We predict the winners of golf’s majors in 2016

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We examine the courses, check the history books and crunch the numbers to predict who will win golf’s majors in 2016…

The Masters, 7th-10th April, Augusta National

What’s the course like?

Augusta is a tree-lined layout that suits players who move the ball right-to-left through the air, although it isn’t vital. There’s pine straw under the trees and the greens are undulating.

augusta-course

What type of player does it suit?

Prodigious distance is an advantage, but Jordan Spieth’s 2015 victory proved it’s not essential. A razor-sharp short game is a must and – Spieth aside – there’s no substitute for experience. Fuzzy Zoeller is still the last man to win on his Masters debut in 1979.

Who’s going to be in contention?

Spieth will likely start the week as favourite but only three men have won back-toback Masters. Bubba Watson overpowered Augusta en route to victory in 2012 and 2014. Hideki Matsuyama finished 5th last year.

Who will win The Masters?

Jason Day’s incredible length and high ball flight enables him to attack flags when others have to play safe. He showcased his fantastic short game at last year’s US PGA.

jason-day

THE US OPEN, 16th-19th June, Oakmont Golf Club

What’s the golf course like?

After experimenting with the links-style Chambers Bay in 2015, the USGA brings its championship back to more familiar ground in 2016. Oakmont is a long, draining test with rock hard fairways, extremely fast greens and well-placed bunkers.

oakmont-golf-club

What type of player will it suit?

Each of the four golfers who have won the US Open at Oakmont – Johnny Miller (1973), Larry Nelson (1983), Ernie Els (1994) and Angel Cabrera (2007) – had previously registered at least one top-10 finish in the event, but none of them had won the tournament before.

Who is going to be in contention?

Adam Scott fits the model of the previous winners if he putts well. Keep an eye on Shane Lowry as he can salvage unikely pars with his short game.

Who will win the US Open?

Rickie Fowler finished inside the top five in all four majors in 2014 and proved he could get over the line in 2015 with three wins, including The Players.

rickie-fowler

The Open, 14th-17th July, Royal Troon

What’s the golf course like? 

Royal Troon is a course of two halves. The front nine offers lots of birdie opportunities but the back nine poses a brutal test. Martin Ebert has remodelled the 15th hole and restored a lost bunker on the 10th hole.

royal-troon-golf

What type of player does it suit? 

Despite a belief that Americans struggle in links conditions, the last six Troon winners, including Arnold Palmer (right), have all been from the US. And they’d all won on the PGA Tour earlier in the year of their victory.

Who is going to contend? 

The last three winners here had fantastic short games. Look out for Patrick Reed and Brandt Snedeker, plus Paul Casey from the homegrown talent.

So, who is going to win The Open? 

Jordan Spieth’s stellar short game allied to his temperament will hold him in good stead to deal with the unpredictable nature of links golf. 

jordan-spieth

US PGA Championship, 28th-31st July, Baltusrol Golf Club

What’s the golf course like?

The season’s final major returns to AW Tillinghast’s legendary New Jersey layout 11 years after it last visited. Tiger Woods says: “It’s an old school course where everything is in front of you. It’s a fair test and I can see why great ball-strikers have done well there.”

baltusrol-golf

What type of player will the course suit?

The traditional layout requires more carefully considered strategy and precise ball-striking than most modern courses. Length is never going to hurt but Baltusrol evens the playing field for those who pride themselves on crisp irons and pinpoint wedges.

Who is going to be in contention?

Henrik Stenson is well-suited to the challenge but he tends to finish 2nd more than he wins of late. We wouldn’t be surprised to see Billy Horschel or Russell Knox make an appearance on the leaderboard too.

Who is going to win the US PGA Championship?

Justin Rose is a supreme ballstriker and has been one of the most consistent players on the planet tee to green over the last five years. He loves big-pressure situations.

justin-rose

Who do YOU think will win this year’s majors? 

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