Rolex-Tiger-Woods

Before you know it, 2014 will be upon us and with it heralds the start of a new year of golf and of course, for many of the world’s top players, their focus will primarily be on four events.

This year, we have the Masters in April at Augusta, the US Open at Pinehurst No. 2 in June, The British Open from Hoylake in July and lastly the USPGA Championship at Valhalla, Kentucky in August.

 

Plus, in September the eyes of the world will descend upon Gleneagles to witness the 2014 Ryder Cup.

Gorilla Golf will now take a look in our crystal golf ball to see which players, and team, will be celebrating major success in 2014.

 


The Masters – Augusta – April

Augusta is a course that is unforgiving. One small mistake can cost you not just a decent score, but the entire championship. Consistency and strong play around the greens will win you the big one here and at the moment, no player in the world is better at that than Tiger Woods.

I am not sure that by April Henrik Stenson will be 100% after his surgery and this Major may come a little too soon for the Swede. Luke Donald and Lee Westwood have the consistency to do well here but always seem to come up short, where as I feel players like Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowall are a little too erratic at times to prosper in 2014.

 

Tiger’s biggest challenge will likely come from the likes of Justin Rose, Adam Scott, Steve Stricker and Brandt Snedeker, who have the consistency, length from the tee and nerveless putting skills required to do well around Augusta.

That said, we’d be mad to look past Tiger for the first Major this season, especially after his form last year, so he’s our tip here.

 

Gorilla Golf Prediction: We’re backing Tiger Woods to earn his stripes at Augusta. He is a best priced 11/2 with several bookmakers at present, which is ridiculously low odds, but we think it is more sensible to back him, than back against him.

 

Rolex-Tiger-Woods

 

The US Open – Pinehurst No.2 – June

The two previous US Open events at Pinehurst have been won by Payne Stewart and Michael Campbell, so there is always the chance of a surprise or two when the US Open comes to the hallowed fairways of No 2.

Tiger Woods has a good record at Pinehurst and he’ll be in consideration here, but a second Major on the bounce is a big ask and we think Tiger’s second chance at a Major will come elsewhere this season.

 

Instead, we’re backing Phil Mickelson to do what he should have done last year, and claim his first US Open victory after a seemingly endless run of second place finishes.

No disrespect to Justin Rose who was sublime in his final round last year, but had Mickelson’s driving not been so erratic during his final round, he’d have won the US Open at a canter in 2013. We’re backing him to put that right in 2014.

 

The long nature of Pinehurst will favour the longer hitters so I am expecting the likes of Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson to push Phil close.

Gorilla Golf Prediction: After going so close last year, we’re going to back Lefty himself, Phil Mickelson, to end his US Open misery and finally land his first Open Championship. You can back Phil at odds of around 20/1 at present with a number of top bookmakers.

 

Phil-Mickelson-golf-clubs-in-2013

 

The British Open – Hoylake – July

Having played very close to Hoylake and experienced similar playing conditions, it is fair to say that the weather will play a key role in deciding the 2014 British Open. A hot, acrid June like in 2006 will likely play into the hands of the top American players. Wet, windy conditions and you’ll see some of the links specialists thrive.

 

Hoylake isn’t a good course for home grown talent to thrive. There were only two players from the UK and Ireland inside the top 25 in 2006 (Anthony Wall & Robert Rock), but I do expect the likes of Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Justin Rose and Ian Poulter to put up a good showing.

 

However, after his success in 2006, when he dominated the course from the second round onwards, I can’t look past Tiger Woods for his second major of the year here. Even if the winds do pick up, as they easily can around the Dee Estuary, Woods has the game to tame even the wildest of courses.

 

Gorilla Golf Prediction:  Given Hoylake’s tradition as a graveyard for UK & Ireland based players, and given his dominance of the event last time, it is hard to back against Tiger Woods to land his second major of the season here.  Woods is a best price 8/1 to repeat his 2006 success at Hoylake in 2014.

 

 

The USPGA Championship – Valhalla – August

Strangely enough, we see the USPGA as being European golfer’s best chance of success in 2014 and I think that by August, Henrik Stenson will be in prime physical condition to earn his first Major win.

Stenson’s form at the end of 2013 was sensational and while his surgery will probably make the first few months of the season tough, by the end of the campaign, when he has come on strong in the past, he should be in great shape.

 

I think he’ll face a really strong challenge here from several top stars, Jason Dufner will put up a staunch defence of his title, I expect Jordan Spieth, Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy, Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson all to be there, or thereabouts but I think Stenson’s consistency, if he can rediscover it, will see him crowned Champion in 2014.

 

Gorilla Golf Prediction: Will it be a clean sweep of American Major Champions ahead of the Ryder Cup, well no, because if he can recover well from his end of season surgery in 2013, we’re tipping Swede Henrik Stenson to land the coveted prize here and you can back the Swede at a tempting 25/1 at the moment.

 

 

The Ryder Cup – Gleneagles – September

The bookmakers can barely separate the teams, which is unsurprising how close the contests have been in recent times, Europe remain slight favourites with most bookmakers, but there’s no doubt that the USA team will come to the 2014 Ryder Cup with a fantastic chance of success.

The appointment of Tom Watson is a masterstroke, the likeable American will have plenty of local support in Scotland and although Scotland in September can lead to less than favourable conditions for the Americans, this seeming advantage for Europe is negated by the fact that so many of Europe’s top players now play on the USPGA Tour.

 

I think we are in for a historic match here. Paul McGinley may not have scaled the golfing heights that Watson did, but he is a shrewd operator and has a notable past with this competition. He is also well liked by the European team in general.

In the end, I think this is too close to call, which is why I am going for the real risky bet of a draw, which is a 10/1 shot across all bookmakers.

 

But one thing that is guaranteed, is drama!

 

Gorilla Golf Prediction: The last few Ryder Cup’s have been dramatic for many different reasons and while Europe seem to have the upper hand, I fancy Tom Watson’s magic to rub off on the American team here for them to avoid defeat. Can I see them taking the cup back home? Possibly, but my opinion is that this could be the closest Ryder Cup in years and the 10/1 available on the draw looks a great bet.

 

 

What are your predictions for the 2014 golf Majors and Ryder Cup? Let us know below.

 

 

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