The new normal in professional golf is here. The younger players have forced their way to the top of the golfing world with no regrets. The fear of competing against players like Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson is long gone. The only thing left for these aging superstars is a healthy respect from for the path they blazed in helping to create the new normal.
It is all over the news that Tiger Woods is not playing at the Arnold Palmer Invitational this weekend. Much to the chagrin of legend Arnold Palmer, Woods admits that his game is not ready for the PGA Tour. Only Woods knows for sure, but something tells me that he is right. Woods’ focus is on the Masters in a couple of weeks and I for one believe that is where his focus should be; I hope he is healthy and ready to compete in the first Major of 2015.
Phil Mickelson has not played well for over a year. He has sparks of greatness, but the consistency is just not there. I am a huge Mickelson fan and I am not sure if his game is in as bad a shape as Woods, but he is definitely not the Mickelson of old. I guess I cannot expect him to play like he is 25, but old thoughts die slow.
Not a year ago, I wrote that the old guard were not ready to relinquish the top spots in golf. I am here to say that times have changed; and changed quickly. The new younger players have come out from the shadows of the aging veterans quicker than expected. Each week, a new player rises to the top of the leaderboard to claim the top prize. Maybe this is what we have to look forward too; a different winner each week.
I will have to say that the last nine holes and the four hole playoff last week at the Valspar Golf Championship was extremely exciting. Just when everyone thought Spieth, Reed or O’Hair was out of contention, they made a fantastic shot to recover. It truly was exciting and hopefully we will see more finishes like that one in the future!
It seems every week, there is a new player popping up on the leaderboard. The return of Dustin Johnson is another example of a great young player standing up to be heard. His play since returning to golf has been outstanding and he is now considered a top contender at all the Majors this year. Is it possible that this trend of resurging players can continue through the entire 2015 professional golf season?
Let’s not forget about Rory McIlroy. With a slow start on the PGA Tour this year, he is too talented not be step-up and slay all comers! With only three weeks left before the Masters, the golfing world will see the real McIlroy return to form. I predict it will not happen this weekend at Bay Hill, but within the next three weeks he will start to peak at the right time for Augusta. As per my predictions at the beginning of the year, Rory McIlroy will win the 2015 Masters!
The new normal has arrived in professional golf. Although a few players will continue to win more than most, the days of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson crushing the field for years is over. We can expect to see many new winners and even greater challenges for professional golfers to stay at the top of the world rankings.
Personally, I’m excited about the recent changes in golf. Although I will always cheer for Phil Mickelson, I cannot help but embrace the new normal in professional golf!
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!