True to form, the season is rounding out nicely. Many tournaments this year have gone to playoffs. We have had a host of big names playing their best golf at the right time. Wins from guys like Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, and Jimmy Walker have headlined a great start to the year. But now, it’s time for the best week of golf.

Every year, that week is The Masters. It’s a our reminder that Spring is upon us and that our days of golf with friends and family are nearing. I think I speak for LG here in saying that our favorite post of anything we do is the one you’re about to read.

In commemoration, here is our 5th year of Predictions: I give you our Masters Predictions 2015:

updates 4/12/2015 :
Top 10 Leaderboard:
1 Jordan Spieth -18
T2 Phil Mickelson -14
T2 Justin Rose -14
4 Rory McIlroy -12
5 Hideki Matsuyama -11
T6 Ian Poulter -9
T6 Paul Casey -9
T6 Dustin Johnson -9
T9 Hunter Mahan -8
T9 Zach Johnson -8
T9 Charley Hoffman -8
T12 Rickie Fowler -6
T12 Ryan Moore -6
T12 Bill Haas -6

JK:
Winner: Jason Day T28 at -1. Correct is Jordan Spieth
Winning Score: -12 -18
Runner Up: Rory McIlroy Solo 4 at -12. Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose were T2 at -14
Low Amateur: Byron Meth Corey Conners shot 80-69 to MC best at 149. Meth shot 74-76 for a 150, 1 shot off
“Unknown” in the Top 10: Brian Harman MC with 76-72. There really wasn’t a true “unknown” in the top10. Maybe Matsuyama, but he’s big in Japan. Hoffman has been known for awhile. The nearest thing to a true “unknown” near the top10 was Kevin Streelman, but even he has some cache to his name.
Most difficult hole vs. par? 4 (i usually pick 11, but let’s mix it up) 11 at +.326, but 4 was +.296 for second most difficult
Easiest hole vs. par? 13 yeah, always is
Last Year’s Winner (Bubba Watson) Will … (Win, Top10, Make the Cut, or Miss the Cut)? Make the cut correct
How many prior Masters winners will be in the Top 10? 4 2, Phil Mickelson and Zach Johnson
US Open Champion (Martin Kaymer) will …? Make the cut MC
British Open Champion (Rory McIlroy) will …? Top10 Correct, solo 4 at -12
PGA Champion will … oh yeah, we don’t need to ask what Rory’s going to do again…
When will Sergio Garcia implode? the day he steps off the plane Friday, shooting 74, but otherwise played great and finished T17 at -5
Dustin Johnson will…? close to the Top10 T6 at -9
Rickie Fowler will…? make the cut Correct, but just barely–he was two shots from T9. Instead, he finished T12 at -6.
Jordan Spieth will…? make the cut yea…sort of….he killed it!
Jimmy Walker will…? make the cut Correct. T38 at +1
Tiger will? Top10…specifically T-4 close. T17 at -5.
Phil Mickelson will? Top10 Correct
Ben Crenshaw, Larry Mize, and Sandy Lyle. Who wins? Crenshaw, in his last year of playing, shoots the low round of the triad, and misses the cut by 4 shots. crenshaw shot the worst scores in the field–91-85. Yikes.
What will be the major storyline of the tournament? TIGA TIGA TIGA WOODS, Y’ALL That was big, but bigger was how Spieth demolished the field
What is your Bold prediction? Tiger Woods plays tremendous golf but misses easy putts all day. Rory makes a push for the title but can’t get over his duck hook from a few years ago and puts two in the water on 15. Jason Day does just enough to keep it in play and putt to hold on by 1, finally getting his major. would have been fun if this had happened, but it was still awesome watching Spieth annihilate the record books.

LG:
Winner: Sergio Garcia T17.
Winning Score: -9 Try double that
Runner Up: Rickie Fowler T12
Low Amateur: Gunn Yang This would be the correct answer to the question “who shot the third worst round in the entire field?
“Unknown” in the Top 10: Anirban Lahiri T49
Most difficult hole vs. par? 11 yeah
Easiest hole vs. par? 13 yeah
Last Year’s Winner (Bubba Watson) Will … (Win, Top10, Make the Cut, or Miss the Cut)? Top 10 nope. T38 at +1
How many prior Masters winners will be in the Top 10? 2 correct
US Open Champion (Martin Kaymer) will …? Miss Cut correct
British Open Champion (Rory McIlroy) will …? Top 10 correct
When will Sergio Garcia implode? In the press room after he wins :)uhm…
Dustin Johnson will…? Top 10 Correct. T6
Rickie Fowler will…? Runner Upnot exactly
Jordan Spieth will…? Make Cut lol. yeah.
Jimmy Walker will…? Make Cut correct
Tiger will? Play. he did a lot more than that
Phil Mickelson will? Make Cut so did he
Ben Crenshaw, Larry Mize, and Sandy Lyle. Who wins? Crenshaw – he already called it his last one. by crenshaw not returning, i think we all win
What will be the major storyline of the tournament? Sergio’s putting holds up to win him his first Major uhm
What is your Bold prediction? Sergio wins isn’t a bold enough prediction?  Fine, Sergio’s redeeming win is overshadowed by Golf Channel following Tiger to the port-a-john when he has gas.OH NO! HE BREATHED WRONG! IS HE INJURED?!?!?!?!?!
LG will…? Be attending the Masters on Wednesday and Thursday :) :) :) :) you suck

JK, I think we need to mix up the questions next year.

Also, see our history of prior years’ predictions:
2014: http://thepowerfade.com/2014/04/07/predictions-masters-2014/
2013: http://thepowerfade.com/2013/04/08/masters-predictions-2013/
2012: http://thepowerfade.com/2012/04/10/predictions-masters-2012/
2011: http://thepowerfade.com/2011/04/11/conversation-masters-predictions/

Frys.com Open
LG: “Meet the newest first time winner on tour” I have a soft spot for this tournament because it was the first TOUR event I ever attended outside of the Presidents Cup.  However, since it moved from CordeValle, not sure I care that much.
JK: “Rocco Mediate, 4 hole-out eagles in one tournament (one of them an ace), and he wins by one. That should tell you all you need to know.”

PGA Grand Slam of Golf
LG: “hardest tournament to get into, but even if you do, no one’s watching”
JK: “Seriously? We’re talking about this?”

Shriners Hospitals for Children Open (TPC Summerlin)
LG: “the PGA TOUR teaches you how to play hungover”
JK: “It’s like I’m a mirror; I’m bringing sexy back. But I need to get iN SYNC with what goes around. Catch my drift?”

The McGladrey Classic (Sea Island)
LG: “Unreal course, but I’m still not watching”
JK: “The McNoName FTW.”

CIMB Classic (Kuala Lumpur)
LG: “I thought this was a European tour event”
JK: “aka no television coverage during the hours we watch golf.”

Sanderson Farms Championship (Jackson, MS)
LG: LG’s Dad: “that course looks like crap on TV”
JK: “The White Supremacist Tour stop”

WGC – HSBC Champions (Shanghai)
LG: “Rory’s playing? I’ll watch”
JK: “Look, Rory is going to win if it’s in Dubai or Shanghai. Just give him the trophy and let’s move on.”

OHL Classic at Mayakoba
LG: “I think they played the big break there once?”
JK: “WTF is OHL? I thought this was an LPGA major?”

Hero World Challenge
LG: “18 man field? Hard to call this a TOUR event, but worth watching”
JK: “TIGER’S TOURNAMENT (that Zach Johnson wins most of the time).”

Franklin Templeton Shootout
LG: “pretty sure I’ve never watched this”
JK: “hey, guys…our tournament is crap. How can be create more buzz? OH, I KNOW! Let’s call it a ‘shootout’ instead of ‘championship.'”

Hyundai Tournament of Champions (Kapalua)
LG: “one of the most fun tournaments of the year to watch”
JK: “400 yard drives and ridiculous winds make this one of the most fun events of the year, if you can manage to catch one of the rare times it’s televised.”

Sony Open in Hawaii
LG: “golf porn for midwesterners/anyone that doesn’t live in CA”
JK: “it’s like a preview of a retirement community in florida, but with PGA Tour-level golf being played. BOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRINNNNNG”

Humana Challenge (PGA West)
LG: “over under on -22 to win?”
JK: “I can’t believe that guy shot that number on that course. un-freaking-believable. These guys really are good”

Waste Management Phoenix Open (TPC Scottsdale)
LG: “Frat party, meet golf”
JK: “Nothing says booze like Charlie Hoffman and a frat party. Allllllll-right!”

Farmers Insurance Open (Torrey Pines)
LG: “Tiger’s first win of the year”
JK: “Hey, let’s randomly play one round on this really easy course right next to the US Open venue. That’ll be fun!”

AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
LG: “golf porn for everyone everywhere all the time ever”
JK: “still not exactly sure how this tournament works, but a guy wins it every year.”

Northern Trust Open (Riviera)
LG: “JK, when are we going to play Riviera?? Also, Fred Couples is on TV again, and hey, there’s a video of Ben Hogan”
JK: “‘LG, can’t you get us on at Riviera?’ is stated every. single. year.”

The Honda Classic (PGA National)
LG: “first tournament of the year where you know there’s going to be a lot of big names jammed at the top”
JK: “I keep waiting for one of the NBC announcers to slip up and say ‘WELCOME, TO AMERICA’S WANG!'”

Puerto Rico Open
LG: “Hey, I thought they were playing in Florida this week?”
JK: “You’re so B-string on this TOUR that you have to go to another country to play a US event. That should tell you something. (well, I guess it is a US Territory, but still…it aint a 50 state…)”

WGC – Cadillac Championship (Doral)
LG: “fewest water balls wins”
JK: “Look, Donald Trump is going to inject his faux hair into golf at some point. Let’s just make it here, before the season gets going, and then we’ll be good.”

Valspar Championship (Innisbrook)
LG: “let’s see if we can make up another stupid name for a set of three hard holes”
JK: “How many commercials can you sit through about paint? Readddyyy….go!”

Arnold Palmer Invitational (Bay Hill)
LG: “Tiger’s second win of the year…Also, an amazing venue and fun tournament to watch”
JK: “Wish LG didn’t talk about Tiger so damn much. Oh, wait, it’s Arnold Palmer handing a trophy to Tiger Woods…that’s pretty cool.”

Valero Texas Open
LG: “uhhh… not sure who to pick for fantasy golf for this one”
JK: “Alright amateurs….here’s your chance!”

Shell Houston Open
LG: “I love that this tournament basically admits that people only care about the Masters next week”
JK: “If you missed last week, here’s your chance again!”

The Masters
LG: “Best week of the year”
JK: “I have no words for how happy I am right now.”

RBC Heritage (Harbour Town)
LG: “I’m still talking about how awesome the Masters was this year”  This tournament should be moved to attract a better field because this venue is amazing and somewhat unique for the TOUR.
JK: “Jim Furyk’s revenge. I’m with LG–this is a neat venue. I wish it was more isolated from the big tournaments.”

Zurich Classic of New Orleans
LG: “Meet the second/third first time winner of the year”
JK: “Bubba and a bunch of guys you’ve never heard of. Guess who’s gunna win?”

WGC – Match Play
LG: “One of the coolest tournaments of the year… Also, one of the best gambling opportunities of the year for golf fans”
JK: “Cool to review on ESPN. Horrible to watch in real time.”

The Players (TPC Sawgrass)
LG: “Pete Dye abuses the PGA TOUR – no one wins this tournament”
JK: “THE MOST DIFFICULT PAR 3 ON TOUR! NO, SERIOUSLY, WE’RE GOING TO TELL YOU THIS 1 MILLION TIMES UNTIL YOU BELIEVE IT. (btw, it’s not)”

Wells Fargo Championship (Quail Hollow)
LG: “I’m still reeling from the Players”
JK: “F – U Wells Fargo!”

Crown Plaza Invitational at Colonial
LG: “Cool venue, but im probably not going to watch the weekend unless Rory or Tiger are in contention”
JK: “Fun to watch how much Zach Johnson’s swing looks like Ben Hogan’s in still frame and how diametrically opposed Zach Johnson’s game is from Ben Hogan’s.”

AT&T Byron Nelson Championship
LG: “An “important” tournament, but same answer as Colonial”
JK: “Too bad this has become what it is. They never would’ve let it be like this while Byron was alive. Makes you wonder what will happen for Arnie’s and Jack’s when they pass on.”

The Memorial
LG: “Jack’s place – also pretty much the only reason to go to Ohio ever”
JK: “Incredible golf course. Amazing field. Not worth watching until Sunday.”

FedEx St. Jude Classic
LG: “I’m running out of clever ways to say that someone new wins this tournament”
JK: “Robert. Garrigus.”

U.S. Open
LG: “Golf is hard”
JK: “I hate the USGA.”

Travelers Championship
LG: “I’m not even sure I can watch golf after the U.S. Open”
JK: “this is a tournament?”

CVS Caremark Charity Classic
LG: “I didn’t know there was a tour event in Rhode Island!!”
JK: “can we watch something else besides golf right now?”

The Greenbrier Classic
LG: “Tom Watson comes to mind for some reason”
JK: “Who can get out of West Virginia the fastest. GO!”

John Deere Classic
LG: “Steve Stricker teaches the TOUR how to putt”
JK: “-27 finishes second here.”

Barbasol Championship (RTJ Grand National)
LG: “Like the name of its sponsor, this tournament is taking a back seat to the premium product”
JK: “BARBASOL! BARBASOL! BARBASOL!”

The Open Championship
LG: “Golf isn’t fair, but damn it’s fun”
JK: “Let’s let the weather decide who’s going to win one of the four most important tournaments of the year.”

RBC Canadian Open
LG: “Tiger hit a crazy good 6 iron here once”
JK: “It’s Peter LeFleur.”

Quicken Loans National
LG: “I think there’s one more major left this year?”
JK: “TIGER’S TOURNAMENT. Wait, wasn’t that the thing at Sherwood? Why does Tiger have two tournaments?”

Barracuda Championship
LG: “Seriously, I thought there was another major??”
JK: “PGA meets Web.com Tour”

WGC – Bridgestone
LG: “Tiger’s third win of the year – I’m actually surprised when he doesn’t win this one”
JK: “Tiger emerges from the ashes of injury and self-denial to lap the field, shooting -20 to the next best score of +9″

PGA Championship
LG: “It’s a major…I’m watching.”
JK: “The most boring major in golf…except all five LPGA majors.”

Wyndham Championship
LG: “Arjun Atwal won this tournament once”
JK: “go watch football”

The Barclays
LG: “THE PLAYOFFS!”
JK: “sweet tournament. Fun field.”

Deutsche Bank Championship
LG: “I still don’t understand the point system…”
JK: “boston. the most confusing tournament of the year.”

BMW Championship
LG: “Steve Sands spends an inordinate amount of time going through various scenarios about who can win the FedEx Cup”
JK: “Look, if you finish well here, you’re awesome.”

The TOUR Championship (East Lake)
LG: “Screw it, whoever wins wins it all” (Also, classic venue and great tournament)
JK: “oh, shit. golf is almost over. Hey, I put 3 balls in that lake on the sixth hole, remember LG?”

Conversation: US Open Venues

February 12, 2015

The US Open. Golf’s hardest test. Every year, the USGA sets out to create a venue that is so difficult that it tests the minds and patience of the greatest players in the game. According to the USGA, the goal “isn’t to embarrass the best players in the world.”

“It’s to identify them.”

Now, many golfers and golf fans have differing definitions of what’s the “best.” Everyone’s definition of what’s “best” is subjective. But “best,” at least in the context of America’s National Championship of Golf, can at least partially be quantified by how difficult the golf course is. So we here at the PF got thinking–what is the “best” (read, “hardest”) venue for the US Open?

Since the 1940s, the US Open’s winner shot +7 four times. But three of those events were in the 1950s, and the last one (the massacre of 1974) led the USGA to the conclusion that the course really was just too hard. (see http://sports.espn.go.com/golf/usopen06/news/story?id=2475245). Because of this, we use 1974 as the cut line for “modern” golf, as it represents a place where the focus of the USGA shifted just a bit, but enough to matter.

Importantly, the venues that hosted these high-numbered events (Merion, Oakland Hills, Olympic Club, and Winged Foot) have all seen US Opens since (Oakland Hills and Merion actually saw higher numbers in 1924 (+9, Oakland Hills) and 1934 (+13, Merion), but those were considered by the PF to be too old to include).

Since Hale Irwin’s win in the 1974 US Open at Winged Foot, there have been six US Opens where the winner had a score greater than even par. Those were
1975 – Medinah (Lou Graham, +3)
1978 – Cherry Hills (Andy North, +1)
2006 – Winged Foot (Goeff Ogilvy, +5)
2007 – Oakmont (Angel Cabrera, +5)
2012 – Olympic Club (Webb Simpson, +1)
2013 – Merion (Justin Rose, +1)

There have also been five instances where the winner’s score was E
1979 – Inverness (Hale Irwin)
1995 – Shinnecock Hills (Corey Pavin)
1998 – Olympic Club (Lee Janzen)
2005 – Pinehurst (Michael Campbell)
2010 – Pebble Beach (Graeme McDowell)

When reviewing the list of courses, several obvious ones jump out. Oakmont, being consistently known as a punishing layout, and Merion, recent site of the 2013 US Open that tested some of the best that showcased how a “short” (by TOUR standards) course could still be incredibly punishing. But it also bears mentioning that Olympic Club made both lists.

So, we looked back at some of these courses to see their history.

Medinah hosted twice since 1974 (just once before)
1990 – Hale Irwin, -8
1975 – Lou Graham, +3

Cherry Hills had only the one US Open in 1978 (twice before 1974)
1978 – Andy North, +1

Winged Foot hosted the 1974 massacre, and then once since, but notably has also hosted the PGA Championship (e.g., when DL III won his only major)
1984 – Fuzzy Zoeller, -4

Oakmont hosted the US Open 3 times since 1974 (and four times prior).
2007 – Angel Cabrera, +5
1994 – Ernie Els, -5
1983 – Larry Nelson, -4

Olympic Club has hosted 3 US Opens since 1974 (and twice before)
2012 – Webb Simpson, +1
1998 – Lee Janzen, E
1987 – Scott Simpson, -3

Merion hosted just two events since 1974 (although one of the three prior Merion US Opens included Ben Hogan’s famous 1-iron shot from the 18th fairway, which secured him a victory at +7)
2013 – Justin Rose, +1
1981 – David Graham, -7

of the “E” courses……
Inverness just had the one

Shinnecock has had 3
2004 – Retief Goosen, -4
1995 – Corey Paven, E
1986 – Raymond Floyd, -1

Olympic has already been covered

Pinehurst has hosted three times, but under grandly different course circumstances for each of the three, with MAJOR redesigns between all of them.
2014 – Martin Kaymer, -9
2005 – Michael Campbell, E

Pebble Beach
2010 – Graeme McDowell, E
2000 – Tiger Woods, -12
1992 – Tom Kite, -3
1982 – Tom Watson, -6

So, based on scoring alone…..there’s really no winner. All of the courses mentioned have had hard Opens and relatively easier Opens.

But winning score really can’t be used as a measure of how difficult the course was. For example, when Martin Kaymer won at Pinehurst, the only two other players under par were both at -1, and the next best player was at +1. In another example, Tiger Woods shot -12 at the US Open in 2000, but no other player was better than +3. And, it would be rather unfair to judge the 2000 US Open by Tiger’s (at the time) scoring record-breaking performance–literally the best golfer in the game playing the best golf of his career at the best time of his career.

Instead of looking at winning scores (which seem to be all over the board), let’s look at scoring average, as this more closely matches what would be an appropriate measure of difficulty.

Shockingly, the scoring average for US Opens is not an easily achievable statistic. For what we were able to find, the list is included below:

and, for the sake of preserving the data, it’s included in quote below

Year | Name | Course | Location | Average | Par | +/-
2014 | Martin Kaymer | Pinehurst Resort, Course No. 2 | Pinehurst, North Carolina | 73.23 | 70 | 3.23
2013 | Justin Rose | Merion Golf Club, East Course | Ardmore, Pennsylvania | 74.31 | 70 | 4.31
2012 | Webb Simpson | Olympic Club, Lake Course | San Francisco, California | 73.85 | 70 | 3.847
2011 | Rory McIlroy | Congressional Country Club, Blue Course | Bethesda, Maryland | 73.00 | 71 | 2.002
2010 | Graeme McDowell | Pebble Beach Golf Links | Pebble Beach, California | 74.98 | 71 | 3.979
2009 | Lucas Glover | Bethpage State Park, Black Course | Farmingdale, New York[N 1] | 72.93 | 70 | 2.9286
2008 | Tiger Woods (3) | Torrey Pines Golf Course, South Course | La Jolla, California[N 2] | 74.73 | 71 | 3.725
2007 | Ángel Cabrera | Oakmont Country Club | Oakmont, Pennsylvania | 75.72 | 70 | 5.72
2006 | Geoff Ogilvy | Winged Foot Golf Club, West Course | Mamaroneck, New York | 75.98 1st round | 76.933 2nd day | |

When we examine the data available (and, I’ll admit, there isn’t much), Oakmont is far and away the most difficult course of the last 8 years. 2006 would be a great one to compare to 2007, but we don’t have enough data. Merion would be next at +4.31, and (as that round is in pretty recent memory) the players indicated as such during the tournament, with many complaining that it was “unfair.” By the numbers, Pebble Beach was harder in 2010 than Olympic Club in 2012–and, even with Tiger’s incredible performance in 2000, my guess would be that the numbers would support the 2000 US Open as being harder than the 2010 US Open.

However, just on gut, I personally have always believed that Oakmont is the quintessential US Open venue. It’s insanely long even by TOUR standards, has punishingly difficult hills, has insanely undulating and fast greens, and insanely long rough. And–according to the data–the numbers bear it out.

Any thoughts from our readers? LG?

January 12, 2011.

That’s when ThePowerFade posted this article debating a topic that was much talked about at the time. The topic, like so often is the case with the world of golf, revolved around Tiger Woods. At the time, Tiger was just a few years removed from the man-on-a-mission-and-a-bum-knee victory at the 2008 US Open. He had had temporary setbacks, but nothing indicated long-term that Tiger would face the kind of recurring injury and failure to “put it together” that he’s seen over the last four years. At the time, Tiger–just four shy of Jack–was in position still to catch Jack–at least, that’s what LG and I argued.

But four years did pass. In those four years, Tiger has had some tremendous runs. He first ditched Haney, went with Sean Foley, then ditched Foley. He had 5 wins in 2013, two of which were WGC championships, was #1 on the money list, and regained the world #1 ranking. To be sure, he still has the ability to beat the best.

Which is what makes this topic all too frustrating. Tiger’s measure of his own success has been and always will be how he stacks up in majors. Sure, he is proud of having won 79 of his 316 TOUR starts (That’s winning 25%, or one out of every four tournaments he’s entered). But the injuries that took him out of most of 2014 and are now creeping back up in 2015–plus his seeming inability to turn it on when he needs to in major championships–has us revisiting this question: will Tiger catch Jack?

And, at this point, I think the answer has changed to “no” for the same reason that it was a “yes” in 2011. Math.

Tiger Woods is now 39 years old. If he stays in good shape, he has 7-8 more good years of competitive golf left (look at Mickelson, who still competes at 44). But that assumes he won’t be hurt, and, as I type this, Tiger has just pulled out of the Farmer’s Open at Torrey Pines (one of his favorite venues–and, ironically, site of that 2008 US Open where it all started). However, even if Tiger Woods were to have a full 8 years on the Tour, he’d only have 32 major opportunities left in which to achieve 4 major victories (to tie) or 5 major victories (to overtake). That means Tiger has to win 1/8 (once every two years) to tie, and has to do better to overtake. Now, in 2011, I said “if he just wins twice in three years, he’ll overtake Jack by 2016.” Well, it’s the start of 2015, and Tiger has hardly sniffed a major championship since I wrote that in 2011 (two T4s in The Masters (2011/2013) and a T3 and T6 at The British Open (2012/2013), but he wasn’t really in contention in either). The other caveat is that, when making those projections in 2011, that was a “likely case” scenario, with potential other scenarios in which Tiger could overtake Jack. With this analysis, this is the ONLY way Tiger could do it.

And, frankly, the talent out there with Tiger is better these days. Rory McIlroy seems to just find grooves sometimes where he’s an unstoppable force (and, other grooves where he can’t find the face of the club, but let’s not focus on that now). Aside from him, unfocused Dustin Johnson has enough talent to win a major without trying. Bubba Watson is a double Masters champion in just a few years, and seems like he’s figured out something about Augusta that no one else has. Martin Kaymer can obliterate a field of the best of the world when his game is buttoned up. And, then there’s Mickelson, who just never seems to go away. Throw in all the other players who have a ton of potential and are just waiting in the wings to pick up their first majors (e.g., Rickie Fowler, Jordan Speith, Kuchar, Gary Woodland, Patrick Reed, Ryan Moore, Sergio Garcia, et. al) and the guys who have won majors and could easily threaten for another (e.g., Justin Rose, Oosthuizen, Dufner, Charl Schwartzel, etc.), and Tiger’s competition just seems to get better and better.

At this point, I certainly hope I’m wrong. Golf needs Tiger to come back and dominate. But, I really don’t think I am. In early 2015, it’s time to call a spade a spade. Tiger will not break Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 major wins.

In typical PF fashion these days, LG is off gallivanting around playing golf somewhere while JK works his craft. We are sorry we haven’t been able to provide you, our readership, with a consistent stream of valued content. Nonetheless, our ever-popular Predictions series carries on with the year’s final major, the PGA Championship at Valhalla. It’s been 14 years since Tiger and Bob May famously dueled in perhaps the greatest display of golf skill in history. If you’ve got a spare … well, who cares how long it takes, it’s worth it:

Check out 6:30 to 8:10 in Part 1, especially:


ACTUAL SCORES (updated 8/10)
1 Rory McIlroy -16
2 Phil Mickelson -15
T3 Henrik Stenson -14
T3 Rickie Fowler -14
T5 Jim Furyk -12
T5 Ryan Palmer -12
T7 Jimmy Walker -11
T7 Ernie Els -11
T7 Victor Dubuisson -11
T7 Hunter Mahan -11
T7 Steve Stricker -11

JK:
Winner: Sergio Garcia (T36 at -3. Correct: Rory McIlroy)
Winning Score: -8 (-16)
Runner Up: Ricky Fowler (T3–close; Phil Mickelson)
Low PGA Professional: Rod Perry (all MC, low was Jamie Broce at +3)
“Unknown” in the Top 10: Roberto Castro (MC. Mikko Ilonen was correct)
Last Year’s Winner (Dufner) Will … (Win, Top10, Make the Cut, or Miss the Cut): Top 10. He likes this event (WD)
The Master’s Winner (Bubba) Will: MC. Dude’s too flaky. (T65 at +3)
The US Open Winner (Kaymer) Will: Make the cut (MC)
The Open Champion (Rors) Will: Top 10 (Winning is Top 10…right?)
How many prior PGA Championship winners will be in the Top 10: 2 (correct: Mickelson and McIlroy)
Will someone win it, or will everyone else lose it? Sergio fires another round in the 20s to take it. (not exactly)
What will be the biggest story of the tournament? Tiger WD, and thousands of references to Tiger/Bob May (a lot about Tiger, but it was really about Boy Wonder)
Tiger Woods will: WD. Back issues (close. lots of grimmacing and +6 MC)
Zach Johnson will: Top 10. This course sets up well for him. (T70 at +5)
Steve Stricker will: Make the cut. He just can’t get over it. (Top10, T7 at -11)
Dustin Johnson will: Share a coke with Paulina (sorry, this is just a holdover from last year’s, but it’s too funny to leave out)
Who is most likely to “Jim Furyk” it? Jim Furyk (final round 66, he did nothing of the sort. Stenson, Fowler, and Mickelson all bogeyed, so any of them I guess)

LG:
Winner: Sergio Garcia (First time in the history of the PF that JK and I pick the same player not named Tiger to win) (still no)
Winning Score: -14 (close…-16)
Runner Up: Rory McIlroy (close….he won. Two years in a row for LG)
Low PGA Professional: Stuart Deane (no, see above)
“Unknown” in the Top 10: Daniel Summerhays (t33 at -4)
Last Year’s Winner (Dufner) Will … (Win, Top10, Make the Cut, or Miss the Cut): Make Cut (WD)
The Master’s Winner (Bubba) Will: Make Cut (Make Cut)
The US Open Winner (Kaymer) Will: Make Cut (MC)
The Open Champion (Rors) Will: Runner Up (close)
How many prior PGA Championship winners will be in the Top 10: 2 (correct)
Will someone win it, or will everyone else lose it? Sergio takes it.  Redemption. (we all wish)
What will be the biggest story of the tournament? Sergio’s first major (nope)
Tiger Woods will: Top 10 (MC +6)
Zach Johnson will: miss cut (…and hopefully throw that hideous putter into a lake) (nope)
Steve Stricker will: Make cut (Top10)
Dustin Johnson will: give no …um… thoughts… about this tournament at all. (probably)
Who is most likely to “Jim Furyk” it? No one.  Sergio’s day has come. (not exactly)

It’s time for the playing of one of greatest and oldest championships of all time – the Open Championship.  Known in the states as the British Open, the Open Championship was first played on October 17, 1860 at Prestwick in Scotland. The inaugural tournament was restricted to professionals and attracted a field of eight golfers who played three rounds of Prestwick’s twelve-hole course in a single day.

This year’s contest will take place at the site of Tiger’s last Open victory in 2006 – Royal Liverpool, more commonly known as Hoylake.  Often called one of the greatest displays of iron play in the history of the game, Tiger’s two-shot victory (-18) over Chris Demarco (-16) on the baked-out links involved him hitting driver once and not hitting a single one of Hoylake’s notoriously penal bunkers all week!  The PowerFade is excited for Tiger’s return to Hoylake, but our picks may suggest a different outcome that TW taking a swig from the Claret Jug.  On to the picks!

ACTUAL (updated 8/11/2014)
1 -17 MCILROY, Rory
T2 -15 GARCIA, Sergio
T2 -15 FOWLER, Rickie
4 -13 FURYK, Jim
T5 -12 LEISHMAN, Marc
T5 -12 SCOTT, Adam
T7 -11 SCHWARTZEL, Charl
T7 -11 MOLINARI, Edoardo
T9 -10 LOWRY, Shane
T9 -10 MCDOWELL, Graeme
T9 -10 DUBUISSON, Victor

LG:
WIN: Miguel Angel Jimenez (MC)
PLACE: Rory McIlroy (Win -17)
SHOW: Tiger Woods (solo 69th, +6)
Winning Score: -8 (-17!)
“Unknown” in the Top 10: Kevin Streelman.  Seriously. (T54, +2. Marc Leishman or Shane Lowry were the choices)
Last Year’s Winner (Phil) Will … (Win, Top 10, Make the Cut, or Miss the Cut): Miss Cut (T23, -5)
The Master’s Winner (Bubba) Will …: Miss (Correct)
The US Open Winner (Kaymer) Will …: Make cut (correct, solo 70th at +8)
The current PGA Champion (Duf) will …: Miss (T51, +1)
How many prior winners will be in the Top 10: 1 (0)
Will someone win it, or will everyone else lose it? MAJ takes it in a playoff with Rors. (Rory won it. played great)
What will be the biggest story of the tournament? Rory breaks the Major scoring record of 63, but posts an 80 to bring the field back.  Surges on the weekend to come up short.  Takes away a lot of positives from the experience. (close, but no)
Who is most likely to “Sergio Garcia at Carnoustie” it?  No one. (correct. no one yakked)
Will you watch on Sunday? Yes. (?)
Tiger Woods will: Top 10 (guessing 3rd, but two strokes back) (incorrect. wildly incorrect)
Sergio Garcia will: Top 10 (correct – T2 at -15)
Dustin Johnson will: Make (correct, T12 at -9)
Jason Day will: Make (correct, T58 at +3)
Jordan Speith will: Miss (incorrect, T36 at -2)
Rory McIlroy will: Second. (almost)

JK:
WIN: Justin Rose (T23 at -5)
PLACE: Jonas Blixt (MC)
SHOW: Matt Kuchar (T54 at +2)
Winning Score: -1 (-17)
“Unknown” in the Top 10: Yasaku Miyazato (MC)
Last Year’s Winner (Phil) Will … (Win, Top 10, Make the Cut, or Miss the Cut): Make cut, probably just outside the top 10 (correct, T23)
The Master’s Winner (Bubba) Will …: MC (Correct)
The US Open Winner (Kaymer) Will …: Make cut (Correct)
The current PGA Champion (Duf) will …: MC…dude is having some real short game issues right now (Incorrect)
How many prior winners will be in the Top 10: 0 (correct)
Will someone win it, or will everyone else lose it? J Rose plays consistently all week while everyone else folds under the pressure (incorrect)
What will be the biggest story of the tournament? uh, basically the same as LG–Rory goes nuts and then yaks all over the place (close)
Who is most likely to “Sergio Garcia at Carnoustie” it?  Sergio Garcia (no, he played tremendously)
Will you watch on Sunday? unlikely. i’ll be driving home from waygus (watched a little)
Tiger Woods will: Make the cut, but barely (correct, with incredible precision)
Sergio Garcia will: Make the cut (T2…much better than making the cut)
Dustin Johnson will: Make the cut (correct, just outside top 10)
Jason Day will: Top 10 (nope. Thumb injuries).
Jordan Speith will: Top 10 (incorrect, T36)
Rory McIlroy will: outside Top 10, but make the cut (sure…)

Update 6/16/2014
Great job by Martin Kaymer in successfully making out national championship a boring event. Top 10 Included below:
1 KAYMER,Martin -9
T2 COMPTON,Erik -1
T2 FOWLER,Rickie -1
T4 BRADLEY,Keegan 1
T4 DAY,Jason 1
T4 KOEPKA,Brooks 1
T4 JOHNSON,Dustin 1
T4 STENSON,Henrik 1
T9 SCOTT,Adam 2
T9 WALKER,Jimmy 2
T9 SNEDEKER,Brandt 2

It’s that time again. It’s hell week. It’s our national championship, the ultimate test of golf, this year returning to Pinehurst #2, site of Payne Stewart’s victory in 1999. A lot of hype surrounds Phil Mickelson due to his runner-up finish at the last Pinehurst Open AND his runner-up finish at last year’s US Open. There will be plenty to talk about, of course, as with any major championship. Lo and behold, LG and I need to make our picks. With about as much certainty as we always have, here are our picks (it should be noted that JK and LG have $100 on Spieth vs. McIlroy):

JK:
Winner: Jordan Spieth Kaymer. Spieth T17
Winning Score: E -9
Runner Up: Billy Horschel correct answer: Fowler and Erik Compton. Horschel T23 at +6
Low Amateur: Oliver Goss MC
“Unknown” in the Top 10: Stephen Gallacher MC
Last Year’s Winner (Justin Rose) Will … (Win, Top10, Make the Cut, or Miss the Cut): Make the Cut, just outside of Top10 exactly right. T12
How many prior US Open winners will be in the Top 10: 1 actually, 0. Furyk was closest at T12
Masters Champion (Bubba) will …: M/C. This isn’t a bomber’s course Correct.
British Open Champion (Phil Mickelson) will …: Make cut Correct.
PGA Champion (Jason Dufner) will …: Top 10. Incorrect. MC
Sergio Garcia will…: Top 10 Incorrect. T35
Dustin Johnson will…: Top 10 Correct. T4 at +1
Rickie Fowler will…: MC Not exactly. T2.
Jordan Spieth will…: Win nope
Jimmy Walker (current Fedex points leader) will…: Top 10. Correct. T9 at +2
Adam Scott (current world #1) will…: Make the cut Actually, Top 10
What will be the major storyline of the tournament: Spieth’s redemption from his loss at Augusta. Kaymer runs away with it
What is your Bold prediction: Tiger makes some odd announcement in the middle of the tournament to get the attention back on him. awwww. we could’ve used something besides golf this week.

LG:
Winner: Rory McIlroy LG Fail. T23
Winning Score: -3 -9
Runner Up: Sergio Garcia Incorrect
Low Amateur: Fitzpatrick Correct
“Unknown” in the Top 10: Erik Compton hell of a pull here, LG. CORRECT!
Last Year’s Winner (Justin Rose) Will … (Win, Top10, Make the Cut, or Miss the Cut): Miss Cut incorrect
How many prior US Open winners will be in the Top 10: 2 Incorrect
Masters Champion (Bubba) will …: Miss Cut Correct
British Open Champion (Phil Mickelson) will …: Top 10 Incorrect
PGA Champion (Jason Dufner) will …: Miss Cut Correct
Sergio Garcia will…: Runner Up Incorect
Dustin Johnson will…: Top 10 Correct
Rickie Fowler will…: Make Cut Incorrect. T2, not just Make Cut
Jordan Spieth will…: Make cut Correct
Jimmy Walker (current Fedex points leader) will…: Miss Cut Incorrect. Top 10
Adam Scott (current world #1) will…: Top 10 Correct
What will be the major storyline of the tournament: Amazing leaderboard going into the weekend, but the lowest ratings for the U.S. Open ever. probably true
What is your Bold prediction: Sergio has a 2 shot lead going into the back nine, but Rory comes storming back from 4 back to win. not even close, but i like the boldness shown here

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