As the calendar winds down on the calendar for the year 2019 there are many things to look at and think about. Tigers Woods wins at The Masters and in doing do he collectively “flipped off” all of the naysayers who said that he was done. How does crow taste by the way?
At Bethpage, the polarizing Brooks Koepka claimed the Wanamaker Trophy in winning the PGA Championship. He may not win regular events, but he’s a threat every time he tees it up in a Major. The very likable Gary Woodland won the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. His first Major championship. You had a feeling that it was going to come eventually. But if there was a newly minted Major champion that you have to like and feel good about. Shane Lowry would be that guy. It was fun watching him win the Open Championship. He really ended up running away with the Claret Jug besting runner-up Tommy Fleetwood by 6 strokes.
As we fast-forward to 2020 I thought that it might be fun to make bold predictions regarding the 2020 Major tournaments. Oh, and before anyone suggests it, no I will not talk about The Players Championship. My opinion is to just leave it as it is. A stand-alone tournament for… The Players. So without further delay. Here we go!
(Injuries and unforeseen circumstances can really put a damper on these things)
The Masters – Is it just me or can you practically smell the azaleas, dogwood, and pine straw already. Honestly, I don’t know what it smells like there but I have an image, or smell, conjured in my imagination. It’d be easy to pick Tiger to win The Masters and repeat. Seeing that, as it stands now he is the favorite to win again according to oddsmakers. So with that said. Here’s my pick. This guy made putts on the fast and firm greens of Royal Melbourne during the Presidents Cup. He’s long and has the control. My pick. Justin Thomas.
PGA Championship – TPC Harding Park will be the venue for the 2020 PGA Championship. The “San Francisco Treat” was named after avid golfer and former President, Warren G. Harding and opened in 1925. Tight tree-lined fairways and small undulating greens were the norms of courses designed in this time frame. A premium will be placed on accuracy and iron play. Will length be a determining factor in this one? Maybe not. Then again, is length really a factor for many of these guys?
My pick had a sneaky journeyman-like 2019 campaign. A pretty good striker of the golf ball his iron play is solid, putting is good and has adequate length for a 7,200-yard golf course. Currently ranked #8 in the world. My pick is Justin Rose to heave the Wanamaker Trophy over his head. Sorry about the jinx Rosey!
The U.S. Open – A Father’s Day tradition. Sticking with the theme of golf courses designed in the 1920’s Winged Foot Golf Club is another golf course that features tight fairways and distinct green complexes. The A.W. Tillinghast-designed gem has hosted a cacophony of major events including some prior U.S. Open’s. What separates this course from TPC Harding Park? The USGA. I hope the USGA does what it does best. Set the course up in such a way that it makes professional golfers irate.
If this thing ends up a “Battle of Attrition” you have to like Brooks Koepka‘s chances. It might be an unpopular choice because he’s as polarizing a player as there is in professional golf. He may not win a ton of PGA TOUR events but he really shows up for the Major’s and he loves the U.S. Open. We don’t know how bad his injury truly is that kept him out of the Presidents Cup. His health could be a factor.
The Open Championship – The 149th Open Championship will take place at Royal St. George’s. The venue last hosted the Open Championship in 2011 which was won by Darren Clarke (his first and last). While I can see the likes of Rose and Tommy Fleetwood contending here I think both come up just short. Weather is always a factor during the Open Championship perhaps a little less so in England than in Scotland or Ireland for that matter. So if it’s cold and crappy out that could hurt an “old guy” riddled with past injuries (Tiger Woods).
With all things being equal and taking the lousiest weather conditions into consideration I like Rory McIlroy to win the Open Championship. He had a solid 2019, really solid in fact and I just think he’ll continue to roll in 2020.
It’ll be fun to watch all of the Major championships in 2020. I think the collection of courses by architects of the 1920s makes the events more intriguing. You know what else will be fun? Watching my picks “crash and burn”.
Until The Next Tee!!