Seasonal Affective Disorder
• Phil Mickelson: Adjusts his calendar to ramp up to the Masters. Almost half of his victories are west of the Rocky Mountains so that means early in the TOUR season. Mickelson struggled for three months after withdrawing following a 79 in the first round at the Memorial. He didn’t return to the top 10 until three months later with an impressive last three events in the Playoffs. Does his arthritis bother him? Is he not letting on how much pain he is tolerating? Wait, he won over $4.2 million this season. I’ve learned you gotta be patient with the really good ones as they almost ALWAYS come good.
• Kyle Stanley: He had his best two weeks in his third and fourth events of a 27-event season. He improved on his 2011 finish -- a win and a second will do that -- but missed the cut in three of four majors so that tells me he might not be ready for prime time just yet. He had five of his eight top 25s in his first six events so it’s an understatement to say he cooled off as the season continued. He also used three caddies on the season which doesn’t exactly scream “stability.” He hits it a mile and finds plenty of greens but his putter needs a bit of work (190th total putting in 2012). He’s from the West Coast and his best golf of the season was played out that way!
• Mark Wilson: After his two wins in in January and February in 2011, Wilson backed up his solid play in the beginning of the season again in 2012 with his victory at the Humana Challenge in Palm Springs. At that time, he had more wins on TOUR than anyone in the last calendar year. Unfortunately, the calendar doesn’t stop and waits for no one. Wilson had four of his six top 25s in his first six events, including two of his three top 10s. His only other top 10 in 25 events was in the McGladrey Classic in the Fall Series. He also missed the cut in all four majors.
There’s no question that this man moves the meter, so I’ll give him his own private wrap-up.
I learned this season that when he’s healthy, he’s more than capable of winning multiple tournaments. Sure, he fell apart on the weekend in the majors but he again proved why he has multiple victories on Arnie and Jack’s courses.
Sean Foley’s method is working as Woods is finding more consistency off the tee, but that method has also led to poor distance control with his wedges. Woods' budding friendship with Rory McIlroy is now the story; Woods' personal life is no longer front-page news. His injuries look to be in his rear-view mirror so his game will continue to have his full attention.
Woods won three times this year and was second on the money list WITHOUT a major, WGC or Playoff event. That’s pretty good for anyone else not named “Woods."
So what did I learn?
It’s hard to win on TOUR. Well over half of the 54-hole leaders FAILED to win on Sunday in 2012. There are too many good players and too many guys who are no longer afraid of trying to go low on Sundays. The days of being happy to cash checks are long gone. These guys have sponsors for everything and the payday is just gravy on the potatoes (Happy Thanksgiving!) so they aren’t afraid to take chances. Free your mind and the rest will follow.
I learned that what you don’t know is just as important as what you do know. Every year, rookies are going to make some noise. Every year, veterans are going to stink/get injured. There are too many great players on TOUR to put your eggs/feelings/money in one basket. Saying goodbye to old flames to check out the new merchandise is NOT a bad thing if you aim is to win. This is NOT real life! There are no consequences for ditching the older model for the brand-new ones! I’ve suggested before if you pick your weekly or season-long teams based on name recognition instead of form, you might as well just donate your entries to charity. It will do better and you will feel better about yourself!
I also confirmed my suspicion that big-time players have big-time results in big-time tournaments, period. End. Of. Sentence. Take a look back at the top 10 of all four majors and the three World Golf Championships if you don’t believe me. Sure, there’s a name or two in there that might not “belong” but the majority of those players are top-level Ryder or Presidents Cuppers. There’s nothing wrong with a dark horse here or there, but there’s no point in these big events to stray from the pack.
Finally, I learned that I enjoyed covering fantasy golf and interacting with you, the reader on a weekly basis for almost 11 full months. I’m hoping to have a better 2012 and will be adding a “One and Done” section for all of those who have been asking.
I’m back to kick off the 2013 year with my preview for the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in the first week of January.
I project that I will eat too much, drink too much and will be “extra” merry come 2013. I hope you and yours have a great off-season and holiday season as well! Cheers!