The sun and sand (or is it the rain, fog and wind) of the West Coast Swing is behind us and now the PGA TOUR heads east for the Florida Swing, which this year is a month-long sojourn.
With THE PLAYERS Championship sitting right among it, it is also the beginning of the Season of Championships that sees TPC Sawgrass take center stage in March before April’s Masters, May’s PGA Championship, June’s U.S. Open, July’s Open Championship and August/September’s FedExCup Playoffs. Not to mention Olympic competition slated for July 29-Aug 1.
Starting this week at the World Golf Championships–Workday Championship at The Concession in Bradenton, the TOUR then hops to the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard in Orlando, followed by THE PLAYERS in Ponte Vedra Beach before finishing up at The Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens. (The Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor comes April 29-May 2 this season).
It is a critical phase of the FedExCup schedule that can make or break a player’s push for either TOUR Championship chances or even just FedExCup Playoffs hopes.
We’ve decided to bust out the crystal ball and make some bold predictions for the Florida Swing.
(As a sidenote, here are the 10 Bold Predictions from the start of this season if you want to check our progress.)
1. Tony Finau will leave the swing a winner.
Depending on who you talk to, this take is either not bold at all or ridiculously bold. Finau has 21 (!) top-5 finishes on TOUR since the start of the 2017-18 season without winning, so glass half-full tells you he is likely to be in contention at some point in Florida and is trending toward finally grasping that elusive second TOUR win. Glass half-empty says his playoff loss at The Genesis Invitational was just another example in a long line of proof that says he can’t close the deal. Also working against Finau is the fact an American hasn’t won in Florida since Keith Mitchell won The Honda Classic in 2019. Five wins in a row have been non-American (Tyrrell Hatton, Sungjae Im, Paul Casey, Rory McIlroy and Francesco Molinari). But we believe in Tony. He will win something in the next month.
2. At least one player will play EVERY round in Florida at par or better.
The gurus at our ShotLink team point out that Matt Kuchar has the second-longest active streak of rounds par or better in Florida of any player in the last eight years (since 2013). In this time frame, Kuchar has played his last nine rounds in Florida at par or better. The man in front of him won’t play during the next month – 82-time winner Tiger Woods. He remains in recovery from a single-car accident and a fifth back surgery, but sat at 18 rounds at par or better in Florida. We are prepared to say someone will come out of this year’s swing having played somewhere between 4 and 16 rounds at par or better in a row!
3. Tommy Fleetwood will continue his mojo in the Sunshine State and add to his top-5 tally.