2011 PGA Tour: What to Expect

The 2011 PGA Tour is underway with more than 45 tournaments and $300,000,000 in prize money up for grabs this year. There are a few storylines to most golf fans will be following this season – the biggest of which is about Tiger Woods.

Woods had his worst season as a professional in 2010. Fresh off his scandal from the end of 2009, Woods seemed off his game all year long. Not only did he fail to win a major golf tournament, he failed to win any golf tournament. Not that Woods particularly cares, but he wasn’t even eligible for the PGA Tour opener, the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, which is for winners of tournaments in past years.

So the big question is, ‘Can Tiger Rebound?’ The obvious answer is yes. Will he rebound? Only time will tell. Woods had his private life on his display much of last year and while questions about his divorce and reported infidelity may slow down a bit, there’s no reason to think they will end completely.

And while it’s hard to imagine Woods not winning again in 2011, major tournaments are a lot different than the others. There’s generally more quality competition and there’s no guarantee that Woods will win one. He hasn’t won the a major since the 2008 U.S. Open and the longer the drought continues, the more difficult it may be for him to win.

Still, Woods was competitive at times last year and regardless of the number of tournaments he wins, it’s hard to imagine 2011 being much worse for him than 2010.

Woods losing the No. 1 ranking was a big story in 2010 and in 2011, the new No. 1 will have a lot of eyes on him. Despite winning only the St. Jude Classic last year, Westwood vaulted to the No. 1 spot due to consistent finishes. He did not win a major, but finished 2nd at the Masters and the U.S. Open.

Westwood is gaining the reputation that Phil Mickelson held for a long time in that he hasn’t been able to win a major despite some close calls. In addition to his two second-place finishes last year, he has eight other top ten finishes in major championships.  It will be interesting to see if Westwood breaks through and claims his first major victory in 2011. Fans will also be watching how long he can hold onto to the world’s number one ranking.

Another big storyline will be built around The Masters. Can Phil Mickelson repeat as champion? The feat has only been accomplished three times (by Tiger Woods, Nick Faldo, and Jack Nicklaus). Mickelson is still capable of playing great golf as evidenced by his win last year, and winning consecutive titles would put him in some elite company.   The tour has a lot of questions.  Discovering the answers should be more fun than ever.

2011 PGA Tour schedule

Jan. 6-9: Hyundai Tournament of Champions, Plantation Course, Kapalua, Hawaii

Jan. 13-16: Sony Open, Waialae CC, Honolulu

Jan. 19-23: Bob Hope Classic, PGA West (Palmer Private, Nicklaus Private), La Quinta CC, SilverRock Resort, La Quinta, Calif.

Jan. 27-30: Farmers Insurance Open, Torrey Pines GC (North and South), San Diego

Feb. 3-6: Waste Management Phoenix Open, TPC Scottsdale, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Feb. 10-13: AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill, Monterey Peninsula (Shore Course), Pebble Beach, Calif.

Feb. 17-20: Northern Trust Open, Riviera CC, Los Angeles

Feb. 23-27: WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, Ritz-Carlton GC at Dove Mountain, Marana, Ariz.

Feb. 24-27: Mayakoba Golf Classic, El Camaleon GC, Maya, Mexico

March 3-6: Honda Classic, PGA National GC, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

March 10-13: WGC-Cadillac Championship, TPC Blue Monster at Doral, Doral, Fla.

March 10-13: Puerto Rico Open, Trump International GC, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico

March 17-20: Transitions Championship, Innisbrook Resort (Copperhead Course), Palm Harbor, Fla.

March 24-27: Arnold Palmer Invitational, Bay Hill Club & Lodge, Orlando, Fla.

March 31-April 3: Shell Houston Open, Redstone GC (Tournament Course), Houston

April 7-10: Masters Tournament, Augusta National GC, Augusta, Ga.

April 14-17: Valero Texas Open, TPC San Antonio, San Antonio

April 21-24: The Heritage, Harbourtown Golf Links, Hilton Head Island, S.C.

April 28-May 1: Zurich Classic, TPC Louisiana, New Orleans

May 5-8: Wells Fargo Championship, Quail Hollow Club, Charlotte, N.C.

May 12-15: The Players Championship, TPC Sawgrass (Players Stadium Course), Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

May 19-22: Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, Colonial CC, Fort Worth, Texas

May 26-29: HP Byron Nelson Championship, TPC Four Seasons Resort, Las Colinas, Texas

June 2-5: Memorial Tournament, Muirfield Village GC, Dublin, Ohio

June 9-12: FedEx St. Jude Classic, TPC Southwind, Memphis, Tenn.

June 16-19: U.S. Open, Congressional CC, Bethesda, Md.

June 23-26: Travelers Championship, TPC River Highlands, Hartford, Conn.

June 30-July 3: AT&T National, Aronomink GC, Newton Square, Pa.

July 7-10: John Deere Classic, TPC Deere Run, Silvis, Ill.

July 14-17: British Open, Royal St. George’s, Sandwich, England

July 14-17: Viking Classic, Annandale GC, Madison, Miss.

July 21-24: RBC Canadian Open, Shaughnessy G&CC, Vancouver, British Columbia

July 28-31: The Greenbrier Classic, The Old White Course, Greenbrier, W.Va.

Aug. 4-7: WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Firestone CC (South Course), Akron, Ohio

Aug. 4-7: Reno-Tahoe Open, Montreaux Golf & CC, Reno, Nev.

Aug. 11-14: PGA Championship, Atlanta Athletic Club (Highlands Course), Johns Creek, Ga.

Aug. 18-21: Wyndham Championship, Sedgefield CC, Greensboro, N.C.

Aug. 25-28: The Barclays, Plainfield CC, Edison, N.J.

Sept. 2-5: Deutsche Bank Championship, TPC Boston, Norton, Mass.

Sept. 15-18: BMW Championship, Cog Hill Golf & CC (Dubsdread Course), Lemont, Ill.

Sept. 22-25: Tour Championship, East Lake GC, Atlanta

Sept. 29-Oct. 2: Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children Open, TPC Summerlin, Las Vegas

Oct. 6-9: Frys.com Open, CordeValle GC, San Martin, Calif.

Oct. 13-16: The McGladrey Classic, Sea Island Resort (Seaside Course), St. Simons Island, Ga.

Oct. 20-23: Children’s Miracle Network Classic, Walt Disney World Resort (Magnolia, Palm), Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Oct. 27-30: CIMB Asia Pacific Classic, The Mines Resort & GC, Selangor, Malaysia

Nov. 3-6: WGC-HSBC Champions, Sheshan International GC, Shanghai

Nov. 17-20: The Presidents Cup, Royal Melbourne GC, Melbourne, Australia

Nov. 24-27: Omega Missions Hills World Cup, Mission Hills Resort Hainan (Blackstone Course), Hainan Island, China