1. Learning about expectations
Jordan Spieth enjoyed a superstar's life in 2015, and then discovered what goes along with it in 2016.
Despite winning three times worldwide and contending at the Masters for the third straight year, Spieth learned that criticism doesn't always come with perspective.
By almost any measure, Spieth -- still just 23 -- had an excellent season, winning twice on the PGA Tour and a third time at the Australian Open. He had eight top-10s and finished ninth in the FedEx Cup standings.
Of course, a year earlier, Spieth won five times, including two major championships, the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup title.
A year ago at the Tournament of Champions -- where Spieth returns this week as the PGA Tour season resumes at Kapalua -- he won by 8 shots in the winners-only event, making living up to his 2015 season all the more daunting.
When he failed to convert a 5-shot lead on the final day of the Masters, it understandably made 2016 look ... well, not as good as 2015. Spieth, at times, had to defend his record, which saw him start the year at No. 1 in the world and end it at No. 5.
"Yeah, I think it was a really solid year,'' Spieth said at the Hero World Challenge last month. "My goal since I was 12 was to get a little bit better than (the year previous) and from when I was 12 years old, there was something that I accomplished in the next year that I hadn't done before ...
"This year (2016), I didn't quite accomplish -- I mean, there was going to be a halt at some point. But certainly I would have liked to have closed out the Masters and maybe another chance or two. But '16 was an awesome year, three wins and a team Ryder Cup win. It's hard to ask for much more than that.
"I'm fortunate to be extremely healthy, young, playing this game with my friends, traveling with my friends playing golf at some of the world's best places. It's easy to get caught up in the selfish thing, but ultimately I'll be a lot happier if I think about that. '16 was a great year, I'm really looking forward to '17.''
Spieth simply needs to go about his business. No big changes are necessary. He has targeted his scoring irons as a place for improvement and there is certainly nothing wrong with identifying a weakness.
Perspective is key here. Spieth seems to understand there is a fine line between the historic season he had in 2015 and the one that was still pretty good in 2016.
2. A different schedule
The Tournament of Champions in Hawaii will be Spieth's first start of the 2016-17 season, as he took off after the Ryder Cup until playing the Australian Open and the Hero World Challenge. His schedule going forward -- while not fewer tournaments -- promises to look a little different.
A year ago Spieth played in Hawaii, and then went to events in Abu Dhabi and Singapore before returning for two tournaments in California. Spieth said he is not going overseas this time, but doesn't expect to play any less, perhaps meaning we will see him at Torrey Pines or Phoenix.
3. Tiger sleuthing
Tiger Woods has yet to announce where he will play first in 2017, although a good bet is the Farmers Insurance Open that begins on Jan. 26 at Torrey Pines. Woods has announced that he will play the Genesis Open in February at Riviera, where his foundation is now running the event. Woods is scheduled to be at a media day on Jan. 23 at Riviera, so it would make sense for him to head a few hours down the coast to San Diego afterward. What is unclear is if he will travel to the Middle East the following week for the Omega Dubai Desert Classic on the European Tour, a possibility that still exists.
Whether he does or not, you can expect Woods a few weeks later at Riviera, which begins on Feb. 16, followed by the Honda Classic a week later near his home in Florida.
4. Breaking the Internet
That's pretty much what Tiger Woods did when he tweeted out this message a few days before Christmas.
Xmas tradition that my kids love. Mac Daddy Santa is back! -TW pic.twitter.com/pCWZNNKPRG
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) December 22, 2016
5. And "The Beef'' retorts
Andrew "Beef" Johnston had a pretty good comeback as it related to Tiger's Mac Daddy tweet.
6. Skipping Hawaii
The field for this week's Tournament of Champions at Kapalua is just 32 players, making for a nice tidy resumption of the PGA Tour's 2016-17 schedule. Among those in the field are No. 1 Jason Day -- playing for the first time since withdrawing with back problems in consecutive tournaments at the BMW Championship and Tour Championship. So is U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson, defending champion Spieth and perhaps the hottest player in the world, Hideki Matsuyama.
Of course, the tournament is also missing a few players who are eligible, which is the norm with a world-wide schedule beckoning. Six players who qualified elected not to compete this week, including FedEx Cup champion Rory McIlroy and major champions Danny Willett and Henrik Stenson. The others skipping are Sergio Garcia, Charl Schwartzel and Adam Scott.
Everyone in the field is guaranteed a minimum of $100,000.
7. Masters invites
Letters started arriving in the mail recently inviting qualifiers to the Masters, and the last world ranking of 2016 offered up another way to get into the year's first major championship. There were 12 players in the top 50 who were not otherwise in the Masters field, with the only American in the group Bill Haas at No. 41. Sweden's Alex Noren made one of the biggest jumps, going from 96th at the end of 2015 to ninth on the strength of four European Tour titles. Noren will join Tyrrell Hatton and Thomas Pieters, among others, in making their Masters debuts in April.
8. One who didn't
Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee made a last-minute push to get into the Masters via the top 50, but came up short. Playing in the only remaining world ranking event in 2016 that ended on Christmas Day, Jaidee finished 2 shots back at the Boonchu Ruangkit Championship. The Asian Development Tour event was offering few points, which meant that Jaidee had to win in order to earn enough points to get into the top 50. He finished 54th in the rankings, but can still get a Masters invite by being among the top 50 on March 27.
9. Masters countdown
The time between the PGA Championship and the Masters is measured in long months, but there is now light to be seen as it relates to the first major championship of 2017. On Thursday, it will be 91 days until the first round at Augusta National.