Here’s a look at our predictions for 2009 and how we fared:
Will the revised FedEx Cup work?
Hard to argue with these results: Tiger Woods No. 1 (sans a smooch for that silver chalice), Phil Mickelson No. 2 (complete with a kiss for the Tour Championship hardware) and virtually 100 percent participation in the playoffs.
Sure Tour mathematicians still need to slide a few decimal points before we hang a “Mission accomplished” sign on the U.S.S. Ponte Vedra Beach – the notion that Woods could have won all four majors and the first three playoff events and still could be clipped for the FedEx Cup is offensive – but version 3.0 is closer to a finished project than the drawing board.
What impact will the Race to Dubai have?
Fittingly, the European Tour’s challenge to the FedEx Cup turned out to be much ado about nothing. Or, maybe much ado about nothing much.
Middle East financial woes cost the “Race” 25 percent of its purse and early American interest seemed to cool. The European circuit’s head start in Asia also took a blow when the PGA Tour set up shop in China for the WGC-HSBC Champions.
Will Wie win in 2009?
She took her time getting to the finish line but it was all worth the wait, particularly for a tour bucking economic headwinds and divided by an unpopular commissioner.
Wie’s breakthrough in Mexico was foreshadowed by her solid performance at the Solheim Cup and gives the tour momentum heading into 2010.
How will the economy affect the tours?
We may have missed the mark on this one. Although the PGA Tour navigated the economic surge better than most, the LPGA was reeling before some rare good news in the fall and the European circuit was staggered when the Race for Dubai took a 25-percent hit.
How will Tiger Woods fare in his comeback?
What applied a year ago seems relevant today given Woods’ current “indefinite” hiatus: 12 months from now he will still be the No. 1 player in the world and he will still be closing on Jack Nicklaus’ Grand Slam record.
Although Woods was blanked in the majors this year, his six victories, 14 top-10 finishes in 17 events and stirring Presidents Cup performance count as a career year. Why? Because Tiger Woods said it was.