It’s an impossible task of course. I mean, who could have foreseen some of the incredible stuff we have experienced and enjoyed in golf over the past 12 months.
Europe wins the Ryder Cup from six points behind with 14 to play? A guy leads the Open by four shots with four holes to go…and loses? And a left-handed eccentric not named Phil Mickelson wins the Masters?
So it is that golf remains the most unpredictable of games. Which is why all, some or even any of the following may or may not happen in 2013.
At the end of a lengthy period of political infighting involving a variety of candidates – some Irish, some not – it is decided Europe will not bother with a non-playing captain for the 2014 Ryder Cup. Instead, the team members will simply draw lots for who plays with whom and in what order.
“Well, it makes as much sense as some of the crazy strategies more than one past captain has came up with,” says one member of the European Tour’s Tournament Committee. “Let’s be honest, only those who have done the job and ended up on the winning side think it involves anything more than basic common sense and lots of luck.”
The President’s Putter at Rye – site of the Oxford & Cambridge Golfing Society’s annual championship – is abandoned when it is found that a working-class person had somehow sneaked into the draw. “We were immediately suspicious when he ordered a ‘pint of heavy’ in the bar, rather than a large G&T or a kummel,” says a spokesman.
Geographically challenged (and hugely unpopular amongst his peers) Masters champion Bubba Watson is disqualified from the Dubai Desert Classic when he mistakenly flies to the Far East rather than the Middle East. “All them Easts sound the same to me,” he says. Ian Poulter, pictured below, wins the event, making five birdies on the last five holes to win by a shot from Jim Furyk, who finishes badly amidst a flurry of practice swings and false starts.
Work begins at St Andrews on the new roundabout that will, according to R&A chief executive Peter Dawson, “only make the Road Hole even more exciting”. Rumours of a Pelican crossing and traffic lights remain unconfirmed at this time.
In a shock development, Tiger Woods announces he is to write a book about the six years he spent with Hank Haney as his coach. Entitled, Me, Me, Me, Me, Me, the book will be co-written by Woods’ agent, Mark Steinberg.
Ian Poulter wins the Arnold Palmer Classic at Bay Hill after closing with five consecutive birdies in all four rounds.
The magnificent 12th hole on the Old Course at St Andrews is to be redesigned. All the previously “blind” bunkers are to have signs erected in them so that players can know exactly where everything is. “We feel sure that every point-misser in golf will join with us in celebrating this historic step,” says Dawson.
Apparently unfazed by the presence of snow on the ground, Bubba arrives in Augusta, Maine to begin the defence of his Masters title.
A few hundred miles south, in Augusta, Georgia, Geoff Ogilvy becomes the first Australian to don the coveted green jacket, which is presented by Tom Watson in Bubba’s absence.
The week’s festivities at Augusta National GC are sadly marred by the sudden resignation of the club’s two female members. “They refused to build ladies’ tees,” explains former US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, pictured right. “And the only times we were allowed to play were between 3am and 7am on Thursdays.”
Bubba doesn’t quite make it to Muirfield Village for the Memorial Tournament, but is quoted as saying he “loves” the atmosphere in the village of Gullane, where he is staying.
Looking a bit smug and rather pleased with himself, Luke Donald wins the PGA Championship at Wentworth for the third year in succession.
Sadly, the US Open at Merion is abandoned when the last player standing loses his last ball in the devilish undergrowth lining either side of the six-inch wide fairways. Speaking from Monterey, where he thought the event was to have taken place, Bubba professes to be “heartbroken”. Thankfully, no one asks him to spell “heartbroken”.
After turning 50, Colin Montgomerie announces he is looking forward to a big slice of cake.
The Scottish Open at Castle Stuart is won by Ernie Els, who uses a traditional short putter and leaves the runner-up, Jim Furyk, five shots in his wake.
Bubba is a no-show for the Open Championship at Muirfield. Guess what?
The Women’s British Open at St Andrews is abandoned when the players walk off en masse in protest at the way the Old Course has been presented. “This is just rubbish,” says Michelle Wie, neatly summing up the prevailing mood. “We came here to play the old Old Course, not this new-fangled nonsense. I never thought I’d see the day when there would be water hazards and fountains on so many holes. Who is responsible for this?”
No one at the Links Trust or the R&A is immediately available for comment.
Bubba arrives at Oakmont in plenty of time for the USPGA Championship – which is being played at Oak Hill. Ian Poulter wins by six after making – you guessed it – a birdie on each of the last five holes in the final round.
After a coup that saw every member of the St Andrews Links (Un)Trust(worthy) resign, the newly constituted Trust announces that the Old Course will be truly “public” starting in 2014. As part of this new egalitarian policy, any of the local clubs employing any kind of discriminatory membership practices will have to find somewhere else to play.
Europe wins the Solheim Cup in America, led by the unbeaten play of Scotland’s Catriona Matthew. None of the English newspapers or magazines reports that fact, focusing instead on the mediocre play of Laura Davies. Asked to comment, former Open champion Paul Lawrie – whose figures were the best on either Ryder Cup side in the final-day singles at Medinah a year ago – can only smile and shake his head.
The Royal & Ancient Golf Club announces the identities of their first female members. The Duchess of Cornwall and the Prime Minister of Australia both claim to be “practising hard” for the upcoming autumn medal.
In a joint statement, the R&A and the United States Golf Association announce that the distance golf balls can travel is to be reduced by 20 per cent.
“Yes, yes, we know we are at least 15 years too late with this,” admits Dawson, left. “But we really didn’t want to admit that we had screwed up the game to quite the extent that we have. It was all about us saving face really. We can only apologise for our outrageous display of arrogance in the face of a growing mountain of incontrovertible evidence that the ball was going too far, especially when struck by elite players.”
In a Christmas message from an unknown – at least to him – location, Bubba sends his best wishes to all his friends on tour. Both of them.