We look ahead to some things we know and some things we think will happen over the next 10 years. By Tom Ellis
10 Things To Expect In The World Of Golf This Decade
1. St Andrews hosting the 150th Open Championship
The Home of Golf is set to host The Open once again in 2021, as the 150th Open Championship takes place over the world-renowned Old Course.
The Open is the world’s oldest golf tournament and the 150th playing is sure to be a week to remember.
One Golfer will get a chance to add their name to the realm of honour which includes the likes of Sir Nick Faldo, Tiger Woods, Seve Ballesteros and Jack Nicklaus.
The Old Course last hosted The Open in 2015, where Zach Johnson was victorious.
Johnson Defeated Aussie, Marc Leishman and South African, Louis Oosthuizen in a four hole playoff to win his second Major title.
Despite the bleak weather and flooding on the East Coast of Scotland, 237,000 fans flocked to St Andrews during the week’s play.
St Andrews hosts the record for the highest ever Open Championship attendance in 2000 when Tiger Woods won his first Claret Jug and fourth Major.
Tiger Woods’ resurgence in Majors could see him as a leading contender to win the 150th playing, having won three Open Championships and two of them at St Andrews.
It will be the 30th time St Andrews has hosted the Open.
2. Olympic Golf at Le Golf National
Paris is set to host the 2024 Summer Olympics after winning the vote unanimously.
Now, with golf a permanent fixture at the greatest show on earth, can we expect to see the finest players teeing it up at the Le Golf National again?
For championship courses in Paris’ vicinity, the Olympic committee can look no further than Le Golf National.
The course hosts the French Open annually and also featured as the 2018 Ryder Cup battleground.
The 2018 Ryder Cup produced some magical moments, including the dominance of ‘Moliwood’ and ‘The Postman” Ian Poulter celebrating dressed as a Postbox.
Whilst we’ve heard no announcements just yet, we can expect to see the Olympics played at the 30-year-old course.
3. New US Major venues
Three courses will host the USPGA Championship in the coming decade that have never staged Majors before.
TPC Harding Park (2020), Trump National Golf Club, Bedminster (2022) and PGA Frisco (2027) will host Majors for the first time with the venues being selected by the PGA of America.
TPC Harding Park in San Francisco hosts this year’s USPGA Championship.
The course, which hosted the 2015 WGC-Match Play won by Rory McIlroy, is located in south west San Francisco on Lake Merced.
Trump National Bedminster is 40 miles from New York City and owned The Trump Organisation.
The monster 7,580yd course hosted the US Women’s Open in 2017, won by Sung-Hyun Park, with a score of -11. Also in 2017, it became one of the only three official Presidential Residencies.
PGA Frisco is to be the new headquarters of the PGA of America.
The $500 million project will occupy 600 acres of land in Frisco, Texas.
The project includes a new 500-room Omni hotel, headquarters building, 36 holes of championship golf, a 10-hole short course and practice facilities.
Construction is to finish in 2021, with a “grow-in” period to follow.
Golf will be open for play in June 2022.
Some classic courses have already been announced to host the USGA’s tournament this decade, featuring the likes of Torrey Pines, Pebble Beach and Pinehurst N0.2.
The Los Angeles Country Club is a debutant on the US Open and Major fixture list.
The course was venue for the 2017 edition of the Walker Cup and showed off George C. Thomas’ magnificent design.
The Hollywood facility has a 36-hole course and entertains a small circle of members and guests.
The North Course underwent an extensive renovation by Gil Hanse in 2010.
The club then contacted the USGA expressing interest in hosting the 2017 Walker Cup, which led to it landing the 2023 US Open.
2022 will see the return of The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts after a 34 year absence.
It is one of the USGA’s five founding clubs.
The US Open has been played at The Country Club three times, with all three ending in a playoff, most recently with Curtis Strange beating Nick Faldo in 1988.
4. Ryder Cup at Adare Manor
British and Irish fans will get the first chance in 12 years to witness a Ryder Cup contested on home soil as the great competition heads to Adare Manor in County Limerick, Ireland, in 2026.
Owned by Businessman and Racehorse owner JP McManus, Adare Manor is a five star resort that underwent a multi-million pound renovation with the goal of one day hosting the Ryder Cup.
The course re-opened in April 2018 after a two year reconstruction headed by Tom Fazio.
The result is truly spectacular with Adare now resembling Augusta National in terms of conditioning.
It re-entered our Top 100 at no.25.
During the design process, Fazio consulted 2020 Ryder Cup Captain, Padraig Harrington, for some player insights and ideas.
As a celebration of the course reopening, Shane Lowry and Padraig Harrington were joined by four-time Major Champion, Rory McIlroy, and former Ryder Cup Captain, Paul McGinley, for a charity exhibition match.
It is 7,509 yards long, with a par of 72 from the Championship tees.
Look out for the 41 bunkers, filled with 220,000 tones of sand, and the 14th hole which features a looming water hazard.
5. Rory McIlroy ending Masters heartache
With another 10 cracks at the Masters, health permitting, there is no reason why Rory McIlroy cannot assert himself as one of the all-time greats and complete the Career Grand Slam this decade.
Last year was a very profitable one for Rors, cashing over $22m, but it was another year without a Major title.
You would have to go back six years to 2014 to find McIlroy’s last Major victory, however he has been close to winning again recently.
The magnolia trail has left Rory in the top-10 in five out of the last six years at the tournament he wants to win so much.
A strong weekend in 2015 gave McIlroy his highest finish at Augusta where he opened with two 71s before a 68 on Saturday and a superb 66 on Sunday.
It was still six shy of the red-hot Jordan Spieth who finished at -18.
The new attitude of the superstar has him back in good stead and playing the best golf of his career, and one can think it is only a matter of time before he completes ‘The Slam’.
6. Record-breaking Tiger
Woods has the opportunity to separate himself from the rest and break two huge records this decade set by Jack Nicklaus and Sam Snead.
Woods has proved he can still compete and be successful even at his tender age of 44.
His Masters victory (2019) and Tour Championship triumph (2018) have illustrated his class and willingness to never give in.
Tiger currently sits on the brink of history with his 82 worldwide wins and 15 Major titles.
Needing to win three more Majors to equal Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18, four majors per year and 10 years – give him forty attempts.
The next time ‘The Big Cat’ wins he will overtake Sam Snead and hold the record for most PGA Tour wins in history.
If Tiger was to win a Major past the year 2025 he would be the oldest player to ever win one but he would need to continue playing for the next 33 years to take Jerry Barber’s record.
Barber holds the record for being the the oldest to ever compete in a PGA Tour tournament, setting the record when he played the 1994 Buick Invitational at the whopping age of 77.
7 . The Chronicles of Phil Mickelson coming to an end?
The charismatic Phil Mickelson enters the twilight of his outstanding career in this decade.
As he arrives in his 23rd year on Tour, Mickelson like McIlroy, is chasing the Career Grand Slam.
Lefty has five Major titles thus far but requires a US Open title to complete the slam.
If Mickelson can continue to roll-back the years with vintage performances, like at the 2018 WGC-Mexico Championship, he could land a spot on the 2022 Ryder Cup team in Rome.
If Phil were to achieve this he would be the oldest player to ever play in Ryder Cup, outlasting Raymond Floyd, who was 51 years-old in 1993.
However, that does look unlikely as he missed out on the 2019 USA Presidents Cup team so will need a good year to even make the 2020 side.
Mickelson’s unique short game and creativity has made him a fan favourite over the years.
The Californian is currently 49 years-old and has 51 professional wins, as he turns 50 in June he will then be eligible to play on the PGA Tour Champions.
Time will tell how long “Phil” is yelled from the galleries of PGA Tour tournaments.
8. Rome Ryder cup
2022 sees the Ryder Cup travel to Italy for the first time ever.
Marco Simone Golf and Country Club is 10 miles from the ancient city.
The Italians saw off the bids of Germany, Austria and Spain to host the prestigious tournament.
The club was named after the Castle of Marco Simone, which was a fortified manor farm.
The tower was said to be built in the year 1o00.
It’s also expected that Lee Westwood will captain the Europeans.
9. Golf coverage returning to terrestrial TV
Sky Sports do a fantastic job with the coverage week-by-week but golf is in desperate need of some free-to-air tournament coverage.
After Sky Sports took sole custody of all four Majors and the PGA & European Tours, the casual fan needs a subscription to consume the professional game.
Some believe that having golf tournaments broadcast on terrestrial television would see a positive spike in participation, ignite interest and grow the popularity of the players.
Other sports like football, rugby, horse racing, snooker, athletics, tennis and gymnastics all get exposure on Terrestrial TV and therefore are in the public eye much more than golf.
Returning the big tournaments like The Masters and The Open Championship to free-to-air TV would do wonders for the sport, and there is hope of that happening, at least for The Open, after the Lords’ recommended it returned to terrestrial TV.
10. United World Tour
The idea that the two main Tours (PGA Tour & European Tour) could join forces is a mouth-watering prospect and something that we could see in the next decade.
If those two Tours don’t align, there could still be a World Tour through other organisations.
Having all the best players in the world playing against each other week-in week-out would be fantastic for viewing numbers and also for fans.
As it stands, players are spreading themselves across around 50 events each year on different tours and the result is diluted tournaments each week.
Fans want to see the best against the best each week and a ‘World Tour’ is beginning to look inevitable.
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