One man's '05 wish list
One of the wonderful things about golf is that there is always another shot to hit, always another hole to play, always an emergency nine or a future round. The game holds for all of us who love it the allure that the next shot we hit will be the best ever and the next round we play will be the day when it all comes together.
My contribution here is not so much to predict the coming year as it is to provide a wish list for some of the game's key figures that would make theirs a very happy new year.
TIM FINCHEM: A Tiger Woods victory in the Masters. It would bolster the PGA Tour commissioner's position as he negotiates a new TV contract. Finchem rode Woods' Masters victory in 1997 to a huge deal and concluded the last contract soon after Woods polished off the Tiger Slam with the 2001 Masters. The networks lost money this time around. Tim needs Tiger.
TIGER WOODS: A Masters victory. It would end his 0-for-10 major streak and get everyone off his back. We may never see a year like 2000 again -- the Tiger Slam may be as good as it gets -- but we will see the real Tiger again. He is simply too talented and too determined not to return to form, and recent tournaments suggest 2005 could be a monster year for him.
JACK NICKLAUS: To make the cut in both the Masters and the British Open at St. Andrews. It will likely be Jack's last appearance in each, and it would be fitting to have four full days of him.
ARNOLD PALMER: A joyous celebration of the 50th anniversary of his first professional victory, the 1955 Canadian Open. The game has simply never known an ambassador as effective as the King.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Win the British Open in his homeland. He has paid his dues in the most valuable currency of all -- heartbreak.
PHIL MICKELSON: A U.S. Open victory at Pinehurst. It would make up for the one that got away there in 1999 and remove doubts about whether he is a major championship-caliber player.
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: The Grand Slam. Then she can walk away from the game as Bobby Jones did -- at the pinnacle of perfection -- if she wants to. Also, it will insure that she'll be remembered not just for Colonial but as one of the greatest ever in the sport, male or female.
ERNIE ELS: The PGA Championship. That would get Ernie three-quarters of the way to the career Grand Slam.
VIJAY SINGH: Another big year. And the recognition he deserves.
MICHELLE WIE: Another year under her belt, a big win -- and the wisdom to see the future as a long road and that her place in it is women's golf.
THE SOLHEIM CUP: The attention it deserves and crowds like it had in Sweden.
THE GOLF CHANNEL: The realization that Christina Kim's microphone doesn't always have to be on, and the good sense to show the LPGA live and not on delayed tape in favor of the Nationwide Tour or Champions Tour.
ESPN.COM/GOLF WORLD READERS: The round of your life, both on and off the golf course. Happy New Year from all of us.
Ron Sirak is the executive editor of Golf World magazine
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