Planet Golf — 04 November 2013 by Jim Street
Golferswest.com prediction results

The Charles Schwab Cup Championship, which featured two winners on Sunday at historic Harding Park in San Francisco, marked the “end” of the 2013 professional golf season.

Never mind that for the first time in PGA Tour history its season actually started in the same calendar year as the previous one. Go figure. In our book, the season begins with the Tournament of Champions the first week of January.

The Golferswest.com staff of three does not recognize the PGA Tour’s calendar and for our weekly prediction purposes, the actual 2013 golf season ended in S.F., where Fred Couples won the final event on the Champions Tour and Kenny Perry captured the $1 million prize for winning the season-long Schwab Cup competition.

Golferswest.com had its own challenge, predicting who would win each tournament played on the Champions (20 events), LPGA (22 events), and PGA Tour (37 events) that really ended with the Tour Championship in late September.

There was one major rule change along the way: no two predictors could select the same winner on any given week. Therefore, the first tee-time was by far the best.

The Golferswest.com staff -- Jim, Bob, Kirby

The Golferswest.com staff — Jim, Bob, Kirby

We used a 1-2-3 point system (first place was worth 1 point, second was worth 2 points and third was worth 3 points). As always in golf, the low score wins.

The results have been tabulated and (insert drum roll) here they are:

LPGA

Kirby Arnold won the Golferswest.com points championship with 38 points. Bob Sherwin had 45 points and Jim Street staggered to a last-place finish with 48 points.

Kirby has Suzann Pettersen (pictured above) to thank for his success. Of the four tournament winners he selected, Pettersen won three of them – the season-ending Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship, the Evian Masters and the LPGA Lotte Championship. (Note:  Arnold batted .500 with Pettersen, picking her to win six times overall).

Sherwin had two winners. He correctly pegged Petterson to win the Safeway Classic played in Portland, OR and Inbee Park to capture the U.S. Women’s Open. Nice work guys.

Street had one winner, correctly predicting that Stacy Lewis would win the RR Donnelly Founders Cup played in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Arnold also had the most top 10 finishers with 13, followed by Sherwin, 22, and Street, 9. However, Kirby also had the only missed cuts/withdrawals with three. C’mon man.

Champions

Being the senior member of the Golferswest.com staff paid off when it came to the prognostication game for the senior professionals.

Golferswest.com staff meeting at Chambers Bay

Golferswest.com staff meeting at Chambers Bay

Street selected just one winner during the season, Bernhard Langer at the British Senior Open, but he managed to eke out a one-point victory over Sherwin, 38-39. Bob had two winners (Langer at the ACE Group Classic and Greater Gwinnett Championship), but his three third-place finishes, compared to one for Street, was the difference between king-pin and also-ran. Kirby, the youngest of the GW group, had the highest-finisher eight times, but the lowest-finisher nine times.

Sherwin led the way with 12 top-10 selections, followed by Street, 9, and Arnold, 8.

PGA

The most prestigious prediction category was an easy stroll down the fairway for Street, who threw a 63-pointer at his colleagues. Arnold had 72 points, one fewer than Sherwin.

For whatever reason, Kirby spent practically the entire season off the Tiger Woods bandwagon – and it proved costly for the lad from Lynwood/Goodyear, AR.

The most talented golfer on the GW staff selected Tiger to win only once – the WGC-Bridgestone – and Woods won!

Kirby had one other winner during the PGA Tour season and it came right out of left field. That would be Graeme McDowell at the RBC Heritage in mid-April, slightly more than two months after he pulled an out-of-this-world selection from his golf bag – Bill Murray to win the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

Oddly, Sherwin finished third despite having the most winners with four, including two by Tiger (WGC-Cadillac and Arnold Palmer Invitational). Bob also correctly selected Dustin Johnson in the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions and Matt Kuchar at the Memorial.

Street had three winners – Woods at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and The Players Championship, and Brandt Snedeker at the RBC Canadian Open.

Sherwin and Arnold had the most top-10 finishes with 10, one more than Street.

As for the missed cuts/withdrawals, Street had the fewest with 5, Arnold had 8 and Sherwin, 9.

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Jim Street

Jim’s 40-year sportswriting career started with the San Jose Mercury-News in 1970 and ended on a full-time basis on October 31, 2010 following a 10-year stint with MLB.com. He grew up in Dorris, Calif., several long drives from the nearest golf course. His first tee shot was a week before being inducted into the Army in 1968. Upon his return from Vietnam, where he was a war correspondent for the 9th Infantry Division, Jim took up golf semi-seriously while working for the Mercury-News and covered numerous tournaments, including the U.S. Open in 1982, when Tom Watson made the shot of his life on the 17th hole at Pebble Beach. Jim also covered several Bing Crosby Pro-Am tournaments, the women’s U.S. Open, and other golfing events in the San Francisco area. He has a 17-handicap, never had a hole-in-one, although once he came within two inches of an ace, and witnessed the first round Ken Griffey Jr. ever played – at Arizona State during Spring Training in 1990. Pebble Beach Golf Links, the Kapalua Plantation Course, Pinehurst No. 2, Spyglass Hill, Winged Foot, Torrey Pines, Medinah, Chambers Bay, North Berwick in Scotland, and Princeville are among the courses he has had the pleasure of playing. Hitting the ball down the middle of the fairway is not a strong part of Jim’s game, but he is known (in his own mind) as the best putter not on tour. Most of Jim’s writing career was spent covering Major League baseball, a tenure that started with the Oakland Athletics, who won 101 games in 1971, and ended with the Seattle Mariners, who lost 101 games in 2010. Symmetry is a wonderful thing. He currently lives in Seattle and vacations in Arizona (and other warm climates) as much as possible.

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