2014 Majors: We look ahead to the biggest weeks of the yearJanuary, 2014 News & Tour
What you can expect to happen in the four biggest weeks of the year
Royal Liverpool, July 17-20
About the course: Hosted 10 Opens up to 1967, then followed a 39-year break up to 2006. Modest views but a brilliant, and in the wind (which we never saw), testing course.
What you will see: Given fair skies a host of players experimenting with TW’s ‘iron only’ approach off the tee. He hit one driver in ‘06.
What you won’t see: Sergio playing the final round in anything like the all-yellow ensemble he lined up against Tiger in. Supposedly Woods texted his inner circle ‘I just bludgeoned Tweetie Pie’ after his closing 67.
Augusta National, April 11-14
About the course: We’ve not yet been informed about a new bunker here or there so just expect more of the same. Which is the most immaculate piece of sporting terrain anywhere on the planet.
What you will see: A stream of holes-in-one and near misses in the Par 3 and nobody wanting to win it, other than Gary Player. Otherwise expect Tiger to feature in the top five.
What you won’t see: A conventional set of 14 clubs from Phil Mickelson. The left-hander’s Augusta in-the-bag remains one of the most exciting bits of gear news in the golfing year.
What you will see: Endless re-runs of Boo Weekley whipping his driver as he departs the 1st tee against Oliver Wilson six years ago. The US Open
Pinehurst No.2, June 12-15
About the course: A quite brilliant strategic test with wide fairways but subtle lines of approach. Nicklaus described it as ‘totally tree-lined without a tree coming into play’.
What you will see: Players sweating buckets. In April, with temperatures in the mid 70s, it is perfect. In the middle of June even the local caddies leave town until things have cooled.
What you won’t see: Rough. Unlike other USGA set-ups don’t expect to see graduated rough, there is none. Merely huge waste bunkers ahead of crowned greens.
Valhalla, August 7-10
About the course: The third PGA at this parkland layout, though you’ll probably remember it best as the venue where the USA last won the Ryder Cup. New greens have since been laid to help with the look and playability though a creek still comes into play on four holes.
What you will see: Endless re-runs of Boo Weekley whipping his driver as he departs the 1st tee against Oliver Wilson six years ago.
What you won’t see: Weekley, or Wilson. Positional (ie short) players tend to prosper here so don’t expect your big boys to overpower Valhalla. Cue a 1-2-3 of Johnson D, Colsaerts and Bubba.