2011 was certainly a year to remember on the PGA Tour, from Luke Donald's surprising dominance and Rory McIlroy's convincing win at the U.S. Open to Keegan Bradley and Bill Haas having career years. Now that this year is coming to a close, what is in store for 2012? Will Tiger continue to improve or will he regress? How will Luke Donald fare? Here are my top five golf predictions for 2012.
Tiger Woods will win at least two tournaments
After what Woods did at the Australian Open and Chevron World Challenge, I think he is poised to have a very good year in 2012. While he still has some room for improvement (driving accuracy for one), I fully expect him to continue working hard on his game in the offseason and come out on fire at the beginning of the 2012 PGA Tour season. He should win at least two events on the Tour, perhaps even more than that depending on how his golf game develops over the coming months.
Rory McIlroy will win another major
I don't think Rory's win at Congressional Country Club will be his only major win, as he just has too much talent not to win at least a few more before all is said and done with his career. When it comes to 2012, I predict that McIlroy will win at least one major, with his best chance being the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina. It plays like a links course and should provide Rory with a great opportunity to get major number two.
Rickie Fowler will finish in the top 10 in world rankings
Even though he hasn't won on the PGA Tour yet, I am predicting that Fowler will have a big year in 2012. He has the game, the distance, and the experience of having won his first golf tournament at the Korea Open, besting none other than Rory McIlroy by six strokes. 2012 is also the year of the Ryder Cup, so he has something to play for as well. Right now he is 29th in the world rankings, so it won't take very much for him to jump into the top 10 if he has a solid year (which means at least one win on the PGA Tour).
Dustin Johnson will win a major
Dustin Johnson seems to be going through the same situation that Phil Mickelson went through a few years ago; he can't seem to pull away and win his first major for the life of him. 2012 will be his year to win that coveted first major though, at least in my view. He has five PGA Tour wins to his credit, and that experience along with his great distance and improving short game should be able to give him an edge at a place such as Augusta.
Luke Donald will not finish the year at number one
Luke Donald had a great year in 2011 to say the least, but can he do it again in 2012? I am very skeptical that he can, as any golfer knows that it is extremely hard to be consistent in the game for some time. That is not to say that he won't have a decent year (maybe one win), but I expect someone else (Rory McIlroy?) to overtake him at the top of the world rankings. Donald just doesn't have the track record that shows that he can do this well for so long.
Other notables: Gary Woodland having a career year, Adam Scott winning a major, and the U.S. winning the 2012 Ryder Cup.
Ryan Kekoufski is a scratch golfer who has both played and watched the sport for over a decade. He covers sports for the Yahoo! Contributor Network, and currently resides in Virginia.