Mark Rolfing is a Golf Channel on NBC analyst who was a part of the Golf Channel coverage of the events in Hawaii in each of the last three weeks (2 on the PGA TOUR, 1 on the Champions Tour). Rolfing is in town for the PGA Merchandise Show this week.
Tiger Woods is making his 2012 worldwide debut this week in Abu Dhabi and in response to the claim that he is as healthy as he has been in a decade, Rolfing said that he was not surprised to hear that because he saw how Tiger was doing in November in Australia. He saw Tiger hit shots at Royal Melbourne that he had not seen him hit in almost 4 years. Tiger also seemed better mentally than he had been in a number of years at the Presidents Cup. He felt that being a Captain’s Pick was good for Tiger because it made Tiger feel as though he was included on the team because other people wanted him there and not just because he qualified for the team.
The PGA TOUR may be in for a radical schedule change that would include a wraparound season and Rolfing feels that such a plan would hurt the Hyundai Tournament of Champions because they are already having enough trouble trying to attract big names. Appearance fees have helped to make the fields overseas much more valuable in World Ranking points which hurts the PGA TOUR fields and put together with eligibility issues for other big events, there are some problems ahead. One of them is the fact that the Hyundai Tournament of Champions is scheduled for the first week in January where New Year’s Day falls on Tuesday of tournament week. We are headed for a World Tour and some changes need to made in response to it.
At the Sony Open, he saw a number of young players who impressed him but no one impressed him more than Johnson Wagner. The fact that Wagner could play almost as well at Kapalua and Waialae which are completely different courses is amazing to him.
Global Golf Adventures will evolve in 2012 into a Road to the Ryder Cup type show so Rolfing will be spending a lot of time in Chicago this year. He loves the Ryder Cup and he is very excited to spend this year finding and covering interesting stories in the area in preparation for this great event.
He thinks that Rory McIlroy will have a big 2012 and thinks that he will have a bigger year quantitatively than Tiger Woods. Both names are in the conversation for the Major Championships but with the rise of the anchored putter in popularity has made predicting other contenders more difficult because there are now so many more possible names because of how much the anchored putter alters the strategy of players under pressure.