PGA Tour Confidential: 2012 season review, predictions for 2013

Bubba Watson, 2012 Masters
Simon Bruty / SI
Tiger Woods won three events in 2012, but fell short in all four majors.

BEST SHOT OF THE YEAR
Godich: What is the best shot you saw in 2012? That should be an easy one, but we're taking Bubba Watson's banana wedge and Louis Oosthuizen's double eagle at the Masters off the table.

Van Sickle: Tiger's flop shot at Memorial is maybe too obvious. I'll go with Webb Simpson's chip from the gnarly grass around the final green at Olympic. It wasn't easy, and he knew he had to get up-and-down for the Open.

Dusek: Easy, it has to be Phil Mickelson's 30-foot par putt on the 12th hole Sunday at Pebble Beach after Tiger Woods holed out from the sand. At that moment, I really thought we were going to get a monster year from Mickelson, but obviously that didn't pan out.

Bamberger: McIlroy's shot across the bow at the Honda. Tiger went birdie-eagle to post 62. McIlroy was on 13, with about a 10-footer for birdie. He heard the eagle roar. Back in the day, many would have folded right about then. The kid made the putt, played strong the rest of the way, and not only won but also showed that the Tiger theatrics would not shake him.

Walker: Justin Rose's 50-foot putt on 17 at the Ryder Cup on Sunday to square his match with Mickelson; he made another great putt on 18 to win. Second place: Top 100 Teacher Brian Manzella went out to the fairway bunker on 18 at Medinah on Sunday night to re-create Martin Kaymer's bunker shot for a Golf.com instruction video. Brian was using a borrowed 4-iron and wearing loafers, and he hit it to 15 feet.

Hanger: Tiger's chip-in at the Memorial, Kyle Stanley's escape from the cactus on No. 17 in Phoenix, and Tiger's second shot on 18 at the Honda that set up his closing eagle. Justin Rose's bomb of a putt on 17 at the Ryder Cup was also chill-inducing.

Ritter: One moment we haven't mentioned: In sudden death at Quail Hollow, Rickie Fowler threw a dart with a gap wedge and made the four-footer for birdie to beat McIlroy and earn his first PGA Tour win. Many of us wondered when Fowler would finally break through. The wedge and putt right in front of Rory were huge for him. Now, if only Fowler could've built on that momentum and made the Ryder Cup team.

Godich: Here's another one: Dufner's bomb for par at the 70th hole in New Orleans, which got him in a playoff and paved the way for his first victory.

Tell us what you think in the comments section below: Besides Bubba and Louie at the Masters, what was the best shot you saw last year?

ALMOST MOMENTS
Godich: Tiger almost won three majors (O.K., that's a stretch). Adam Scott almost won the British. The U.S. almost won the Ryder Cup (O.K., they blew it). What moment almost happened in 2012 that you wish would have played out?

Van Sickle: I'd like to have seen Mickelson get out of the bamboo left of the fourth green, make a bogey and then see how he fared against Oosty and Bubba at the Masters on the back nine. It was another shoulda-coulda major for Phil.

Morfit: I agree that Mickelson meltdown on No. 4 at the Masters was the biggest buzz-kill of the year. Adam Scott's almost moment was hard to watch too. They both happened in slow motion.

Wei: Furyk hitting a nice drive on 16 at Olympic (instead of a snipe) and going on to win the U.S. Open.

Bamberger: It never really got to almost, but two kid amateurs, Jordan Spieth and Beau Hossler, could have contended down the stretch for the U.S. Open. I would have settled for contended.

Walker: I wish it had stayed light long enough for Paula Creamer and Jiyai Shin to play that ninth extra playoff hole at the Kingsmill Championship. It was great how both players kept going until almost pitch darkness for the fans.

Herre: I'd like to have seen Scott win a major. I wouldn't wish the best-player-without-a-major tag on anyone.

Dusek: I wish the U.S. could have won the Ryder Cup, and it would have been great for a guy like Adam Scott to finally get the major monkey off his back. But I really wish Tiger Woods had won the U.S. Open. It would've changed the narrative of the whole season, McIlroy's supremacy would not have been as complete, and it would've been fascinating to see how fans and the media reacted.

Hanger: I'm going to assume that there was a moment when someone at the USGA and the R&A was lobbying against the anchoring ban and almost had his colleagues convinced to drop the idea. I wish that guy had won the argument.

Tell us what you think in the comments section below: What story almost happened this season that you wish would've played out.

NEXT YEAR'S STAR
Godich: O.K., time to get your crystal ball out. The 2013 PGA Tour Player of the Year will be (fill in the blank) because he will (fill in the blank).

Herre: Jason Dufner, because he spent the off-season sharpening his short game.

Van Sickle: I hate myself for going here, but Tiger Woods, because he'll win at least four times, including a major.

Reiterman: Tiger Woods. Two majors and victories at Memorial and AT&T National.

Bamberger: Bill Haas, because Rory is too obvious a choice, and Haas is due to come roaring back.

Dusek: Luke Donald, because he's going to win both the British Open at Muirfield and the PGA Championship at Oak Hill, along with two or three other PGA Tour events.

Hanger: Our crystal balls, as we've proven over the years with our woeful predictions, are cracked, cloudy and downright unreadable, but here goes anyway. Player of the year is Dufner, who wins two regular events and his first major.

Walker: McIlroy is my pick for Player of the Year 2013 (and 2014 while we're at it). He's way ahead of everyone else right now, especially Tiger.

Van Sickle: I'll throw Keegan Bradley in there as my runner-up nominee, because he'll be on the war path after the ill-advised putter ruling.

Ritter: Graeme McDowell, because after nearly winning two majors in 2012, he won late in the year to launch another hot streak that will lead to three titles in 2013, including his second career major.

Dusek: I almost went with McDowell as well. I think he's in a really good place, mentally, right now.

Tell us what you think in the comments section below: The 2013 Player of the Year will be (fill in the blank) because (fill in the blank).

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