For a while I couldn’t figure it out—I mean, all these weird things happening in the game right now. Tiger out for the season. Phil, Rory, and Adam all floundering. TV ratings down in deep double digits. The PGA and USGA sniping at each other, the Rio Olympics course in doubt. Then I figured it out. It’s the Gods of Golf—they’re messing with us.
Every now and then the GOGs simply step in to remind us that things don’t always go according to script. This is one of those years. A year on the PGA Tour when the multiple champions are Jimmy Walker and Patrick Reed, when four events in a row were won by guys named Senden, Every, Bowditch and Jones. A year that began with a winter so long and hard, in some areas courses still aren’t open. A year when the R&A has suddenly reversed itself and fallen in love with women and Golf Digest has desperately morphed into GQ Digest. A year when the most compelling tournament golf is being played on the LPGA Tour.
Of course, the good news is that this, too, shall pass. Eventually the GOGs will get bored or feel guilty. They’ll back off and sanity will be restored. In the near term, however, I’d brace for the worst. Expect Mickelson to implode on the 72nd hole at Pinehurst and notch his seventh runner-up. Expect Lee Westwood to do the same at Hoylake after raising the hopes of an entire nation that he’d finally break through for a major win. Expect Tiger to come back for the PGA, take the lead on Sunday, and then reinjure himself. Expect Sergio Garcia to sink a 50-footer to win the Ryder-Cup, then cartwheel around the green and then say something really stupid to the press.
It’s just that kind of year, and until the GOGs have had their full measure of fun, there’s nothing we can do but keep our heads down and play one shot at a time.