2018 Major and Ryder Cup Predictions

By: Golfshake Editor | Mon 29 Jan 2018 | Comments


Now that we're into the regular golf season, and the Masters is fast approaching, we have asked Golfshake Staff and Ambassadors to consider their thoughts on what we're likely to see in the majors and Ryder Cup.

Derek Clements

The Masters

Jordan Spieth. Sorry Rory, but you are not going to be completing the Career Grand Slam this year. In just four appearances at Augusta, Spieth has won once, finished second twice and last year was 11th after a poor final round. He adores the place, and he knows how to play it. And, of course, he is the best putter in the business, especially when the chips are really down. He should have won here in 2016 and would have done so had it not been for his disastrous seven at the par-three 12th. If he remains fit, this is still the major that offers Tiger Woods his best chance of a 15th major.

The US Open

Rory McIlroy. Shinnecock Hills, which hosts the 2018 US Open, is a monster that measures 7,445 yards and yet has a par of 70. It features four par fours that each measure more than 480 yards, and the par-five 16th has been extended to 616 yards. In other words, it is a golf course that is made to measure for McIlroy to win his fifth major. Past champions here include Raymond Floyd, Corey Pavin and Retief Goosen, but the course was much shorter then that it is now. It is a very challenging layout that will produce a world-class champion – and McIlroy fits the bill.

The Open

Rickie Fowler. The American finished in a tie for second in 2014 behind Rory McIlroy and was tied for fifth in 2011. In 2014 he memorably achieved top-five finishes in all four majors. The 29-year-old is a true shotmaker who knows how to play when the wind blows – both are requirements for any golfer with aspirations to win The Open at Carnoustie. Fowler has waited too long to end his major duck – and this will surely be the year when that changes. If you are looking for a European to give him a run for his money, Tommy Fleetwood could be the man.

US PGA Championship

Xander Schauffele. Be in doubt about this – Schauffele is the real deal. Nobody wins twice in their first full season on the PGA Tour unless they have something special in their armoury, and that is true of this remarkable 24-year-old from California. He stands just 5ft 10in and weighs less than 12st but inside beats the heart of a champion. Don’t forget that his second win came at the Tour Championship, when he beat the top 30 players on the PGA Tour in the final event of the FedEx Cup playoffs. He finished 2017 ranked 24th in the world, and his ranking is only heading in one direction.

Ryder Cup

All logic dictates another American victory. Jim Furyk’s team will almost certainly include Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Brooks Koepka, Rickie Fowler, Daniel Berger and Xander Schauffele. It will also probably include Pat Perez, Matt Kuchar, Charley Hoffman and Brian Harman, none of whom are going to strike terror into the hearts of Thomas Bjorn’s team. For Europe, this match will represent a changing of the guard, with Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter unlikely to make the team. But Bjorn will be able to walk into his team room and look into the eyes of Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson,  all of whom have won majors, all of whom have been there and done it before. And he will also have arguably the world’s most exciting young talent in Jon Rahm, along with Tyrrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood, Matt Fitzpatrick, Paul Casey, Francesco Molinari, Thomas Pieters and Paul Dunne. Of course there will be some surprise moves up the rankings throughout the season and players not currently in contention will claim places. But who would you rather call upon – Perez or Hatton? Kuchar or Casey? Hoffman or Pieters? Harman or Fleetwood? In all honesty, the match is too close to call at this point but one thing is for certain – Europe will be giving the Americans a run for their money, and it would be no surprise if it all came down to the final singles match.

Tiger's Comeback

We all want to see Tiger bounce back, win plenty of tournaments, climb the world rankings and perhaps even finally land that 15th major. But let’s be realistic – the thing with back injuries is that you never really get over them and it seems inevitable that it will catch up with him again at some point. However, if he remains fit for the entire season I predict that Woods will win a couple of times, get back into the top 20 in the world rankings and earn a place in Jim Furyk’s Ryder Cup team. But a 15th major? Sorry, but it is not going to happen.

Kieran Clark

The Masters

Clearly the most easily predictable of the majors by virtue of the fact that it's played at the same venue each year. Jordan Spieth is an Augusta National specialist and Rory McIlroy will be determined to complete the Career Grand Slam, having build his early season schedule in preparation for this particular week. That said, the romantic in me would enjoy watching Justin Rose go one better than last year and claim the Green Jacket. His experience and quality all-round game is ideal for this iconic layout, and I would expect him to certainly be in contention over the weekend.



US Open 

Shinnecock is a classic U.S. Open venue, as the USGA returns to more establish courses after experimental visits to Chambers Bay and Erin Hills. You would expect the game's biggest names to contend, but I could see a slightly under the radar player coming through and securing the trophy. Someone in the mould of Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, or Alex Noren. Though you have to back the fairytale story of Phil Mickelson FINALLY winning his national title after six-runner up finishes, including one here. Or you can just back Dustin Johnson or Jordan Spieth.

The Open

Carnoustie is one of the great Open venues - arguably the most challenging - but conditons will dictate just how the week goes. Royal Birkdale last summer illustrated that a softened and calm layout will yield low scores, but the wind can radically change that perspective. I look for quality ball strikers to succeed in Angus, players such as Tommy Fleetwood and Jon Rahm have the potential, but I'm backing Sergio Garcia to achieve a redemption of sorts from his experience here in 2007 - losing in a playoff to Padraig Harrington - and completing a sparkling career with a Claret Jug alongside his Green Jacket.

US PGA Championship

This will be the last PGA Championship to be played in August - moving to May from 2019 - and I expect Bellerive to be an archetypal course. Nick Price won here back in 1992, and I look for long and accurate players to contend. You can't rule out the defending champion Justin Thomas, or ranking leaders Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm, but I believe Rory McIlroy is set for a strong year, and seeing as I haven't picked him yet, I'll have to select the Northern Irishman to get his hands on the Wanamaker Trophy for a third time.

Ryder Cup

Le Golf National is going to be an extraordinary and thrilling venue for the Ryder Cup, the best we've seen in decades. With two strong and confident teams, it looks set to be a classic encounter. The United States will be buoyant after success in 2016 and the depth of quality players tha are emerging, but Thomas Bjorn will be quietly pleased with the potential makeup of his squad. The likes of Jon Rahm and Tommy Fleetwood are formidable rookies, while the more experienced crowd of Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, and Henrik Stenson remain a strong foundation. I think it will be close and exciting, but that Europe will continue their long-standing unbeaten record on home soil and regain the Cup.

Tiger's Comeback

Tiger remains a significant draw, but people will become tired should he not reach a certain level. Judging by his swing speed and scrambling ability showcased at Torrey Pines, he remains competitive and is clearly in a stronger place than he has been since winning five times in 2013. However, to win championships and step up alongside Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy, his driving accuracy will need to improve significantly. But, we're dealing with an extraordinary talent and golf brain, and should he remain fit and play a decent schedule, Woods is clearly a potential threat on certain layouts and situations. Wouldn't it be fun to see him on the back-nine at Augusta with a chance against these young guys he inspired? I want to believe it can happen.

James Reeson

The Masters

I think it’s McIlroy's time this year, even though he hasn’t been playing much lately he has been working hard on the range and from what I’ve seen he looks to be swinging it great. I think the break will have done him good and the stability in his private live with getting married at the end of last year I can see him being back to his best in 2018. Having said this, not to mention Jordan Spieth would certainly be a mistake. He loves the golf course and should already have two green jackets to his name. And as much as I would love to say that Tiger is back and he is going to win everything again...I just can’t see it happening.

US Open

I think this will be Dustin Johnson’s second major. The set up for the US Open is normally the most difficult of the year, really long and really tight golf course is the norm and with the way he drives the ball he will certainly be my pick. Justin Rose would be another good contender for me with recent form.

The Open

With the Open back at Carnoustie this year it will be a proper grind, scoring won’t be great even if the wind doesn’t blow, arguable the hardest Open venue. I’m picking Justin Rose for this, has a lot of history with the Open doing incredibly well as an amateur but hasn’t really contended for it in the last couple of years. With recent form however I think he has a great chance this year, home crowd, tough course and certainly due and Open Championship at some point in his career.

US PGA Championship

Rickie Fowler will be my bet for this one. He’s had an incredible record in the majors over the last 2/3 years and the fact he hasn’t won one yet is almost unbelievable. With how consistent he is and how well he putts he is well overdue a major championship.

Ryder Cup

Unfortunately, I feel the Americans will be successful again this year, I think the two squads will match up fairly evenly but America, in my opinion are much stronger at the top end with Speith, Rickie, Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson to name a few. We do have John Rahm this year who will be an incredible asset but we will need out big players such as McIlroy and Stenson to turn up if we’re going to regain the trophy.
 

Tiger's Comeback

I think the big news in golf and only news anyones interested in for 2018 is the return of Tiger. I’m as bigger fan of him as you will find but I’m just not convinced that he will be back to his best. As good as he looked at the Hero before Christmas I don’t think his body will hold up long term. I would love it more than anything for him to go out and win the Masters but realistically, I can’t see it happening.

Matt Holbrook

The Masters

I believe a rejuvenated Rory McIlroy will finally complete his Career Grand Slam and put a below par 2017 behind him in the best way possible. He wont do it the easy way though. Only winning via a playoff.

US Open

Justin Thomas will continue his domination during 2018 and will pick up his second major at this year's US Open. This victory will be wire to wire.

The Open

Branden Grace will fulfil his vast potential in 2018 and will pick up his first major championship. We saw his pedigree at last year's Open firing in a 62. But this year he will be more consistent over the four rounds to produce a stunning victory.

US PGA Championship

Dustin Johnson will finish the year strongly and surge to victory - setting a new victory margin record in the process.

Ryder Cup

My heart says Team Europe will do the business. But unfortunately it pains me to say that my head say Team USA will win this year.

Europe have some fantastic players coming through that will have their chance to shine, but I cant help but feel its coming too soon for them against a USA team that is hitting their peak with Thomas, Johnson, Speith, Fowler etc will just be too strong and experienced.

Tiger Woods

Tiger will play a nearly full schedule during 2018 and will pick up a win or two on the PGA Tour, however the pressure he will put himself under to perform in the four majors will be too much and see him fall just short.

Alex Picken

The Masters

I predict Jon Rahm or Jordan Speith will win, definitely a young winner this year!

US Open 

I think Matt Kuchar will finally win a major

The Open 

I fancy an English winner, possibly Ross Fisher or Tommy Fleetwood

US PGA Championship

I think Fowler or DJ will win, certainly a top ten PGA Tour winner, especially a big hitter.

Ryder Cup

My heart tells me Europe will get revenge but my head tells me that America's team is too strong right now and will most likely take the win!
 

Mel Davies

The Masters

I think Rory McIlroy will finally complete the Grand Slam and win the Masters.

US Open

Dustin Johnson will win the US Open.

The Open

Lee Westwood will win his first major at The Open and at the same time cement his place in the Ryder Cup in Paris.
 

US PGA Championship

Ian Poulter will win the US PGA and again that will cement The Postman’s place in Europe’s team.

Ryder Cup

I think it will be a very tight affair that will end in Team Europe winning 14 1/2 to USA 13 1/2 with Justin Rose holing the winning putt.

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Tags: PGA Tour european tour


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