2016 is an exciting year for golf. Many of the new young players and all the seasoned veterans are ready for golf’s biggest tournaments. Golf’s major championships are just around the corner and, as seen in previous years, players are setting their schedules to peak at the right time. Given the rise and fall of players in the top 10 of the world rankings, it is anyone’s guess who will win golf’s most prestigious events this year.
All professional golfers covet the four Majors: The Masters, US Open, The Open, and PGA Championship. Each unique tournament tests the skill and tenacity of every player. This year proves to be no different. In 1930, Bobby Jones became the only player in modern golf to win all four tournaments in one year. Several other players have come close, but none have achieved this great feat. Given the skill of today’s players, this amazing accomplishment will likely not happen this year either, but everyone keeps waiting and hoping for another grand slam in golf!
Different governing bodies sponsor each Major; played at the same time each year; and except for The Masters, played at different courses. Changing the venue each year poses many unforeseen challenges to the players. Unlike The Masters, players do not gain an advantage from experience by repeatedly playing in the Major tournaments.
April 7 – 10, 2016, The Masters will once again be hosted at Augusta National Golf Club, Georgia. This is the first of the Majors and never disappoints. Generally considered a fan favourite, its lush fairways, receptive greens, and picturesque scenery forces players to focus on course management. The ‘grip it and rip it’ style of the younger players suits Augusta, but course management is still key to winning the green jacket!
June 16 – 19, 2016, U.S. Open, hosted by the USGA, will be played at Oakmont Country Club, Oakmont, Pennsylvania. This is a suburb of Pittsburgh. The US Open always poses a different challenge. World renowned for its treacherous rough and lightning fast greens, this Major is not for the faint of heart. An outstanding short game will help win at Oakmont.
July 14 – 17, 2014, the 145th Open Championship, hosted by the R&A, will be played at Royal Troon. Situated on the west coast of Scotland, this gem of a course has hidden hazards that most North American players will not spot. The wind and weather will be an important factor at this nine time host of The Open. The key to winning this Major is getting off the tee. Hitting the fairway will be the only way to tame this monster.
July 28 – 31, 2016, The PGA Championship, hosted by the Professional Golfers’ Association of America, will be played at Baltusrol Golf Club in Spring Field, New Jersey. This Major will be played on The Lower Course spreads out over rolling parkland. With many artificial obstacles, shot selection will be very important to winning the last golf Major of the year!
The PGA Championship is almost a month earlier than normal. The change of time of this Major was to accommodate the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro from 5 – 21 August. It will be interesting to see if two weeks is enough for The Open Champion to be ready to compete in the last Major of 2016.
To win a Major, specific skills and talents are required. To win all four of these prestigious tournaments in one year takes a complete player. There are only a few players who might fit this description and even less of those have the mental fortitude to compete in all the different venues.
This year, Golf’s ‘Grand Slam’ is safe. The number of great young players is astounding. There is no dominant player that will rise to the top of the leaderboard at each Major. Additionally, I do not see a multiple winner this year either, but one never really knows.
So, after much thought and research, here are my Major Champion predictions for 2016:
- The Masters – Bubba Watson
- The US Open – Phil Mickelson
- The Open – Rory McIlroy
- The PGA Championship – Rickie Fowler
The Major tournaments are the highlight of every golfing season. 2016 will be no different. I am confident you have different picks and I hope you are willing to share them with us! I am looking forward to watching the Majors this year and see how my predictions make out!
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!