We're just days away from the first swings of the 2012 PGA Tour season, and so it's time to get in our last-minute predictions, guesses, estimates and prognostications. We begin with the World No. 1 ... and ask what he could do to get better.
Ever since Tiger Woods fell from golf's good graces, we've seen a strange melange of top-ranked golfers and major winners capturing the headlines, but never at the same time. The reigning world No. 1 hasn't won a major since Woods at Torrey Pines more than three years ago.
That's going to change in 2012. Luke Donald, without a doubt the best player in the world, is going to win his first major this year. Best guess? Either Augusta or the PGA Championship. But it will happen, and Donald will secure his place as the best golfer on the planet.
Why? Recent history. The guy ran the table in 2011, winning the money titles on both the PGA and European Tours, taking four tournaments over the year, and securing Player of the Year honors from both the PGA and the PGA Tour. That kind of sustained steadiness is what you need to show up big in major after major. Anyone can have a single hot weekend; Donald has the kind of game that doesn't need to rely on hot streaks for victory. Consider, for instance, his astonishing run this year of 449 holes without a three-putt. That's the kind of course management that wins you tournament after tournament.
Obviously the majors are a different beast; pressure and tradition and jacked-up courses and your own internal butterflies combine for an experience that demands players dig deeper than they ever have. It's time for Donald to do exactly that. And this year, he will.