We are just days away from the start of the 2017 PGA Tour season, and there is so much to look forward to.
What kind of year will Jordan Spieth have? Can anybody win multiple majors in 2017?
Our panel sifts through those questions and more in this week's edition of Monday Four-Ball.
1. What do you expect from Jordan Spieth in 2017?
ESPN SportsCenter anchor Jonathan Coachman: I expect a big-time bounce-back. I expect at least one win, and I think he will face his demons at Augusta. By the time he tees it up there, he will be just fine. I also think he will speed up his play, which will help him indirectly recover faster to bad things that happen. This will be a big year for Spieth, and I fully expect him to control his own destiny by being in the top 5 in Atlanta at the Tour Championship.
ESPN.com senior golf writer Michael Collins: Spieth will have a season somewhere between 2015 and 2016. He won't win two majors, but he'll contend in three. I see him winning three times in 2017, with one of those wins being either a major or the Players Championship.
ESPN.com senior golf writer Bob Harig: Getting in the mix again in all the majors and bouncing back from 2016 -- a term Spieth hates. He says last year was a strong one, in which he recorded two victories and was a poor back nine from winning a second Masters. And he's right. But he contended in all the majors in 2015 and won five times. Expect him closer to 2015 than 2016.
ESPN.com senior golf editor Kevin Maguire: A multiple-win season, which isn't a given considering the depth of talent on the PGA Tour these days. I'd expect at least serious contention in a couple of majors, with a good chance of winning one. Spieth's return to Augusta National will be watched closely, especially after a year when his blowup on the 12th hole cost him a second green jacket. His reaction under that microscope could foretell how the rest of his year will go.
ESPN.com senior golf writer Jason Sobel: Something between his 2015 season and his 2016 season. Two years ago, Spieth had a historic year, winning the Masters and U.S. Open, then nearly duplicating the feat at the Open Championship and PGA Championship. Last year was largely viewed as a down year for him, even though he points out that he won three times -- two as an individual plus the Ryder Cup, which he counts toward his personal total. About 99 percent of the PGA Tour would love to have that kind of "down year," but I think Spieth will be even better in 2017. Just don't expect him to win two majors every year; that's setting the bar too high.
2. Which top-10 player has the best chance to win multiple majors in 2017?
Coachman: Rory McIlroy. Winning the Tour Championship in spectacular fashion reminded him of how dynamic and powerful he is. He still needs a green jacket to complete the career Grand Slam. We know his game travels anywhere, and now that he is locked in on just golf again, the sky is the limit. He absolutely is playing well enough to win two majors this year.
Collins: Dustin Johnson has the game that could win three majors this coming year. I don't think he'll do it, but his game and swing is now built for it. I don't believe any man will win multiple majors in 2017.
Harig: Dustin Johnson. One of these days he will contend at Augusta, and he has proven that he can play well at U.S. Open courses. The Open venues are also ripe for him. Nobody would be surprised to see D.J. take more than one major.
Maguire: Rory McIlroy. Even though he doesn't own a green jacket yet, Augusta National is still set up well for the Northern Irishman. And if nothing else, the PGA Championship will be at Quail Hollow, a course he has won on before, even though it will have undergone somewhat of a facelift prior to 2017.
Sobel: As I wrote in an edition of Four-Ball recently, Rory McIlroy's best is slightly better than the best of every other elite player. He could provide some separation between himself and the field this year. It has been eight tries since his last major win, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see him peel off two in a row during a hot stretch, just like he did back in 2014.
3. Which major are you looking forward to most in 2017?
Coachman: Masters. I can hardly stand it. It's always my favorite, but think about the storylines. Can Spieth bounce back? Can McIlroy complete the career Grand Slam? Is Jason Day going to get healthy? And last, but not least, which Tiger Woods will drive down Magnolia Lane to return to the Masters? Hopefully for Woods, he'll collect another green jacket.
Collins: The Masters. It's the Super Bowl, Daytona 500, Kentucky Derby and Christmas Eve at church (even if you're not religious, you can appreciate the beauty) all wrapped up in one. So much hope and expectations -- and a new bazillion-dollar media center for us! Honestly, it's the tournament I miss the most, yet as soon as I get there, I can't wait to leave.
Harig: The Masters. It is the next one, and yet so far away. There is always a good bit of anticipation for the first one.
Maguire: The Masters always gets the juices flowing, but I'm also looking forward to the U.S. Open since it's on a course that so few players, and even fewer fans, have seen. Erin Hills in Wisconsin will provide a unique test where par is a good score -- that's a given. Hopefully it's a little less controversial than Chambers Bay in 2015, the last time the USGA went to an unknown venue.
Sobel: The Masters. Why? Because it's the Masters. That's why.
4. Which PGA Tour event (non-major category) are you most looking forward to?
Coachman: The Zurich Classic in New Orleans. I love that it has been changed into a team event. I love that guys can pick their own partners like Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson. Add that there are full FedEx Cup points on the line, and I believe this event is going to become one of the most popular stops on tour because it is so different. We saw this year that partner events are becoming increasingly more popular, and this one will be at the top of the list for me.
Collins: The Zurich Classic. It has been a while since there was a team event that counted. I'm already jacked up about how many players have already started talking to potential partners. When a format like this has buzz this early behind the scenes, instead of scorn or trepidation, it makes me proud of the men playing and representing our sport today.
Harig: The Zurich Classic of New Orleans. The change to a two-man team format has given this tournament a boost. It will be interesting to see how it is embraced and if it leads to other unique formats.
Maguire: It has nothing to do with the golf inside the ropes, but the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill will likely be one of the most emotional tournaments of the year. With The King's passing last September, expect plenty of tributes to Palmer that will exemplify just how beloved he is, both in golf and sports in general.
Sobel: It's early in the year, but I think the Farmers Insurance Open has a chance to put golf on the map of the mainstream sports landscape early -- and keep it there. Played in the week between the NFL's conference championship games and the Super Bowl, the festivities at Torrey Pines could set the tone for what should be another entertaining year in the game.