Majors 2016: What can we expect?January, 2016 News & Tour
What the five biggest weeks of the golfing year will bring
THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP
Royal Troon, July 14-17
This will be the ninth time the Open has been to this corner of South Ayrshire and, if you’re looking for positive omens of a home win, then you would have to dig quite deeply.
The last six Troon champions have all been American, otherwise you would have to go back to 1923 when Norwich’s Arthur Havers beat Walter Hagen by a shot.
Expect to hear how Troon boasts the shortest, the Postage Stamp 8th (pictured) and the longest, the 601-yard 5th, holes on the rota. It is expected that the club will have women members by July to avoid any awkward questions in the build-up.
Seven courses you must avoid this year
THE US OPEN
Oakmont, June 16-19
One of the very, very best courses in the States and one of the toughest.
Last time here, in 2007, the field broke par for only eight rounds during the tournament and Angel Cabrera, the eventual winner, was the only player to break par twice. He did so by taking the driver more than anyone else and leaving himself shorter recoveries from the rough.
Expect to hear, in detail, about Johnny Miller’s outrageous eight-under 63 in 1973 and Monty’s play-off shirt in 1994. And Oakmont’s fearsome greens – Sam Snead once commented that he tried to mark his ball on one of Oakmont’s greens but the coin slid off.
Augusta National, April 7-10
Time to ask the same old questions and that will start with Rory’s opportunity to tick off the career Grand Slam. He’s getting closer but you still have to go back to the last century to find a European winner.
And whatever the weather or what the current formbook tells us, the fact is that nobody plays Augusta better than Phil Mickelson. Last year was his 15th top-10 finish in just 22 starts as a pro and while a fourth Green Jacket wouldn’t quite eclipse Jack’s record of being the oldest winner, it would make him the fourth oldest Major winner.
THE PGA CHAMPIONSHIP
Baltusrol, July 28-31
In order to accommodate the Olympics in Rio this will be the first time in more than four decades that the Championship has been held outside August, taking place just two weeks after our Open.
The PGA, who will be celebrating their centenary, say that the temperatures should be better for everyone rather than in mid-August. The good news for us is that, being on the east coast, we should get to watch most of the action. The Lower Course, home to Phil Mickelson’s PGA victory in 2005, again plays host.
This club is famous for: Having the world’s best halfway house
THE SUMMER OLYMPICS
Reserva de Marapendi , August 11-14 & 17-20
Sixty men and women will tee it up aiming to be the first golfing gold medallists since 1904. Then, only two nations competed, Canada and the United States, though the latter had 74 of the 77 competitors. The gold medal went to George Lyon, of Canada.
Interestingly there was a team event back then and it was played under a matchplay format, something most of us would like to see this year. With the chance to show the watching world how dramatic and entertaining golf can be, it has been decided that 72-hole strokeplay is the way forward, much the same as every other week on the various Tours around the globe.