing season for the English, with Tommy Fleetwood’s runner up finish at The Open the only time an Englishman even had a sniff at the lead in a major come Sunday.
With Rose slowly getting less competitive in the majors, England needs one or two of the younger guys to step up and claim the throne. Fleetwood is the first name that comes to mind and if I was to make a bold prediction I would say that this upcoming season is his chance to make a name for himself, and I think Tommy will get his major next year.
The 3 headed monster has arrived
Hovland, Morikawa and Wolff will get their first full season on tour. Morrikawa and Wolff have already won, while Hovland can point to a top 15 in a major and a flurry of other top 20 finishes.
I have a suspicion that they will just continue their meteoric rise and while a major is a tough ask in terms of winning, I’m sure we will see some of them in contention in one. Should I set an over/under on how many regular PGA Tour victories the trio will pick up next season I would go with 2.5.
Who will win the majors?
My early doors pick for all four majors:
After a dominant European performance spearheaded by Fleetwood and Molinari in France last year, the Ryder Cup heads back over the pond to Wisconsin and Whistling Straits in late September next year.
The course will no doubt be set up to favour the long hitting Americans and the Europeans must perform a miracle comparable to that at Medinah to retain the Cup. Not only do the Americans have a home advantage, but if we look at the world ranking the gap becomes even clearer with Patrick Reed as their 10th ranked player clocking in at 16th in the rankings while Henrik Stensson is Europe’s 10th highest ranked player in 31st place.
*all odds are subject to change