It’s time again for a look on down the road, through the mist, the exhaust, the dimming twilight, to see what the future holds for the world of golf.
This year, let’s begin with the past.
1. Annually I forecast that Tiger Woods will not win one of golf’s majors, and I’m doing it again. I’ve never been wrong since I started prognosticating Woods’ finishes in the four tournaments that count the most.
Woods won’t sniff at one title, not even close. Sure, he’ll be in the hunt after the first round of one of them and that will give golf television talkers a reason to lose their collective marbles, but come Sunday, Woods will be on his jet home before the leaders make the turn.
We’ll hear throughout the season that Woods thinks he is close to getting his swing back. Unless he means the swing that used to be in his childhood backyard, he’ll be wrong.
2. For much of the golf season the following phrase will be heard for the driving ranges of northeastern Maine to the putting greens of southwestern California: “Why in the heck is the PGA Championship being played at Quail Hollow?” Many will respond to the question, although none will have a satisfactory answer.
3. The president of the United States will be accused by the president of the Russian Federation of cheating during a round of golf at an over-watered golf course in Florida owned by the U.S. president. Video evidence from television networks in Liechtenstein and Equatorial Guinea will not only prove the Russian president wasn’t lying but also that the American head of state has a hell of a foot wedge.
4. Augusta National Golf Club will continue to purchase property in Augusta, Georgia, until the club eventually owns the entire town. Almost every building will be leveled, save a couple of liquor stores and a gas station, with the newly opened areas turfed with bentgrass and mowed at an ungodly low height. The municipality will be renamed Hootieville.
John Daly will be banned from parking his RV within the town’s limits.
5. To the chagrin of many obsessive-compulsive bosses, researchers at Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Melioration will determine that people who arrive at an appointment five minutes early are, in fact, early and not on time. Those who arrive at the designated time are, in fact, on time and not late.
In related findings, researchers at the University of Nouakchott will prove that those who think five minutes early is on time and that being on time is late have control issues.
6. Alex Noren will be the Champion Golfer of the Year, and you’ll know everything about the Swede before the year’s end as he elevates himself to the elite level of professional golf.
7. There is no way I will see two better club-throwing displays in 2017 than I did this year. The longest helicoptering heave, which was measured by laser, was 52 feet. It came following three consecutive chunked approaches from inside 100 yards. The form and style with which the club was fired was something to behold. The second throwing display was a rare two-club toss. The player, after a few tense moments of indecision about which iron to use for a delicate out-of-the-rough, greenside chip, finally chose his preferred wedge and promptly duffed the shot. First the club with which the error was made was flung in the direction of the next tee, and the wedge that had been rejected and had been lying innocently nearby soon followed it.
8. The Olympic Golf Course in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will temporarily be saved from a predicted early death by an infusion of money from the International Olympic Committee, which it will do in order to save face. The IOC promised the course would help the growth of golf in Brazil, but they were wrong. The resuscitation will be temporary, and the golf course will soon succumb to nature – and when it does, Brazilians won’t care.
9. Finally, in 2017 you – yes, you – will be rightfully rewarded for your efforts on the job. You will accept the accolades with grace and humility.