30 PRE­DIC­TIONS FOR 2018

We of­fer 30 pre­dic­tions about who and what will make head­lines in world golf through­out 2018.

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Golf fans were treated to an ex­hil­a­rat­ing year through­out 2017. Ser­gio Gar­cia fi­nally shook the Ma­jor mon­key o his back after con­quer­ing Au­gusta Na­tional. While Jor­dan Spi­eth be­came Cham­pion Golfer of the Year after that bril­liant shot from the driv­ing range at Royal Birk­dale. Plus, Shan­shan Feng en­sured the South Kore­ans didn’t have it all their way in the women’s game.

Over the next few pages, we re­flect on all the ups and downs that tran­spired dur­ing 2017. From Tiger Woods’ re­turn to Lexi Thomp­son’s con­tro­ver­sial loss at the ANA In­spi­ra­tion. But first, we con­sult our crys­tal ball and turn our at­ten­tion to 2018. Will Jor­dan Spi­eth or Rory McIl­roy com­plete their ca­reer Grand Slams? How will Han­nah Green fare on the LPGA Tour? And who will lay claim to be­ing Aus­tralia’s high­es­tranked player this time next year?

Here’s what we believe will hap­pen over the next 12 months in the world of golf. Jor­dan Spi­eth will win the US PGA and 1 be­come the sixth player to com­plete the ca­reer Grand Slam (post-Mas­ters era). The vic­tory will come three weeks after he sur­ren­ders his ti­tle at the Open Cham­pi­onship but will be enough for him to re­turn to the World No.1 rank­ing. The USGA and R&A will make a joint 2 an­nounce­ment about a sum­mit where or­gan­is­ing bod­ies and in­ter­ested par­ties across the en­tire golf in­dus­try will get to­gether to dis­cuss the fu­ture of the golf ball. The sum­mit will end with both or­gan­i­sa­tions not com­mit­ting to any­thing but dis­cussing the mat­ter fur­ther be­fore re­leas­ing a find­ing at a later date. Dustin John­son will hit a drive over 450 3 yards and add gaso­line to the fiery de­bate over mod­ern equip­ment and balls, but noth­ing will change. Four Aus­tralians – Ja­son Day, Adam Scott, 4 Cameron Smith and Marc Leish­man – will all oc­cupy spots in the Top-20 of the world rank­ing at the same time … a feat that has never been achieved be­fore. Tiger Woods will play a min­i­mum of 15 5 events, in­clud­ing all four Ma­jors, and col­lect five top-10 fin­ishes. His best re­sult will come at Fire­stone Coun­try Club where he will fin­ish run­ner-up to Justin Thomas at the WGCBridge­stone Invitational. He will end the year in the Top-50 of the world rank­ing. Han­nah Green will push for Rookie of the 6 Year honours on the LPGA Tour. Ex­pect a strong per­for­mance from her at the Women’s Aus­tralian Open, be­fore a few months of OK fin­ishes be­fore end­ing the sea­son strong. Green’s big­gest ri­val will be Korean LPGA 7 Tour star Jin Young Ko. The 22-year-old win­ner of 10 KLPGA Tour ti­tles is a se­ri­ous tal­ent and has com­mit­ted to US LPGA Tour mem­ber­ship in 2018. She was over­run by In­bee Park at the Women’s Bri­tish Open in 2015 but has since ac­crued six more ti­tles in her home­land.

Un­der new Chair­man Fred Ri­d­ley, Au­gusta 8 Na­tional will play tougher than it has in re­cent years. In ad­di­tion to a more di cult course setup, one player will be hit with a penalty for slow play in the open­ing two rounds. Peter Lonard will col­lect Aus­tralia’s only 9 Cham­pi­ons Tour win as Bern­hard Langer dom­i­nates the over 50s again. Langer will win five times and face queries around his putting tech­nique from the peanut gallery, while his fel­low Cham­pi­ons Tour com­peti­tors will con­tinue to stay quiet on the is­sue. Phil Mick­el­son will start the year with 10 brother, Tim, as his cad­die but the com­bi­na­tion won’t last out the year. The Mick­el­sons will have a chance to end Phil’s win drought early in the sea­son but fail to get the job done, re­sult­ing in a cad­die switch. Kar­rie Webb won’t add to her 41 ti­tles on 11 the LPGA Tour, but she will go close to win­ning the Women’s Aus­tralian Open at Kooyonga Golf Club. Webb will hold the lead at

AT LONG ODDS, GE­OFF OGILVY WILL WIN AGAIN ON THE PGA TOUR, EARN­ING HIM­SELF A START AT THE 2019 MAS­TERS ...

some stage dur­ing the tour­na­ment. PGA Tour Com­mis­sioner Jay Mon­a­han will 12 an­nounce the 2018 World Cup of Golf to be played in Novem­ber at Mel­bourne’s Met­ro­pol­i­tan GC will see an Amer­i­can ‘Dream Team’ of Justin Thomas and Jor­dan Spi­eth com­pete. Adam Scott and Marc Leish­man will again rep­re­sent Aus­tralia. After once again dom­i­nat­ing the LPGA 13 Tour, South Korean play­ers will amass 15 tour­na­ment vic­to­ries. But a player not from South Korea will end the year as World No.1. At long odds, Geo‡ Ogilvy will win again on 14 the PGA Tour, earn­ing him­self a start at the 2019 Mas­ters, where he will fin­ish in the top-20. Marc Leish­man will col­lect three top-10 15 fin­ishes at the four ma­jors, end­ing the year en­trenched in the world’s top-10 play­ers and se­cur­ing back-to-back Greg Nor­man Medals. Jon Rahm and Ser­gio Gar­cia will part­ner up 16 to form the ‘Span­ish Ar­mada’ at the Ry­der Cup at Le Golf Na­tional, go­ing un­de­feated for the week. Rahm will as­sume a Pa­trick Reed-like role for Europe, lead­ing the team to vic­tory with his emo­tional style of play. Tommy Fleet­wood will fail to de­fend his 17 Race to Dubai ti­tle and will face a di”cult year. The English­man will still win at least one event, but he will drop away in the world rank­ings. Among his three wins for the year, Dustin 18 John­son will add yet an­other WGC ti­tle to his col­lec­tion but will fail to fire in the ma­jors. The World No.1 will con­tinue to be hot and cold on the greens and change put­ters on three or more oc­ca­sions.

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Rory McIl­roy will make it through the sea­son with­out any in­jury in­ter­rup­tions.

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