Welcome to the “Dream Season” in professional golf! The four majors in 2019 will be played at storied venues like Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland (The Open), Pebble Beach Golf Links (U.S. Open), Bethpage Black (PGA Championship) and, of course, Augusta National (Masters). What could be better than that? How about the four winners being marquee names that will elevate golf interest and have the media salivating with countless story angles. Here is my foursome of dream winners:
Tiger Woods — The Masters
Let’s face it, not everyone wants Tiger to wear another Green Jacket. He’s a lot like the Dallas Cowboys, New York Yankees and Notre Dame Irish. You either love’em or hate’em and their doesn’t seem to be much middle ground. I’m a big Tiger fan for the same reason everybody in the golf industry likes the Big Cat. He’s made us all a lot of money. Whether you admit it or not, the golf universe still revolves around Tiger and a victory at Augusta would be the crescendo on his comeback from four back surgeries. America loves a great comeback and Tiger wearing green in the Butler Cabin would be the ultimate dream scenario for many golf fans.
Rory McIlroy — The Open Championship
Rory grew up in Northern Ireland and played Royal Portrush on several occasions in his youth. He’s the sentimental favorite and the storylines would be off the charts if he can somehow snare the Claret Jug at this magnificent seaside links layout. McIlroy, a 4-time major winner, knows how to close the deal at the Open. He bested Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia in 2014 at Royal Liverpool to capture the Jug. Guess who holds the competitive course record for a round at Royal Portush? McIlroy shot a 61 on the Dunluce Links in 2005. He’s definitely got a home field advantage so he’ll be an obvious favorite.
Brooks Koepka — U.S. Open
While Koepka isn’t exactly a media darling with his methodical, boring press conferences, his power game speaks for itself. My gosh, this Florida blond bomber is going for a three-peat in the U.S. Open. Sports Betting Dime has Brooks Koepka as one of the favorites at +1400 and with good reason. He is the two-time defending champion who seems to thrive in front of the home crowd. Often overlooked because of his length off the tee is Koepka’s overall game. He spent a few years playing around the world before fully engaging on the PGA Tour and he enhanced his short game skills and putting on all types of surfaces and courses around the world. When he’s on his game, Koepka looks like a modern day Jack Nicklaus. He overpowers golf courses and is not intimated by anybody, anywhere.
Rickie Fowler — PGA Championship
A victory would finally put to rest the notion that Fowler is all hat and no cattle with more style than substance. Golf needs more youth golfers and a Fowler victory would, in a small way, help propel that movement. Most of the teenage and younger golfers grew up idolizing Rickie not Tiger. With his flat brim hats, colorful outfits, fancy shoes and strong social media presence, Rickie is the most appealing golfer to Generation Z (youngsters born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s). Fowler is charismatic and his skill level is equal to the best players in the world. If he could snare a Wannamaker trophy and hoist it high in his bright orange outfit, the future for golf will look just a little bit brighter.