Making projections for a full year of the sport of golf is, at best, a mug’s game. And it isn’t like the sport will lack big stories in 2023. There’s the Ryder Cup, and whether the emergence of LIV Golf will change the competitive balance between the US and European squads. How many tournaments will Tiger play? Can he be competitive? What about multiple major wins for Golf Town ambassador Brooke Henderson? We put our guessing caps on and tried to come up with some possibilities.
Rory comes up just short
Rory McIlroy will surely be the favourite when he comes to Oakdale Golf and Country Club for the RBC Canadian Open in June. After all, it is a classic golf course, just like the ones he carded his two Canadian Open victories on—Hamilton and St. George’s. Oakdale is being tricked out as the longest golf course in Canadian Open history and Rory will be right there on the final holes. But unlike 2022, when he bettered Tony Finau and Justin Thomas, he won’t rally at the end. Don’t be surprised if another big hitter—Scottie Scheffler anyone? —nicks him at the end.
Brooke Henderson cards more majors
Okay, we’ll admit this isn’t a big stretch. After all, Brooke won her second major, the Evian, in 2022 and is a favourite pretty much every time she tees it up. But expect big things in the coming year—majors, in fact. The only thing Henderson hasn’t accomplished in her 25 years is winning multiple majors in the same season. And she’ll do that in 2023. Expect her to also be in contention at Shaughnessy for the CP Women’s Open, but that will be overshadowed as she repeats as Evian winner and puts away her first U.S Open as well.
Tiger contends—for a bit
Everyone who watched the recent Match knows Tiger Woods can still move the golf ball. The only issue is whether he can walk the course. The one exception might be the Open Championship, which is typically held on flat golf courses. And guess what? The 2023 version is at Royal Liverpool, a course Woods magnificently dissected in 2006. Could he do it again? Expect Woods to make a showing and get people excited—at least for a few rounds.
A sort of stalemate
The emergence of LIV Golf was the story of 2022. Finding a way for the upstart golf league to co-exist with the PGA Tour will be the story of 2023. The first domino to fall will be the World Golf Rankings inclusion of LIV Golf players. But as some tours have reluctantly allowed LIV golfers to participate in their events, expect them to also show up in majors and potentially other events if they qualify.
Taylor Pendrith breaks through
The big-hitting Canadian from the GTA keeps making it clear that he isn’t just hanging around the PGA Tour—he intends to win. Well, win he will in 2023, making him a lock for Mike Weir’s International Team at the 2024 Presidents Cup. Won’t be surprised if his win comes early in the year in San Diego or Phoenix, and those who don’t recognize his name at that point will surely know it afterwards.
Golf stays hot—Simulators
New, fancy driving range/restaurants that open the game to new people. More packed courses. The explosion we witnessed in golf in 2020 through last summer will continue unabated across Canada. You might not have to fight for a tee time, but you better plan your weekends with your buddies well in advance
Point Hardy in Saint Lucia is the hottest new course
Not a big leap here. The course, created by the Canadian group that launched Cabot Cape Breton, will open for play sometime in the middle of 2023. With nine (yes, you read that correctly) holes on the ocean, the whole world will be drooling over this course in the Caribbean when photos start circulating from early rounds.