Predicting 2006 The Future is Now

By Brian HewittDecember 19, 2005, 5:00 pm
The New Year will be upon us quicker than Reggie Bushs first step.
So its that time again. Time to fearlessly predict the future. Or, at least, to fearlessly predict what will transpire in 2006 in the world of golf.
Im going way out on a limb and predicting that in 2006:
  • Aussies Greg Norman and Mark Hensby wont play any practice rounds together. They wont go fishing together. They wont be invited to any of the same parties. The latter means, by the way, that Hensbys going to miss a lot of good parties.
  • The U.S. will win the 36th Ryder Cup matches, scheduled for Ireland in September, in a rout. You have to go all the way back to 1981 in England to find a Ryder Cup the Americans won by more than two points. That makes this a contrarian pick.
  • Tiger Woods will announce on his website that his wife, Elin, is great with child. This is a prediction, by the way, not a news item.
  • Kevin Na will win on the PGA Tour at the tender age of 22. Big deal. Gene Sarazen won three times, including two majors, when he was 20 years old.
  • Sean OHair and his father will not reconcile. But the media will get past the idea that it must re-write the details of their fractured relationship every time OHair gets to another city.
  • Michelle Wie, Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel, whose combined ages equal that of Jay Haas, will all win on the LPGA Tour.
  • Jay Haas will win on the Champions Tour. His son, Bill, will contend in a major.
  • Left-handed rookie Bubba Watson, from Bagdad, Fl., will lead the PGA Tour in driving distance. He will lead the Tour in oohs. He will lead the Tour in aahs. And he will, if he is lucky, get an education in course management while keeping his card.
  • Ben Crane will speed up his pace of play. But not enough to satisfy all his lodge brothers on Tour.
  • Other PGA Tour players you shouldnt be surprised to see win again include Bart Bryant, Lucas Glover and Jason Gore.
  • Nor should you be surprised to see Colin Montgomerie win for the first time, officially, in the States.
  • Swedens Henrik Stenson, the best player almost nobodys ever heard of, will make (and star on) Europes Ryder Cup team.
  • Ernie Els will win the Masters. But nobody will ask him to do a calendar.
  • An over par score will win the U.S. Open at Winged Foot. And somewhere, a retired Tom Meeks will smile.
  • The Beatles, and their Liverpudlian roots, will be the most tortured feature story of the year when the media arrives at Royal Liverpool in England for the Open Championship. Beatlemania and Tigermania will reach a frothy head when a photo-opping Woods hits drivers off the deck of a ferry crossing the Mersey while Gerry and the Pacemakers croon in the background.
    And then, when December 31, 2006 rolls around, I will saw off that limb behind me.
    Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
  • Getty Images

    Kang on cheating allegation: 'I did the right thing'

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 1:26 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Three weeks after his playing partner claimed that he “cheated,” taking an improper drop at the Quicken Loans National, Sung Kang insisted Thursday that he did nothing wrong.

    Joel Dahmen tweeted that Kang cheated after a lengthy dispute about where his ball had last crossed the line of a hazard. A PGA Tour official ruled in Kang’s favor. Kang made par on the hole, shot 64 and earned one of the available spots in the Open Championship.

    Kang didn’t learn of the controversy until the next day, when he received an email from a PGA Tour communications official seeking comment. He researched online what the furor was about, then issued a brief statement through the Tour (which added its own statement, saying that there was “no clear evidence” to suggest that Kang dropped incorrectly).

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Kang said he tried to clear the air with Dahmen before the first round of last week’s John Deere Classic, but they never had the opportunity to discuss their differences.

    “I followed the rules official and I think I did the right thing,” Kang told a handful of reporters Thursday following his opening round at Carnoustie, where he shot a 2-under 69 to sit three shots off the early lead.

    Kang said he was hesitant to discuss the incident with reporters, because he said there clearly was a difference in opinions. He said he’d already told his side to South Korean news outlets but that “whatever I say, some people are going to trust it and some people are not going to trust it. Then I’ve got to think about it more and more when it’s not going to help my golf game.”

    “I really want to say a lot of things about it, the truth about what happened,” he added, “but I’m not going to say anything.”

    Kang said that he wouldn’t alter his approach when dealing with rulings in the future.

    “No. Why?” he said. “I did the right thing. There’s no point in changing.”

    Getty Images

    Kisner (67) enjoying 'frat' life, soccer matches with Jordan and Co.

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 12:49 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The frat house tradition continued this year at The Open, with a group of seven high-profile Americans rooming together for the week, including early first-round leader Kevin Kisner.

    Kisner explained after his opening 5-under 66 that the group – which includes Jordan Spieth, Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson, Jimmy Walker, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler – has spent the week talking about how demanding Carnoustie is playing and enjoying the summer weather.

    “We're out there playing soccer at night and hanging out,” he said.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    To be clear, this isn’t a proper soccer match, but instead a penalty-kick situation with all but one player taking turns trying to score.

    “I just try to smash [Dufner] in the face,” Kisner laughed. “He's the all-time goalie.”

    Although Kisner said he’s always impressed with the athletic prowess of other players, Spieth has proven himself particularly adept on the impromptu pitch.

    “Jordan scored when Duf tripped, it was hilarious,” Kisner smiled. “[Spieth] is good until he sends it over the goal four houses over, and we've got to go knock on a neighbor’s door for the soccer ball.”

    The group is actually staying in two local houses that are next to each other, one with a large enough back yard and a soccer net, but perhaps not enough soccer balls.

    “We’re going to have to Amazon Prime a couple new balls to replace the ones we lost,” Kisner said.

    Getty Images

    Van Rooyen continues links run with impressive 67

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 12:27 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – For Erik van Rooyen familiarity has not bred contempt.

    The South African, like many European Tour players, has been on a links golf odyssey the last three weeks, playing the Irish Open, Scottish Open and this week’s Open Championship in consecutive weeks, and the crash course paid off on Day 1 at Carnoustie when he opened with a 4-under 67 to assure himself a spot among the early leaders.

    Although van Rooyen missed the cut last week just down the coast at Gullane Golf Club, he entered the final round in Ireland with a four-stroke lead.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “I didn't pull it off the final day,” said van Rooyen, who closed with a 74 to tie for fourth place. “I still think I played pretty well. I was nervous. That's completely normal, and I'll learn how to deal with that. I'll take that experience into tournaments like this.”

    Van Rooyen, who was alone in second place when he completed his round, began his round with back-to-back birdies and was bogey-free until the last hole. It was just what one would expect from a player who has immersed himself in links golf for the better part of a month.

    “We've been playing nice golf now the last three weeks, so definitely used to the way this course is playing, definitely used to handling the wind,” he said. “So I'll be ready.”