So, 2017 is hurrying towards a close and will be fondly remembered by some (Justin Thomas; Sergio Garcia?) and not so fondly by others (Danny Willett; Rory McIlroy?) I wonder what 2018 will hold for the golfing world?
No more armchair refereeing and trial by television viewers. That is off the agenda, which is, I think, a good thing. Instead each tournament will have a designated rules official dealing with possible infractions in real time as they watch the TV feed. So, no need to have your mobile sitting next to your remote – just kick back and relax.
A few high-profile players, such as Adam Scott, are returning to the long putter although now they’ll need to spend many hours honing a non-anchoring stroke. Arguably, there are many issues that should have been tackled by the golfing powers-that-be and I certainly don’t think that the anchoring stroke was anywhere near the top of that list. For me it’s technology that should be reined in, not technique. Remember, it wasn’t the long putter that was banned but how you use it. Yet golf ball technology is allowed to soar onwards, literally, with few checks and balances. I’m looking forward to equipment and ball restrictions. “Dream on,” I hear you say.
And I wonder what’ll we see from Tiger Woods in the next twelve months? An end to his injuries, I hope, so we can get a look at just what he may be able to conjure up, given a fair wind healthwise. That will be fascinating to watch.
There is to be a new World Handicap System coming into being on January 1st. The upper handicap limit for men and women is now to be a colossal 54 and the stated aim is to encourage players to return more scores for their handicap. I can’t see that happening, to be honest. If I currently struggle to play off 36, do you really think I’m going to put in a load of cards inching up 0.1 each go? The last thing I want is to creep up towards 54. I HATE anything in the game that discourages people from playing. I hope I’m wrong and it all works in encouraging more and more people onto the course.
And finally, before madillgolf.com takes a few weeks off, I leave you with a tip I never thought I would be asked to give. I’ve given in to demand in the lighthearted spirit of Christmas. Enjoy! See you next year.