It was a dark ‘n’ stormy night. No wait, it was a night with a lot of Dark ‘n’ Stormies. Enough, in fact, that the future came calling, and it’s name was 2015. I found my way to a comfortable chair, looked deep into my crystal ball washer, and here is what I saw and heard.
Prediction: Roll ’em if you’ve got ’em. It’s going to be a big year for fairway rollers. Salsco, the company that invented fairway rollers, is going to see lots of competition, as anybody and everybody, including the Russian Federal Space Agency, will be bandwagon jumping.
Prediction: Sometime in late April, shortly after the Masters, I’ll be approached by a number of investors willing to bankroll my invention that automatically mutes any make of television, smartphone or tablet whenever anyone on the Golf Channel, CBS or Fox utters the words “Tiger” and “comeback” in the same sentence.
Prediction: In the form of a note that was slipped under my door by a person, or persons, unknown, its contents “written” in cut-out letters of all colors and fonts from golf cards. “Penn State’s famed Center for Turfgrass Science will rescue the bronze statue of Joe Paterno from cold storage and give the effigy of the old ball coach a rightful home,” it read. “Since the center’s main facility is already named for Joe Valentine of Merion fame, the Paterno statue will have to settle for the Turfgrass Breeding Nursery, which will be renamed the Paterno Center for Shallow Burial of Things.”
After the ceremony everyone will have ice cream.
Prediction: Tiger Woods won’t win a major this year. There, I said it and I don’t feel bad. During the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, a wayward drive from Woods will strike Golf Digest columnist Dan Jenkins in the head. Upon Columnist regaining consciousness, Jenkins will laugh at the irony. On the advice of management, Woods won’t.
Fox Sports kicks off its golf coverage this year with Joe Buck and Greg Norman tapped as the lead announcers. Players Corey Pavin, Steve Flesch, Julie Inkster and Brad Faxon will also have microphones, as will former USGA Executive Director David Fay.
Prediction: Fans of the NBC announcers – Johnny Miller et al – who lost their jobs when Fox won the contract will detest the new guys. The detractors of Miller and his pals will find plenty to love, right Rog?
All in all, though, it will be a wash, the same as it ever was, and what we’ll continue to see and hear on ESPN, the Golf Channel and CBS, fawning over players and turning ordinary shots (for the caliber of players we’re watching) into nothing short of miraculous. The only hope is that Faxon, one of the few tour guys that appreciates and gets golf course architecture, will be allowed to enlighten viewers with insights that will make the game more interesting to watch and play.
Prediction: Architect Tom Doak will lose another high-profile contract to David McLay Kidd. In a fit of petulance, Doak, in the second installment of the Confidential Guide to Golf Courses, will award Kidd a minus 1 rating on one of his layouts even though the scale is 0-5.
Prediction: CBS announcer Jim Nantz will be found sobbing inconsolably when during Tuesday of Masters week he spies a piece of brown grass in the middle of the 14th fairway at Augusta National Golf Club. Nantz will regain his composure, and his faith in humanity, when one of the gallery, oh sorry, patrons, informs him it is a piece of fescue that blew over from neighboring Augusta Country Club (ACC). During the broadcast later that day Nantz will wonder aloud, with more than a little disdain in his voice, how the ACC maintenance staff could let such a travesty occur.
Prediction: Without further ado, here is the second-annual Mike Tirico weather forecast. It was Tirico who uttered one of my most favorite golf telecast lines ever, “They’re expecting weather later on.”
It will be dry again in the Northeast, but everywhere else will be a roller coaster ride the result of an El Niño colliding with a La Niña to form the never-before experienced Ella Ninonina.