PGA Tour Confidential: Previewing the 2013 season

Phil Mickelson
Robert Beck/SI
Will Phil Mickelson remain relevant in 2013?

THE PHIL FACTOR
Van Sickle: Next year figures to be all about Rory and Tiger. Is Phil Mickelson still relevant?

Shipnuck: Absolutely. Don't forget, the best round of golf all year may have been Phil's 64 at Pebble Beach that bounced Tiger.

Bamberger: I would not write off Phil. He turned it around when it briefly appeared he might miss the Ryder Cup, and then he had a pretty good week at Medinah. He's strong and he's still limber, despite his arthritis.

Shipnuck: Phil played beautifully at Augusta and lost the tournament in the bamboo on the 4th hole on Sunday. If he wins that Masters maybe he has a monster year. Instead, he was totally deflated.

Van Sickle: He outclassed the Masters field for 70 of the 72 holes. If he makes two bogeys instead of two triples he wins going away.

Anonymous Pro: You writers tend to remember Phil's screw-ups and sometimes forget how good he really is. Yes, he's going to out-think himself at every third major and throw away shots when he overrules [his caddie] Bones, but he has a game and a mentality built for majors. He can still win at Augusta, no doubt about it, and he can win on any big, sprawling course. Like Oak Hill, for example.

Garrity: Plus, Phil is the most resilient player in the game. More than anybody we've seen, he's shown the ability to come back from setbacks and disappointments.

Tell us what you think in the comments section below: Is Phil Mickelson still relevant in golf?

THE MAJOR WINNERS ARE ...
Bamberger: Rory at the Masters, Luke at the U.S. Open, Ernie repeating in the Open at Muirfield and whoever is the Shaun Micheel of 2013 at the PGA. Maybe Jason Dufner. No, make it Tiger over Dufner in a playoff.

Van Sickle: Picking Tiger to win a major, that's interesting.

Shipnuck: It's not that interesting. Tiger hasn't won one since 2008. I'll take Rory at the Masters and Phil at Merion, where he won't have to hit driver much.

(Related Photos: McIlroy's Season in Review)

Van Sickle: Remember the last time Phil didn't use driver at the Open? That didn't turn out so well.

Shipnuck: Yeah, but Torrey Pines was 800 yards longer. You had to hit driver. The British, I'll take Luke Donald. The PGA, I'll go with Keegan Bradley. That's a tough, smash-mouth kind of course. For long and straight, Keegan is right up there. He's a fighter. The harder the setup, the better for him.

Van Sickle: Tiger isn't done tormenting us yet. I'll take him at Augusta. Then Donald at Merion, Rory at Muirfield as he gets to three fourths of the Grand Slam in only three years, and finally, a great iron player that Oak Hill demands -- Hunter Mahan.

Anonymous Pro: Louis Oosthuizen, the guy they call Shrek, has a sweet swing and looked as if he was going to win the Masters until Bubba Watson pulled it off with that stupid-good playoff shot. I like Louis for Augusta. It's Rory at Merion and a fairways-and-greens guy at Muirfield -- maybe Justin Rose. Oak Hill is such a brute, it'll take somebody with a big game -- Phil.

Garrity: I'll go with Bubba, Webb Simpson, Ernie Els and Rory in that order. I realize repeat champions are rare in majors, but I haven't had much luck here picking Robert Karlsson. So now I'm going with proven winners.

Van Sickle: So you just put down last year's champions instead of spending any time thinking it over?

Garrity: It sounds awfully crass when you put it that way, Gary. But, yes.

Tell us what you think in the comments section below: Who do you think will win the majors in 2013?

This article originally appeared in the December 10, 2012 issue of Sports Illustrated, on newstands now.

 

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