Predictions for the 2018 major championships

By T.J. Auclair
Published on
Predictions for the 2018 major championships

EDITOR'S NOTE: This was written before the 2018 major season began. After each major, we will be updating it with "how we did."

As we look into the crystal ball, what does 2018 hold for the majors?

For starters, we'll have a chance to see Phil Mickelson (U.S. Open) and Jordan Spieth (PGA Championship) complete the career grand slam -- something only five players have done in the Masters era. Those players? Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Gene Sarazen. Pretty sweet company.

But the way we see it? There's probably not going to be a career slam completed in 2018. It's still going to be exiting though.

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Here are your winners for the four major championships in 2018. Don't @ me.

PGA Championship, August 9-12, 2018, Bellerive Country Club, Town and Country, Missouri

Winner: Rickie Fowler
Why: Seven of the last eight PGA Champions have been first-time major winners, including the last three straight: Jason Day (2015), Jimmy Walker (2016) and Justin Thomas (2017).

Dating back to 2009, Rory McIlroy (2014) is the only player who had already won a major to win the PGA Championship.

Our guess is that the luck of the first-time winners will continue at Bellerive right by St. Louis. And it will be Fowler.

Fowler has finished in the top-10 on eight occasions in the majors. His best PGA finish is a T3 in 2014 and he finished T5 in 2017. It just feels like a major is right around the corner for Fowler. They're not easy to win by any stretch, but he's too good not to have one.

Following in the footsteps of his buddy, Thomas, Fowler will hoist the Wanamaker Trophy in 2018.

How we did: We were in the ballpark and feeling good after Rickie opened with a 65. But Brooks Koepka was just too strong and finished -16, eight shots ahead of Rickie. Still a good finish for Fowler, who was T12.

The Masters, April 5-8, 2018, Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, Georgia

Winner: Jordan Spieth
Why: Major No. 4 overall and green jacket No. 2 for Spieth next spring at Augusta National. Book it. In four trips to the Masters, Spieth's record looks like this: T2-Win-T2-T11.

That's incredible. He feels so comfortable at a place where history tells us people his age shouldn't feel comfortable. Spieth isn't the type of player who will overpower the field the way Tiger once did, but you can be sure that if his name is on page one of the leaderboard come Sunday, players will have more to think about than they'd like.

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You can also bet that Spieth wants to beat Mickelson and McIlroy to that aforementioned career grand slam. He's going to do everything in his power to block their chances.

HOW WE DID: Oh so close. Spieth went crazy in the final round of the Masters, firing an 8-under 64 -- the best round of the week -- and came up just short, finishing in third, two strokes behind winner Patrick Reed. It was just another incredible week for Spieth, who in five Masters starts now has four top-3 finishes, including the 2015 win.

U.S. Open, June 14-17, 2018, Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, Southampton, New York

Winner: Justin Rose
Why: The 2016 Olympic Champion has wins on so many of the world's greatest courses. Places like Muirfield Village, Aronimink, Cog Hill, Merion and Congressional.

When it comes to prestigious venues, Shinnecock Hills is right near the top of the list. The difficult course in the Hamptons always produces a champion that is a complete player. That's precisely what Rose is.

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Since his win at Merion in the 2013 U.S. Open, Rose has collected five more top-10 finishes in the majors. We're guessing his next top-10 will be a win... and it will be at Shinnecock Hills.

How we did: Pretty, pretty good - but not great. Brooks Koepka won his second consecutive U.S. Open title. Justin Rose finished T10, six shots behind Koepka. He was in the mix all week but couldn't quite keep pace on Sunday when scoring conditions improved. It's still another Top 10 in a major for the consistent Rose.

The Open Championship, July 19-22, 2018, Carnoustie Golf Links, Carnoustie, Scotland

Winner: Sergio Garcia
Why: Following his scintillating Masters win in 2017, a 1,000 lb. weight has been lifted from Spaniard's shoulders. Since winning at Augusta National, he's gotten married and, by the 2018 Masters, he and wife Angela will have welcomed their first child.

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Life is good for Garcia.

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Barring the win at the Masters, the Open Championship has easily been Garcia's best major, performance-wise. In his career, he has recorded 10 top-10 finishes. That includes a runner-up, playoff loss in 2007 to Padraig Harrington at... Carnoustie.

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A win there in the summer of 2018 would be the ultimate for Garcia. Not only would it be his second major title, but it would also come at the same place where he feels -- strongly -- that he should have won his first.

It could be the story of the year in golf if it happens.

How we did: Well, we missed the mark a little on this one. Sergio Garcia went 75-71 and missed the cut at The Open. Italian Francesco Molinari put on an incredible display and went bogey-free on the weekend to win his first major championship.