5. Does Hunter Mahan find the magic again? – Hunter Mahan was once a very hyped up prodigy, but recently he has found various demons in his game and cannot seem to shake them off. At 36 Hunter’s career may go down as one of those “what could have been.” 40 is closing in, and I can guarantee you Hunter will be doing his all to make sure he closes his career out on a solid note.
4. Joaquin – At 19 Joaquin seemed to be the next guy since Jordan Spieth to win as a teenager; he was the man last year on tour for young guns. Now Cameron Champ has surpassed his noise, and I am very curious to see if Joaquin will battle his way on to the President’s Cup team this winter and make sure his name is still being talked about.
3. El Chupa Rahmo – This guy has a rare talent, very rare! One thing missing though is wins. In an age where every young gun is winning multiple tournaments, Jon Rahm is not. He is in the mix a bunch, but the Spieth’s, Thomas’, Koepka’s, Reed’s of the world are on a higher pace. I understand he is only 24, but we put him on the pedestal with these guys and expect him to keep up. We need a multiple win season out of Jon Rahm and it could easily start here.
2. 49 – Phil Mickelson will be turning 49 this June, and he starts the year of this week. This tournament shows us where Phil is at physically and mentally. Last season he ended real bad! Sure, he beat Tiger in an exhibition match, but he played terrible golf to end ’18 and was abysmal in the Ryder Cup. He had some excuses after, but we all know 48 and 49 are not peak years anymore in golf, but Phil has shocked us time and time again. Will he do it again this week?
1. Bob Hope – A man that made this tournament what it is and built Palm Spring to be a playground for golf; yet they have forgotten about him. I am a huge advocate for keeping the namesake for golf tournaments alive. I believe AT&T Pebble should still leave Bing Crosby in the name. From 1965-2011 this tournament was known as the Bob Hope Desert Classic, and I hope one day they show loyalty to him again for what he did to grow it.