Part 2: Ten bold predictions for 2021
December 21, 2020
By Bob McClellan, PGATOUR.COM
- December 21, 2020
- Ernie Els got back to his winning ways on PGA TOUR Champions in 2020. (Chris Keane/Getty Images)
Editor's note: Part 1 of bold predictions for 2021 was published on Dec. 16. Click here for No. 10 - No. 6.
5. The winner of the Schwab Cup will come from this threesome (listed alphabetically): Ernie Els, Jim Furyk or Scott Parel.
Els and Furyk were smashing successes as rookies and will be even better acclimated now as their rookie seasons get extended. Parel, long a force on PGA TOUR Champions, just seems to get a little bit better each year. Els is second in the current Schwab Cup standings to Bernhard Langer, and Parel sits in fifth. Furyk is seventh after having played in just six events; he has to be considered the favorite as he devotes more time on this tour.
4. Fred Couples will win again.Fans would love to see Fred Couples hoist another trophy in 2021. (Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Everyone wants to see it. And the thing is he’s not that far off. He played in only nine events last year but had six top 10s, including two runner-up finishes. The schedule no doubt will be limited again, but that’s fine. Couples, 61, should play only at the places where he believes he can win. And he obviously has a pretty good handle on which those are.
3. Mike Weir and Robert Karlsson will join the list of first-time winners.
Honestly this shouldn’t surprise anybody. The Swedish rookie had a whopping seven top 10s in his 13 starts, including a runner-up and two fourths. The Canadian rookie started slowly but was rounding into form at the end of the 2020 season. He had three top 10s in 10 events, including a runner-up to Mickelson at the Dominion Energy Charity Classic.
2. Phil Mickelson will play at least five times on PGA TOUR Champions.
Thank you for the many kind notes of support. It was a special week and so fun to see many old friends and play against a fellow lefty in Mike Weir. https://t.co/5HxEeqkhZl— Phil Mickelson (@PhilMickelson) October 19, 2020
Lefty is 2 for 2 on the Champions Tour, and by all accounts he had a ball. Look, it’s fun to win. And if he plays at least five times he’ll surely add two or three more victories. Yes, he’ll still tee it up plenty on the PGA TOUR. But he bring a lot of attention with him to the Champs Tour, and the phact isn’t lost on Phil.
1. This will be the greatest rookie of the year race in PGA TOUR Champions history.
What a rookie class. It’s loaded. Phil Mickelson and Jim Furky each won twice right out of the gate. Ernie Els got his win total to two. The only non-rookie with more than one win in 2020 was Miguel Angel Jimenez. Other rookie winners so far are Brett Quigley and Shane Bertsch. And as mentioned above, Mike Weir and Robert Karlsson are poised to join the party. Even K.J. Choi could join the winner’s circle. It figures to be mostly a two-man race between Els and Furyk, but don’t discount Karlsson and Quigley. They’re not the household names but they proved to themselves and their competitors they have plenty of game. It’s going to be fun to follow and it probably will come down to the Schwab Cup playoffs to see who emerges.