Amateur Hour subscribers and fans, golf junkies around the globe, and anyone else out there randomly reading, welcome back to another year of content on our site, and more importantly, welcome to the 2021 PGA TOUR season. With my first piece of the calendar year, I will be giving you 11 bold predictions that I anticipate playing out this season on TOUR. Some might not seem that far-fetched, others may surprise, and a few will probably leave you all shaking your heads. Here we go.
- The United States will reclaim the Ryder Cup.
Starting the list off with the last event of the 2021 season? Yes. The American’s struggles in Paris were well documented, and I anticipate motivation will be at an all-time high to flip the script come the fall at Whistling Straits. Talent has never been the issue for the US side, and it is time for that talent to start delivering. While the European team room will once again be filled with a spirited brotherhood, I expect Steve Stricker to push all the right buttons and have his group ready to execute. Give me the US reclaiming the cup 16-12, with Xander Schauffele leading the Americans with 4 points.
2. Tiger Woods will get the coveted #83.
Do I know where it will happen? No. Bay Hill seems like the logical choice, but maybe it’s destiny for his first triumph at Riviera to be the record-breaker. What I do know is Tiger still has some great golf left in him, and I foresee win #83 coming at some point this season. Hopefully there will be fans in the galleries when it happens.
3. Brooks Koepka will win multiple times in 2021, but they won’t be in Majors.
Many in the media love to raise the question of why Brooks has not won more events on Tour. A valid question, and one, that could simply come down to motivation. We all know that the tougher the course gets, the better Brooks plays, but this year I see Brooks getting it done at least twice in standard events. The desire to win more is there, and I’d like to think the knee will cooperate. This is not to say that Brooks will play poorly in the majors, but as far as winning destinations for him this year, give me Austin and Hartford.
4. Rickie Fowler will win Player of the Year.
I told you there would be a few that would raise an eyebrow. Plain and simple, I just think it’s time. Long have I been a believer in this man’s all-around game, and after a year of tinkering with swing changes, I think Rickie is ready to start taking it out on golf courses. 2021 will be the year Rickie brings home a major, two other tournament titles, and the Fedex Cup. You heard it here first.
5. Marc Leishman will capture the Claret Jug.
We remember what happened in 2015 at Saint Andrews. At least I do. Leish had one hand on the Jug and Zach Johnson ripped it away from him. If you ask Marc if there’s any moment in his career that eats at him a little bit, it would be that Open. Six years later at Royal Saint George’s the Big Aussie will take back what was rightfully his. He will do it gloriously with a 20 foot birdie putt on the 18th hole. Can’t wait.
6. Rory will struggle once again at Augusta National.
Sometimes pressure matters. There’s very few things in the sport that Rory hasn’t accomplished, but winning at Augusta is one of them. When he arrives there every year now, I think he feels that a little bit. It will be another long weekend for McIlroy with a 3rd round 75 knocking him out of contention altogether.
7. We will see a playoff at the Masters for the first time since Sergio/Rosey.
How great was that 2017 duel between Sergio and JR? Going out on a limb and predicting that we will get another playoff at Augusta in 2021. Heck it may even feature more than two participants. Not willing to declare who it will be, but I know I’ll enjoy every second watching it.
8. Tony Finau will win more than once, and they will be in full-field events.
Finau only having one career win in Puerto Rico continues to be the elephant in the room when his name gets brought up in conversation. Some choose to knock him for the lone win given how talented of a player he is. Totally fair. But if you’re going to do that, you also have to give him credit for how remarkably consistent he’s been the last 3-4 years. I believe he’s learned from those close calls, and this will be the year he breaks through that door.
9. Jordan Spieth will rise out of the darkness.
One of our writers once famously inked that if Spieth didn’t deliver a certain result he would enter a dark place. Truer words may have never been penned. It’s been an absolute roller coaster ride for Jordan ever since he captured the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale in 2017. Through it all he’s stayed committed, he’s embraced the struggle with humility, and he’s never given up hope. You’ll see improved ball striking from Spieth in 2021, you’ll see less blow ups, and you’ll see a man return to the special form he showed time and time again in his early years on the PGA TOUR.
10. Dustin Johnson will go winless in the 2021 portion of this season.
DJ has been the most consistent player in the world for close to an entire decade. So why am I predicting the man who makes it look so easy to go winless in 2021? Pure gut call. I foresee a close call at the PGA Championship in Kiawah Island, and a few other top 5 finishes. But there’s nobody more content with where they’re at right now than Dustin. He’ll play well, he just won’t find the winner’s circle this year.
11. Phil Mickelson will complete the Career Grand Slam at Torrey Pines.
Was there any doubt what was going to be the last prediction on here? No he’s not done. No he’s not washed up. To count out Phil Mickelson would be like writing off Dom Toretto in a Fast and Furious movie. Lefty has not shied away from acknowledging the final jewel in his career that he’s still chasing after. Winged Foot and the five other 2nd place finishes eat at him every so often when he goes to bed at night. This year, when the US Open returns to his stomping grounds in San Diego, he will pull off the greatest achievement in the history of the sport– a US Open at 51 years old to complete the Career Grand Slam.
I’ll see everybody in October when I hit 11/11 and rub it in all of your faces. Let’s have a great year.