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Shane Bacon

Predictions for 2011

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It's 2011 (yikes), and with that, we give you our Devil Ball predictions for the new year. Enjoy them, and let us know your thoughts about them as we roll into another golf season.

Phil Mickelson's arthritis situation will be a bigger deal than we initially thought: You can't say Lefty had a bad 2010, because he added another major championship to his growing resume, but after Augusta it was a very, very poor performance by Phil. Why is that? Because he was dealing with the psoriatic arthritis situation, among other family health issues. I've heard from a doctor or two that this is a bigger deal than most in the media are giving it, and I think it will continue to keep Phil sidelined. I expect another season like the last from Mickelson, who might have some success earlier in the season but will fade as the year wears on.

Tiger Woods will be the 2011 Comeback Player of the Year: Did you ever think he'd be up for such an award? Nope, but after the end of '09 and his entire 2010 season, Tiger is in a position to claim this when he dominates. I think Tiger will win four or five times in '11, including a major, and allow us all to forget, finally, what happened at his house, with his family, and to the Escalade. Everyone deserves a shot at redemption, and with his play at the Chevron, it seems Tiger still has the game to win, as long as a certain Northern Irishman stops making putts.

Rory McIlroy will win the PGA Championship: Nope, he isn't ready for a Masters or U.S. Open, and the British is too much pressure now from the locals, but McIlroy is ready to take home a major, and I think the Atlantic Athletic Club is the place it happens. Rory has finished third two straight times at the PGA, so expect a win for the youngster to jump-start his major career.

Dustin Johnson will rise above all the other 20-somethings as the top talent: It's hard to realize that Johnson is only 26, but the four-time PGA Tour winner is going to emerge this season as the best American youngster in the game. He has all the tools, and his swagger is undeniable. He told me he is working hard at his game from 150-yards and in, and if he can lock that in, he's going to be really tough to beat.

Lee Westwood will have a letdown year: For all the accolades Westwood has under his belt, his success on American soil is still lacking, and that is, as they say, where the oil is pumped. Lee had a really great 2010, until you look at how many times he actually won; just twice, and one was because a guy triple-bogeyed the final hole to get him in a playoff.

Okay, your turn. Give us some of your predictions!

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