It’s only the 12th day of January and already my New Year resolutions are in jeopardy. Maybe it’s because I haven’t played golf yet in 2016 and I promised myself I would play at least once a month. Does a bucket at Oaks North count? What about a friendly putting contest after Sunday brunch at the Rancho Bernardo Inn? Guess not.
I guess I’m just no good at resolutions. Maybe I’ll find better luck with predictions.
Here’s a look into the JC Golf crystal ball for 2016:
U.S. Will Win Ryder Cup – No question about it, the Americans will be home underdogs when the 2016 Ryder Cup returns to U.S. soil (Hazeltine). The Europeans have won eight of the last 10 Ryder Cups and, frankly, are better playing as a team. But it’s important to remember that the U.S. team has better players than the Europeans with twice as many ranked in the top 20. The U.S. just needs to figure out how to come together as a team. And I believe after the debacle back in 2014, the Americans will get it straightened out. Captain Davis Love III has put a big emphasis on team synergy this time to ensure they don’t be embarrassed like they did at Gleneagles. They won’t.
Tiger Woods Will Play – Recovery is slow for the former No. 1-ranked player. After back surgery, Tiger is learning how to walk again, so it seems competitive golf is a long way off. Some pundits are saying the 14-time major winner won’t be back in 2016, but I’m holding out hope that he will return this year. Despite all his injuries and setbacks, the competitive fire that made him a legend couldn’t have burned out so fast, right? He’s only 40. While golf fans are adjusting to LAT (Life After Tiger), the sport just isn’t the same without him. He’ll resurface.
Jordan Spieth Repeats As Player of the Year – If his impressive victory in the Tournament of Champions last week in Hawaii is any indication, Spieth is picking up where he left off in 2015. After winning the Masters and U.S. Open and finishing among the top four in the British Open and PGA Championship last year, Spieth should win another major in 2016, possibly two. Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jason Day no question will be right there with him, but Spieth is no flash in the pan. The hole probably looks like a manhole cover to him. He’s arrived.
Marc Figueroa is a freelance writer who has been covering golf in San Diego for more than 20 years