When Scottie Scheffler (Titleist Pro V1) was named the 2021-22 PGA Player of the Year, I immediately thought of my buddy Andy Bankuti.
I’ve mentioned Andy often in my blogs because he’s really astute when it comes to betting on the PGA Tour – and has cashed some nice tickets – but a year ago around this time he said something profound in an interview I did with him.
I mentioned that I thought Viktor Hovland (Titleist Pro V1) was a player to watch heading into the 2021-22 season, but he told to pay attention to Scottie Scheffler (Titleist Pro V1), who at the time hadn’t won a PGA Tour event.
“He’s going to be a force to be reckoned with,” Andy said. “He’s my dark horse. I think he’s going to perform really well. I think he’s going to go on a run. He’s the guy I’m going to ride. I think he’s going to be huge. I thought last season he was getting more aggressive. I think he’s going to be a top-10 guy on the PGA Tour – by far. If there was a bet to be in the top-five, I’d bet on that for sure. If there was a prop for who’s going to be on top, I might bet him for that.”
Is that amazing or what in retrospect? Andy is a modern-day Nostradamus.
Here’s what he said about Hovland.
“I think he’s fantastic, but he’s not a dark horse,” Andy said. “He’s like a 2-1 shot compared to a 10-1 shot like Scottie Scheffler. He’s expected to be there. There’s not even a question. Hovland is the guy that’s supposed to be the guy, whereas with Scott Scheffler I think his game is going to get better. His determination is going to make him better.”
Because of what Andy said, I made sure to pay special attention to Scottie Too Hottie, which is my handle in one of the golf pools in which I’m involved. It’s a Survivor Pool and I’m still alive, so to speak.
I’m also looking forward to participating in my third season in the PG Golf Pool. I had some high points, including picking Scheffler to win the Masters, but there were many times I simply picked the wrong players at the wrong time. You are only allowed to pick one player two times a year and I went with Rory McIlroy (TaylorMade TP5x) way too early.
It's funny how he got hot at about the time Scheffler started to lose the momentum he had in the spring and summer.
I think in Rory’s case, that incredible finish in the Masters, in particular holing out from the bunker to close out the tournament with one of the most amazing shots you’ll ever see and a seven-under par for the round, was a harbinger of what was to come.
There’s something amazing about being in a pool. You’re picking one player in a Survivor Pool and hoping he makes the cut or you’re picking two players or more. It is some kind of feeling following it.
I wasn’t really close at all in the PG Golf Pool, but it was fun. It’s a small investment and each week represents a new challenge and new hope. For the four days of the tournament, I am either glued to my TV or constantly refreshing the leaderboard on the internet. I’m quite sure I am the only one doing this because, well, people aren’t wired like I am.
In a few weeks I’ll reveal Andy’s thoughts on the 2022-23 season in a few weeks.