It’s nearing that time of year again, when the best players in the world start teeing it up in the tournaments that actually matter. Although the 2014 PGA Tour season technically started way back in October, we here at Spreadsheet Fantasy feel the real season starts at the beginning of January. Last season had no shortage of story lines, from Tiger’s quest for a Major, to the emergence of Jordan Spieth, to Phil Mickelson’s Open Championship renaissance, 2013 was a year to remember. As much as we love looking back, we’d like to look forward for a bit, towards the 2014 season and some of the stories that it may tell. This is Spreadsheet Fantasy’s 2014 predictions.
10. Bubba Watson, Luke Donald, and Rory McIlroy will all bounce back – 2013 was one to forget for these three, as the three of them combined for fewer points than Tiger Woods had on his own. McIlroy and Watson both saw their point outputs drop by more than 60% from 2012 to 2013, while Donald’s value saw a noticeable drop-off as well. Whether due to an equipment change, family issues, or just poor play, these three are primed to make a comeback in 2014. A top ten at the HSBC Champions and win at the Australian Open show that McIlroy’s game is on the right track, and Donald and Watson are much too talented not to have a win in 2014. All-in-all, look for this trio to capture 4-6 tournaments and exceed their point totals from 2013.
9. Nick Watney and Rickie Fowler will continue to frustrate their owners – Few players have been as frustrating as Nick Watney and Rickie Fowler over the past few seasons. While they both possess great talent, and have shown they have what it takes to win, neither of them has been able to take the next step into the ranks of the PGA Tour’s elite. Although Watney mounted somewhat of a late-season charge in 2013, both players seem to regress just when you think they’ll take the next step. It wouldn’t surprise us if they fail to live up to their potential again in 2014.
8. Jordan Spieth will win at least twice in 2014 – While he is entering just his second season on the PGA Tour, expectations are high for Spieth. His rookie season saw him win the John Deere Classic in a playoff, and finish runner-up three more times. Nine top tens is an exceptional season for anyone, but when it comes from a rookie, people take notice. Miraculously, Jordan Spieth went un-owned last year, and with such incredible potential, it would be surprising to see him slip through the first round.
7. Miguel Angel Jimenez will hire Fuchs as his massage therapist – As we all age and continue our slow march onward towards death, pain begins to invade our every move. Miguel Angel is reaching an age where the aches and pains of a life well lived begin to take hold, and with career earnings of nearly $24,000,000, there is no excuse for him not to hire the best. Enter Fuchs. Although his practice is relatively new, Fuchs provides a friendly demeanor combined with strong, muscular hands to work out those kinks. Feeling loose and refreshed, expect a big season from the Mechanic.
6. Jason Day will continue to come close in the Majors – Although he has just one PGA Tour win, Jason Day has been a force in the Major Championships over the last few years. with four top three finishes in the last twelve Majors, few have come closer to winning and walked away empty handed. After somewhat of a slump in 2012, Day didn’t miss a single cut in 2013 and finished strong with five consecutive top 25 finishes. If Day doesn’t capture his first Major Championship in 2014, look for him to at least come close yet again.
5. Adam Scott will win another Major – After coming so close in previous years, Adam Scott finally slammed the door at last year’s Masters Championship. Throughout the past three seasons, no one has been more consistent than Scott in the year’s biggest tournaments. With eight top tens and two more top fifteens in the last 12 Majors, it’s astounding that Scott hasn’t won more. On the heels of the best year of his career, Scott shows no signs of slowing down, and he’s proven that the biggest stage is where he shines the brightest. Although it may be too much to ask for a repeat of the Green Jacket. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Scott pull off a win in any of the other three Major Championships.
4. Daniel will exceed Dave’s points, wins, and top tens from 2013 – Dave’s 2013 season was undoubtedly the worst ever in Spreadsheet fantasy, as he set the record for fewest points and top tens, and collected just two wins. None of this comes as a surprise when you consider that he submitted just ONE roster all season. Daniel will be taking over for Dave this season, and while the only direction to go is up, Daniel’s fantasy sports pedigree could help this troubled squad to an exceptional turnaround.
3. Matt Kuchar will win a Major – After four seasons of Spreadsheet Fantasy golf, its well known that Beast does not yet possess a Major Championship. He’s come exceptionally close with Matt Kuchar, Jason Day, Jim Furyk, and Steve Stricker, as his 17 Major top tens can attest. With two wins in 2013 and the most steady and consistent game on tour, Matt Kuchar has gone far too long without a Major Championship. After four long years, 2014 will be the year Matt Kuchar wins his first.
2. Tiger Woods will win at least five times – After a few years of struggling and frustration, Tiger Woods shone again in 2013, winning five times and finishing in the top ten another three. It seems like the only thing left for Woods to do is win another Major Championship, and while he may not do that in 2014, he will continue to win on the courses he dominates. Torrey Pines, Bay Hill, and Firestone are just three of the courses that Tiger seems almost a lock to win on, and you’ll see him win there again this year on his way to a 5+ win season.
1. Bryce will win the Richard J. Osicki Memorial Trophy as the 2014 Spreadsheet Fantasy Champion – While Bryce finished second to Brent in 2013, it was a disappointing season, given that Tiger Woods amassed nearly 1000 points and the rest of his team couldn’t muster enough to claim the championship. While Woods’ had five wins on his own, the rest of Bryce’s team combined for just two, and three of his four Konkel Explosions netted him just 15 points each. If Woods can come anywhere close to his 2013 numbers, and Bryce can build up some talent around him, he’ll find himself hoisting the trophy come fall.