What will 2018 hold in store for golf’s biggest names? Will Dustin Johnson remain world number one? Will Rory Mcllroy rediscover his best form? And how will Tiger Woods perform on his return to action this year?
It’s never easy making predictions for professional golf—the sport can be unpredictable. However, we’ve made three calls on what we could see unfold in 2018.
Jordan Spieth or Justin Thomas to win a major
Among the predictions for professional golf, this might be the most likely. They are besties and revelled in each other’s victories in majors last year. Spieth won the Open Championship in dramatic circumstances before Thomas won his first major, and the year’s last, when he triumphed in the PGA Championship. For Spieth, it was a third major in as many years—he now only needs the PGA Championship to complete a career Grand Slam. Whether that will come remains to be seen, but we fully expect him to win at least one of the four majors in 2018. Thomas has to show he can match his efforts of 2017, a year in which he also won the FedEx Cup series. We think he is a seriously emerging talent and one who will challenge Spieth for the world number one spot this year. One of them should win a major…if not both.
Tiger Woods to finish in the top five at a major
Tiger Woods hasn’t played in a major since the Masters in April 2015, missing the last 11 in a row. He has not played in the Masters for two years and failed to play in the last U.S. Opens, Open Championships and PGA Championships. You have to go back to the 2008 U.S. Open for the last of Woods’ 14 major victories. Almost a decade on he remains four short of Jack Nicklaus record haul of 18. Woods is set to return to the majors this year after making a successful comeback from 10 months out with a back injury. We fully expect him to be competitive in at least one of them. He might not have the game to be winning yet, but expect Woods to finish in the top five.
United States to win the Ryder Cup
The last of the predictions for professional golf is regarding the Ryder Cup—it will travel to France for the first time. The international competition will see the European Team and their United States counterparts battle it out over three days at Le Golf National in Paris. The Americans currently hold the Samuel Ryder trophy after winning on home soil at Hazeltine in 2016—the third win in the last 11 Ryder Cup tournaments—and look set to have the stronger of the two teams nine months out from the September showdown. Will Jim Furyk’s star-studded team retain the cup? They will start as strong favourites, but you’ll need to go back to 1993 for the last United States win on European soil which occurred at the Belfry. That doesn’t do much to advertise the claims of the US, but the 17-11 win two years ago suggests this could be an American team to dominate for some time.
See also: Key Dates and Golf Events in 2018