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Golf Australia Express : OTG Express 128
Our Prediction Result Mark SCOTTY WILL BECOME NO. 1 Hardly an outrageous prediction, but it’s one we’ll take anyway. Adam Scott’s sterling 2013 season, disappointing latter half of 2012 and consistent 2014 combined to deliver the Australian the world’s top ranking on May 18. He hung onto it for 11 weeks, too, before Rory McIlroy’s all-conquering charge saw the Northern Irishman take it from him. A JASON’S MAJOR DAY WILL COME He was close (again), but Jason Day’s major duck quacked again this year. After three top 10 finishes at majors in 2013, we were certain the young Australian was due, but an injury-interrupted season made it difficult for him to get anything going. The closest he came was a tie for fourth at the US Open, and he failed to crack the top 10 at any of the other three. D TIGER WILL REMAIN MAJORLESS With Tiger Woods’ scoring average on the final day of majors in 2013 sitting at over 72, we said he’d fail to add to his trophy cabinet at any of the big ones this year. Turns out his game was sicker than we thought. Not only did Woods not win a major, he didn’t win a single tournament, and made just five cuts from seven tournaments in an injury-ravaged year. A SMARTPHONES CAUSING A STIR With players now allowed to check the weather on their smartphones during a round, we thought there might be a few players hauled over the coals for doing a little more than that. But we’re yet to hear of a case where someone on course (or at home) dobs a player in for whipping out his iPhone mid-round. A non-event. D BALL SHORTAGE IN FIJI The PGA Tour of Australasia travelled to Fiji for the first time in 2014, with Natadola Bay hosting the tour’s newest event. Having played the course a couple of years ago, we knew what awaited the field, and suggested there might be a new record set for balls lost such is the depth and intensity of the flora lining the fairways. While we don’t have exact numbers on how many balls the course ate over the four days, only five players finished the tournament under par, with the cut line at a whopping 6-over and only 35 players finishing better than 10-over after four days. B+ KO READY TO GO We weren’t the only ones suggesting that Lydia Ko would waste no time in making her first professional season one to remember. But even she couldn’t have imagined a debut pro season in which she won three times, collecting the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic in April, the Marathon Classic in July and then rounding out the year with the CME Group Tour Championship in November, which not only netted her the $500,000 winner’s cheque, but also a $1 million bonus for finishing atop the Race to CME Globe. A+ STENSON TO DROP OFF Henrik Stenson couldn’t repeat his amazing 2013, could he? Our crystal ball told us that the Swedish star wouldn’t back up his year in which he won the Deutsche Bank Championship and the Tour Championship. While his year didn’t exactly stink – he won the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai for the second year in the row – he failed to win on the PGA Tour, but did achieve his career-high ranking of No. 2 in May. C JIMENEZ TO BREAK OWN RECORD. AGAIN. In Jimenez we trust. The cigar-wielding Spaniard became the oldest ever European Tour winner at 49 years old in 2013, we reckoned he might go one better and salute after passing the half-century. Not only did he prove us right, he did it at his home tournament, the Open de Espana, after winning a three-way playoff against Richard Green and Thomas Pieters. A+ LEWIS NO LONGER THE BRIDESMAID Stacy Lewis was oh-so-close to making good on our three-pronged prediction for her 2014 season. We tipped her to rack up a heap of victories this year, and she made good on that score with wins at the North Texas LPGA Shootout, the ShopRite LPGA Classic and the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. We correctly tipped her to reclaim the word No.1 ranking, which she did in June. But we thought there might be a major title among her wins, and unfortunately the American had to settle for second place at the US Women’s Open and third at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. B MCILROY OF OLD RETURNING A dirty, dirty 2013 had the world wondering whether Rory McIlroy would ever get out of his own way long enough to start winning again. We said he’d put the year from hell behind him and start claiming trophies. And did he what. Three PGA Tour wins, including the British Open and the PGA Championship, took him back to No.1 in the world. Statements don’t come much more emphatic than that. A+ U.S. RAIDING THE RYDER CUP Should have known better than to trust the Americans. Probably should have also known better than to tip something that hasn’t happened since 1993. Our forecast of a United States smash ‘n’ grab mission to Gleneagles didn’t quite pan out, with Europe trouncing the Yanks 16 1⁄2 to 11 1⁄2. F WIE WILL WIN ONE She did it! We were well and truly on Michelle Wie’s corner as she attempted to end a four-year drought on the LPGA Tour and add to her two career titles. Not only did she do as we projected and finally get another win - at the LPGA Lotte Championship in April - she then added a fourth. And it was a big ‘un. Wie became a major championship winner after holding off Stacy Lewis by two strokes at the US Open and finally silencing all of those critics. A PLENTY MORE FIRST-TIME WINNERS There were 13 players who broke through for their first PGA Tour title in 2013, and we said the trend would continue the following season. While unheralded players didn’t win in quite so prolific numbers, they weren’t far off, with 10 maiden champions finding the Promised Land. The best part was most definitely when Aussies Steven Bowditch and Matt Jones became two of them in consecutive weeks at the Valero Texas Open and Shell Houston Open. B report card... 2014 GIVENthe scrutiny the golfing media put the world’s top players under each and every week, it’s only fair that our own performance is thrown under the microscope from time to time. In January, we made a series of predictions about what would transpire on the world’s biggest golf tours in 2014. Some we nailed, others we now wonder what the hell we were thinking. You can’t be right all the time, but we gave it a decent nudge! OTG
OTG Express 127
OTG Express 129