John Hawkins - January 4, 2012

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Reflecting on the passing of Jim Huber, Hawkins said that Huber was simply put a great human being who was very kind, generous, and gentlemanly. He was a great writer and great broadcaster who will be dearly missed by everyone.

He feels that the Hyundai Tournament of Champions is impacted more than any event by the existence of a so-called “world tour.” The hub of golf used to be in the United States but now it is closer to Europe and Asia. The Tournament of Champions has always struggled at least a little bit but now it is really struggling as evidenced by the absence of a lot of big names this week. Tiger’s decision to play Abu Dhabi instead of Torrey Pines is further evidence of this shift which will force the PGA TOUR to adapt and change with the times.

The PGA TOUR co-exists with instead of harmonizing with the other tours around the world. The other tours that offer appearance fees attract the biggest names because they are independent contractors and they will accept those invites. What makes the situation worse is the fact that these players end up competing against the tour that made them rich and as a result, golf is becoming a bit like tennis and that is not a good road to be on.

Among current players over 40, he said that Mickelson is at a crossroads in 2012 based on his health and his play over the last few years. More than ever, Mickelson struggled on the greens in 2011 and in fact those struggles kept him from winning the Open Championship. He is very optimistic that Stricker will continue to play well in 2012 and add more wins to his total.

He thinks Tiger will win twice in 2012 and will contend in Majors. The evidence that his game is still there was shown at the Chevron World Challenge but it is a fact that he beat just 17 other guys and while winning is winning, Hawkins feels that Tiger needs to win against a full field in order to be able to say that Tiger is truly back.