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Is Fowler Deserving of Elite Status?

Rickie’s win early in the year at Abu Dhabi was a continuation of his great golf over the last eight

months, with four solid victories. The hiccup in the final round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open

is concerning. He is now ranked 5th in the world. Not bad for the “most overrated golfer” per the survey

last year. I have always maintained no golfer can be considered over or underrated. World rankings are

earned, and speak for themselves. That said, is he in the elite class of Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Rory

McIlroy? He held off both McIlroy and Spieth in the Middle East. Impressive, but still no majors, so, for

now, Rickie is still knocking on the door. Spieth’s huge victory at Kapalua keeps him firmly entrenched as

number 1. Rory’s limited schedule makes him harder to evaluate. I remain concerned that his putting

will hold him back, but the jury is still out, and his switching this week to a crosshanded grip. Where is

Jason Day? It looks like he had a great off-season, but it included little golf. Rusty at Kapalua, and ill to

start the Farmers insurance Open, leaves us wondering what he will do this year. Healthy, he still seems

the best too me, with no weaknesses in his game.

With the West Coast Swing completed, here is what I expect to see in 2016.

Predicted End of the year World Rankings (current ranking):

1. Jason Day(2)

2. Jordan Spieth (1)

3. Rory McIlroy (3)

4. Rickie Fowler(5)

5. Kevin Kisner (20)

6. Louis Oosthuizen (19)

7. Justin Rose (7)

8. Henrik Stenson (6)

9. Brooks Koepka (18)

10. Justin Thomas (31)

Major Winners:

Masters: Jason Day

U.S. Open: Rory McIlroy

British Open: Louis Oosthuizen

P.G.A.: Brooks Koepka

No Spieth, No Fowler? Hey, these are just guesses. I think each of these players is likely to win a major

this year…just not sure which one.

FedEx Champion: Jordan Spieth, but Henrik Stenson seems to have an amazing ability to challenge in this


Other Predictions:

Phil Michelson will challenge in at least a half dozen events (he has already been there in a couple). He is

always a threat in The Masters, and his game could work in The British Open. Unfortunately, I do not see

him as competitive in the U.S. Open. He is still going to be my sentimental choice.

Tiger Woods will be a non-factor this year, although I think he will try and make it back.

One of the grizzled veterans, Jim Furyk, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Brandt Snedeker, Adam Scott or

Sergio Garcia will have a great year. (I wrote this before Snedeker and Scott got their wins).

Patrick Reed, J.B. Holmes, Danny Lee, Bill Horschel, Tony Finau and Daniel Berger will win a PGA event.

Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson will be the biggest disappointments…unless they’re not. (Watson has

already proven me wrong at Riviera, so watch out for him at Augusta)

Some “below the radar” Australian will have a great year in the majors.

In Summary:

2016 will be the best, and most competitive year on the PGA since Tiger joined the tour. I cannot

remember a time when so many great players were vying for the top honors. I can only hope that the

golf industry becomes a beneficiary of the phenomenal level of talent representing the sport. I can

hardly wait.

Weekly Observation: Love Rickie Fowler, but those high top shoes? This could be the worst fashion

trend ever.

Paul Laubach is completely unqualified to provide expertise with respect to golf course rankings and

design, however, he is a highly opinionated golf addict who believes everyone should be entitled to his

thoughts. He has recently released Confessions of a Golfaholic: A Guide to Playing America’s Top

100 Public Golf Courses; now available in hardcover edition. Please visit regularly

for more (im)practical information.

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