PGA: 2013 Season Preview

By Les Bailey
Golf Bags Ready
Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the Holiday Season is nearing it’s end, the 2013 PGA Season is just around the corner. Action finally gets underway next weekend at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions on Maui at the Kapalua Plantation Course, so it’s time to get you ready for the changes you will see in 2013 and preview the major championships. The 2013 season will also culminate with the Presidents Cup which will be on tap a couple weeks after the Tour Championship and is contested here in the USA.

Unlike the past, the PGA Tour season will end after the Tour Championship in Atlanta. All earnings and points stop at that point, and players will not have a fall season where they can add to their status for the following season. The time between the Tour Championship and the beginning of the next season will be referred to as the the Wrap Around Season. This will bring the PGA into alignment with the European Tour and the Race To Dubai.

Players not qualified  by the end of the season will not have the old Q School to gain access to the PGA Tour for the 2014 season. They will have to gain access through the Tour, or qualify at events.

The year’s first major is not very difficult to preview, as it is played every year at the same place, on the same golf course. Augusta National is by far one of the most magnificent setting for a major championship and is my favorite. Look for Tiger Woods to show up looking to get that 15th major on his resume, but because Augusta requires one be long off the tee, Tiger will continue to struggle here, and I don’t see him getting number 15 at the Masters.

This golf course requires length off the tee, but also requires complete control. This is why people like Bubba Watson, who is able to work his shots in both directions has an advantage. Look for Louis Oosthuizen to break through and win his first Green Jacket.

The US Open gets underway on June 13th at Merion Country Club in Ardome, Pennsylvania. This is a grand old golf course that has hosted four US Opens in the past including the the 1971 championship where an un-heard of Lee Trevino beat Jack Nicklaus. Ben Hogan won here in 1950, and the last US Open held here was won by David Graham in 1981.

The Open Championship, or as we call it here, The British Open tees off on July 18th at the Muirfield in Gullane, East Lothian, Scotland. This golf course was established in 1744, but was designed for modern play in 1891 by Old Tom Morris. This location is famous for nasty weather, so bring your umbrella and foul weather suit. Ernie Els will be the defending Champion after his victory last year at Royal Lytham St. Annes, and he will be the defending champion at Muirfield where he won in 2002.

The last chance for a major in 2013 will be the PGA Championship. This year it will be played at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York. Action begins on August 8th, and Rory McIlroy will be the defending champion.

The final event of the year will be the Presidents Cup which will get underway on October 3rd at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio. Fred Couples is our Team Captain, and Jack Nicklaus is the tournament host. Nick Price will be Captain of the International Team. Team USA won the 2011 Presidents Cup which was held at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club, and Team USA won 19-15, with Jim Furyk winning all five of his matches.

It’s shaping up to be a fabulous year in Professional Golf. We should see some epic battles with both Tiger Woods, and Rory McIlroy committing to the PGA Tour. They will be matching up at Abu Dhabi next month, but we should start to see the European players at the WGC-Accenture Match Play in February. They receive Race To Dubai points for this event. So get your Laz-Y-Boy ready, and buckle in for some great golf in 2013.

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