Punch Shot: New Year's resolutions for 2014


Welcome, 2014. Millions (billions?) will vow to be better this year. Promises of diet and exercise, financial responsibility and checking off items on the bucket list. And most will be broken by Thursday. GolfChannel.com writers offer up New Year's resolutions for players in 2014. Hopefully, these will stick.


There is no shortage of viable New Year’s resolutions as golf signs the final scorecard of 2013. Give Tiger Woods good health in ’14, Rory McIlroy a severe case of amnesia, Henrik Stenson a sound financial adviser for his FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai riches.

But atop the game’s resolutions for ’14 Phil Mickelson stands apart from the field. When the big left-hander arrives at Pinehurst in June for the U.S. Open he will be four rounds away from the career Grand Slam and he wasn’t shy in July at Muirfield about embracing the elephant in the room.

“If I’m able to win the U.S. Open and complete the career Grand Slam, I think that that's the sign of the complete great player. And I'm a leg away (U.S. Open). And it's been a tough leg for me,” he said following his Open Championship victory.

The subtext will be heavy in the North Carolina air as Mickelson marks the 15th anniversary of his runner-up finish – the first of six bridesmaid showings at his national championship – to Payne Stewart on Pinehurst’s venerable No. 2 course in 1999.

For Mickelson, who turns 44 the day after the U.S. Open, the danger is wanting something too much. So this New Year’s Day let’s hope Lefty embraces perspective and patience.


The PGA Tour should resolve to actually penalize somebody for slow play in one of its events. It’s been nearly two decades since a slow-play penalty has been assessed in a PGA Tour event outside the majors. Glen Day was penalized a stroke in 1995.

Or, the PGA Tour should resolve to eliminate the penalty from its handbook. Really, what’s the point? 


As we turn the calendar to 2014, I implore players at all levels to both find a USGA rules book and read it. Maybe twice.

While Tiger Woods made headlines for his multiple brushes with the rules this year, he was far from the only player to run afoul of golf’s various bylaws in 2013. The Rules of Golf are not easy to remember – and at times, can be difficult to enforce even with book in hand (Solheim Cup, anyone?). Too often, though, players whose livelihoods depend in part on a working knowledge of the rules either incorrectly interpret situations, improperly assess penalties or remain ignorant of violations in real time.

In this new year, there will still be rules infractions and post-round consults with tournament officials across the world. Here’s hoping, though, that the frequency of those instances can be reduced with a little studying.