With his victory at last week's Mercedes Championships, Stuart
Appleby earned a return trip to paradise in 2005. But who will be
joining him in next year's exclusive field? Here are our fearless
predictions on who will win the rest of this season's PGA Tour
events, with the players listed in their presumed order of finish
on the money list.
1. ERNIE ELS
Accenture Match Play Championship, Masters, International, Tour
The Big Easy has, at long last, decided to concentrate on the
U.S. Tour, which leads to a career year. His Match Play rematch
with Presidents Cup rival Tiger Woods is epic, as is Els's
long-awaited breakthrough at Augusta, where there is nary a
2. TIGER WOODS
Nissan Open, Bay Hill Invitational, U.S. Open, American Express
He finally prevails in L.A. in the only meaningful tournament he
hadn't won, and as a history buff Tiger knew what it meant to win
an Open at Shinnecock, one of the game's most exacting tests. On
the relationship front, his most important commitment is not
tying the knot with Elin but reuniting with Butch.
3. CHAD CAMPBELL
Honda Classic, Houston Open, Buick Championship
Success predicted for Campbell continues. Inspired by Briny
Baird, he begins carrying photos of missing persons on his bag,
ending the year with a picture of Shaun Micheel.
January 19, 2004
4. CHARLES HOWELL
Memorial, John Deere Classic, Funai Classic
His J. Lindeberg clothing deal done, CH3 is freed from wearing
tight pants and unlocks his awesome potential. At the Memorial he
holds off Ben Curtis, who scores his only top 10 of the year.
5. VIJAY SINGH
Players Championship, Colonial
Ever the contrarian, he takes the Colonial but refuses to utter
the A word in the champion's press conference.
6. DAVID TOMS
HP Classic of New Orleans, Chrysler Classic of Greensboro
On the shelf for the first three months because of wrist surgery,
Toms comes on strong the rest of the way. With the freshest legs
at the Ryder Cup, he is again the best U.S. player, though he
can't prevent the inevitable.
7. STUART APPLEBY
Mercedes Championships, Ford Championship
The surging Appleby takes over as the top Australian on Tour.
8. DAVIS LOVE III
AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, Heritage
Hilton Head win number V is an awesome party as Love celebrates
his 40th birthday that week, but what could've been a monster
year ends when he blows out his back pumping out the septic tank
in his motor home.
9. SERGIO GARCIA
He has a career year if for no other reason than his hooking up
with actress Jessica Alba. On the course he cures his putting
problems long enough to win at Westchester.
10. JIM FURYK
The part-time Hawaii resident prevails on Oahu, where local girl
Michelle Wie gets fed to the sharks.
11. JUSTIN LEONARD
The good news? Leonard wins his state championship for the third
time. The bad? The Ryder Cup is played 1,500 miles away at the
same time, and he just missed making the squad, again.
12. MIKE WEIR
The post-Masters letdown is forgotten when he wins his national
13. FREDRIK JACOBSON
The kid's for real--remember the tie for fifth at the '03 U.S.
Open, the tie for sixth at the British and the three wins in
Europe?--and the PGA has a history of producing unexpected
14. ADAM SCOTT
He continues to eat par-5s for breakfast.
15. ZACH JOHNSON
Southern Farm Bureau Classic
The leading money winner on the 2003 Nationwide tour feels right
at home with the country trappings of Madison, Miss.
16. AARON BADDELEY
It's always a putting contest at the TPC of Scottsdale, and no
one rolls his rock better than Baddeley, who has a breakout
17. NICK PRICE
One last hurrah for the 46-year-old Hall of Famer.
18. PHIL MICKELSON
After nearly a year and a half without a win, Phil ends his
frustrations in his hometown. But he has never been the same
since getting stomped by Woods at the '02 Masters and U.S. Open.
19. DARREN CLARKE
No longer sporting the biggest bum this side of J-Lo's, the
newfound fitness maven prevails at Royal Troon, where he coulda
shoulda won in '97.
20. JUSTIN ROSE
Deutsche Bank Championship
J-Ro goes low, scoring an overdue first victory in the U.S.
21. SKIP KENDALL
Greater Milwaukee Open
The Tour's leading money earner among nonwinners finally gets off
the schneid, cheered on by the cheesy fans in his home state.
22. CHRIS DIMARCO
84 Lumber Classic
He claws his way back to the winner's circle after a bunch of
near misses in '03.
23. BRINY BAIRD
This explosive ball striker gets his first win after years of
24. HANK KUEHNE
He continues his maturation by overwhelming defenseless En-Joie
25. HUNTER MAHAN
Chrysler Classic of Tucson
The youngest of this year's Q school grads, the 21-year-old
Oklahoma State product is a star in the making.
26. FRED COUPLES
Bob Hope Chrysler Classic
Since it's the bye week before the Super Bowl, Freddy is focused
and ready to build on his fine play of '03.
27. NOTAH BEGAY
FedEx St. Jude Classic
Having secured his card on the final day of the 2003 season with
a brassy performance, a healthy Begay recaptures his old form.
28. RICH BEEM
Booz Allen Classic
Nobody plays the TPC of Avenel better, and the 2002 PGA champ had
much to prove after a quiet '03. Headline writers have fun with
Booz and Beem.
29. JOHN HUSTON
Tour's top putter in '03 wins another one for the oldies.
30. ARJUN ATWAL
The first Indian national to play on the PGA Tour, this Q school
grad is hardly a greenhorn. A good shot maker who can bend it
like Beckham, he has won in Europe and was last year's leading
money winner in Asia.
31. LEE WESTWOOD
A super Masters tune-up for the revived Englishman, whose
back-from-the-abyss story is the only thing keeping David Duval
from early retirement.
32. TOMMY ARMOUR III
Byron Nelson Championship
The Tour's top party animal throws a legendary shindig at his
Irving, Texas, home during tournament week, putting him in the
right frame of mind.
33. JEFF OVERTON
The record-setting Indiana undergrad becomes the first collegian
to win on Tour since Phil Mickelson in 1990. But unlike
Mickelson, he actually shows up for the '05 Mercedes.