Welcome back! We hope you enjoyed some time off and have cheated on your New Year’s resolution only once or twice so far. Maybe three times.

2021 resolutions for golf fans

As we get ready for the start of a new year of professional golf at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, we thought we’d take a moment to set some resolutions of our own for 2021.

Properly appreciate the game’s elite talent – From Dustin Johnson to Jin Young Ko to Jon Rahm to Sei Young Kim, there are some seriously dominant players in the men’s and women’s games right now. Sometimes, though, it feels like we take them for granted. Not this year. We’re going to marvel at the fact that Rory McIlroy hasn’t dropped out of the top 15 of the Official World Golf Ranking since 2009, and we’re going to shout Inbee Park’s major record from the rooftops. None of them is a Tiger or an Annika, but they deserve their props.

Watch an event we haven’t before – For three months in 2020, we were without live professional golf. So this year, with all normally scheduled programming (tentatively) back on the calendar, it’s time to tune in. But we’re going to avoid falling back into old habits. We watch a lot of golf, but there are plenty of events we haven’t seen before. We’re going to pick at least one—whether it’s a college match or one of the U.S. Amateurs or an unheralded Korn Ferry or LPGA stop—and enjoy it.

Let Jordan be Jordan – Outside of Tiger Woods, does anyone get more press for a T-34 finish than Jordan Spieth? After three years on top of the world, Spieth has very publicly fallen on hard times. Naturally we have been pulling for him to recapture the magic of 2015-17. But in 2021, we pledge not to freak out if he backdoors a top 10 or grabs the lead four holes into Thursday’s round. If he’s back, we’ll know.

Get out to a fall collegiate event (if permitted) – Say the pandemic has slowed by the fall and galleries are a thing again: we’re going to find a college tournament near us and head out. These events provide a rare opportunity to see the next generation of stars up close. As Sean Martin pointed out, Matthew Wolff is currently the defending NCAA champion, and he’s a top-15 player in the world. (Yes, that’s because the NCAAs weren’t played in 2020. But still.) Jennifer Kupcho has gone from a senior at Wake Forest to No. 19 in the Rolex Rankings in two-and-a-half years. The next Wolffs and Kupchos are out there. We’ll see if we can find them this year.

Quick Hooks

The PGA Tour kicks off 2021 tomorrow with the Sentry Tournament of Champions at the Kapalua Resort’s Plantation Course. Typically this is a winner’s-only affair, but because of the pandemic-shortened season, the 2021 field includes anyone who qualified for the 2020 Tour Championship. Defending champion Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, Bryson DeChambeau, Xander Schauffele, Patrick Reed, and Collin Morikawa are all in attendance. Primetime golf from Hawaii in January, a tradition unlike any other. Tee Times

2020 U.S. Amateur champion Tyler Strafaci will forgo his final semester at Georgia Tech but will not turn professional until May. Strafaci has a busy year ahead with the Walker Cup, exemptions into five PGA Tour events, and spots in two major championships. He will turn pro after the Walker Cup in early May. Full Story from Brentley Romine

Point Roberts, Washington, hasn’t had a single Covid-19 case. And the local golf course, Bald Eagle Golf Club, hasn’t had a golfer in 10 months. Andrew Penner has the story of the loneliest golf course in America on Golf dot com.

If you’ve missed the exhaustive Jon Rahm coverage this week, the No. 2 player in the world signed with Callaway and Travis Mathew this offseason. Rahm had played TaylorMade equipment since turning professional in 2016.

Bryson DeChambeau has a “block the wind” guy, apparently.

The Latest from The Fried Egg

Paulie’s Picks: Sentry Tournament of Champions – New year, same Paulie. See who he likes this week for DraftKings and one-and-done leagues!

Superintendent Series, Episode 14: Bob Ranum

The Long Island legend Bob Ranum joins the podcast to talk about his career in golf course maintenance. Bob discusses his two superintendent jobs at Garden City Golf Club and Atlantic Golf Club. Topics include helping to restore Garden City with Tom Doak, building a course with Rees Jones, and hanging out with Mike Strantz. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

Shotgun Start: Umbrella calibration, Activation Station, and the Centerline conundrum 

The Shotgun Start is back! And Andy and Brendan are in the best podcasting shape of their lives as a new year begins. They start this Wednesday episode with some banter about the practice of resolutions before diving into the schedule for the week. That prompts a quick discussion on the Big Money Classic and whether Alaqua Lakes has a reciprocal club in the UK. Then it’s on to the event of the week, the Tournament of Mostly Champions. There’s a lengthy discussion on the uneven lies of Kapalua and the centerline bunker at the 5th hole, prompting another visit down the road of what makes the pros hate those so much. There’s some intel from the ground on some Bryson driving range antics, as well as his “calibration” putting with an umbrella guy trying to stifle the wind. An Activation Station segment focuses on some of the big equipment and apparel brand changes. Lastly, they make some predictions and wish-list items for 2021, some serious and some not-so-serious. And in what is now tradition, what random middling player out there will get the annual Spieth OWGR comparison prop? Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

Pro Shop

As the PGA Tour’s worst-dressed players come out of the woodwork this month, make sure your wardrobe is looking clean in 2021. Start the year off right with The Fried Egg Sport Polo from B. Draddy!