Top 5 predictions for the 2014 golfing year
By: Ross Starkey

Making big, early golfing predictions can make you look clever, but get them wrong and, hopefully, everyone will have forgotten what you said by the time it all pans out entirely differently. Take a look at what we predict for golfing year ahead.

Tiger Woods not winning a major in 2013 was a bit of a surprise for many pundits out there. A fact that convinced many of them Woods will never be the player he was. This is true, he won't. But then no one ever will. He set the bar so high during the 6 years of complete dominance between 2000 and 2006 that its hard for anyone, before or after to be compared otherwise, including Tiger himself. However, five wins on the PGA Tour last year and the fact he competed near the top of the leaderboard in two of the four majors, means he is rightfully back to the top of the tree. At the Masters, on any other day he might even have gotten away with a rules infraction to win if it hadn't been for those pesky kids with their smart phones!

Prediction No. 1: Tiger Woods to win all four majors, (or at least three, but definitely two).

Jordan Spieth had a wonderful rookie year on the PGA Tour last season  winning the John Deere Classic and picking up nearly $4,000,000 in the process. He's already started this season in the same vein with a second place at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii. Now he finds himself world ranked number 17. With a Presidents Cup appearance already behind him, he looks a certainty to pick up further wins this season and make in to Tom Watson's team to travel to Gleneagles in September. There's no getting away from it, Spieth is the real-deal, a boy-wonder following in the footsteps of Sergio Garcia and Rory McIlroy. If he continues like this he way well be eyeing up the majors pretty soon. That said he must avoid any temptation to join the 'Dark Side' and enter into any contractual agreement with Nike when they inevitably come calling.

Prediction No. 2: Spieth to hole the winning putt on the 18th green at Gleneagles in the singles to defeat Ian Poulter and win the Ryder Cup back for America.

Talking of Ian Poulter, I like him a lot, he's a grafter that thoroughly enjoys what all the hard work his golf game has achieved for him and his family. Poults, is a solid Top Twenty player, he has been for years, the only thing missing is a few more tournament wins or (even, dare I say it) a major title. Its Ryder Cup year, and I don't want to get carried away but it always brings the best out of Poults. I'd be very surprised if he didn't raise his game somewhat this year in preparation for the 'Showdown in Scotland'.

Prediction No. 3: Ian Poulter to win a PGA Tournament before September.

I have been impressed with Lydia Ko from the moment she started winning whilst still managing to maintain a slightly geeky, if awkward appearance. I liked her even more when she announced, via an amusing YouTube release, her intention to go professional. With five majors up for grabs in 2014 (or is it six now, its hard to keep up), I can see further strong performances coming. Had the Evian Championship gone the full 72 holes, who knows, she could already be the youngest major winner in women's golf.

Prediction No. 4: Ko to win a major and become the youngest player to achieve the feat.

Making a prediction on Phil Mickelson is like betting red or black on roulette, the odds are you'll win your fair share of spins, but the house always comes out on top. Lefty is a bit like that, you'd think he'd have won his own National Championship at least once by now right? But alas he's still wearing a frilly dress and has a sore neck from all the peering back down the aisle. Then you'd think he didn't have the game to win The Open and bang, he flys in, wins the Scottish Open, pops back across to see his daughter graduate in California and then back again to polish the Claret Jug with his massive goofy smile. But I'll tell you one thing, he'll not win the US Open this year!

Prediction No. 5: Mickelson to come up frustratingly short again at Pinehurst No.2, eliciting a breakdown and signalling the end of his career as we know it.

So there you go, our top 5 predictions for the 2014 golfing year and if any of them pan out we'll be the first to say "we told you so!"


(photo courtesy Jim Epler)