By Brian Hewitt

Golf should be a never-ending story in 2016

been this full of promise. So many players with so many


stories at so many levels. So many big futures. Let’s start with an amateur,

Bryson DeChambeau, perhaps the most compelling and clearly the most interesting outlier in the bunch. In 2015 DeChambeau won the NCAA individual title and the U.S. Amateur, which put him on a short list of five that includes the names of Woods, Nicklaus, Mickelson and somebody named Ryan Moore.

DeChambeau was a physics major at

SMU before the NCAA suspended the Mustangs’ program and forced him to leave school and prepare early for a pro career that will begin after the Masters in April. Uniquely, his irons are all the same

length and only the degree of loft is written on the bottom of them. Late last year he tied for second in the Australian Masters. Do not take your eyes off of him this year. And be sure to listen to the refreshing way he expresses himself, a trait he blessedly shares with pro golf’s current “Big Four”— Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler and Rory McIlroy. After winning the 2015 final in a

rout at vaunted Olympia Fields near Chicago, DeChambeau said this: “I’m so excited to be everyone’s champion, the U.S. Amateur champion.” That’s Bryson DeChambeau. Just one more reason not to lament the demise of Tiger Woods who, on his career day, was the best player the game has ever seen. If Yogi Berra were still around, he might observe that the injury-riddled Woods’ future is behind him. Woods was once great. But we won’t

44 | AZ GOLF Insider | PREVIEW 2016

ooking ahead to the rest of the recently begun 2016 season, the wide, wide world of competitive golf rarely has

miss the pat answers, the thousand yard stares, the smug marketing and the obscenity-laced reactions to the increasingly wayward shots. Woods turned 40 in December, a milestone that makes all of us feel older than we are. An unfazed Jack Nicklaus, all 75 years of him, tweeted this reminder to Woods: “Just remember that 40 is the new 30.”

stampeding youth, take comfort in a few traditions. Like this year’s major venues. The men will convene their big four at Augusta National, Oakmont, Royal Troon and Baltusrol. The Ryder Cup gets to Hazeltine. The U.S. Amateur is set for Oakland Hills. Somewhere the late, great golf writer

Somewhere the late, great golf writer

Herbert Warren Wind is smiling quietly.

Herbert Warren Wind is smiling quietly. There’s enough rich history in those sites to warm the precious memories of any golf fan with even a vague recollection of Jones, Palmer, Sarazen, Nelson, Hogan and Vardon. You could look it up. Or just Google it. Scottsdale’s own Brandel Chamblee, a latter day golf historian in his own right, pointed out that our sport, a couple of years ago, was predicted to be a “post apocalyptic world” without Tiger Woods. Now, Chamblee says, “We’re in a very good spot. Golf couldn’t be healthier.” The game will stay healthy, it says

Actually Jack had it backwards:

Twenty is the new 30. How else do you explain the golf maturity shown by Patrick Rodgers, Justin Thomas, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Hideki Matsuyama, Ollie Schniederjans and Emiliano Grillo, just to name a few, that already have Spieth, Fowler, Day and McIlroy looking over their limber shoulders. On the women’s side here are two

words to remember: Brooke Henderson. This precocious Canadian is just 18. And the prediction here is when Lydia Ko, also 18, finally gets knocked off the top spot in the Rolex World Rankings, it will be the rising Henderson, currently ranked 17th with a bullet, who summits. Meanwhile, Lucy Li, who charmed

the golf world as a giggling 11-year-old ingenue at the 2013 U. S. Women’s Open, is taking dead aim. If, by now, you’re tiring of all this future shock and

here, if we can all agree on a few New Year’s wishes/resolutions: • May Arnold Palmer live forever. • May Donald Trump become bored with golf and get into tennis.

• On the eve of the Waste Management Open, may a player ace the 16th AND 17th at TPC Scottsdale.

• Finally, may golf in the Olympics this summer be successful enough to help promote the sport, but awkward enough for the International Olympic Committee to take a pass on renewing it. n

Brian Hewitt is the former editor-in- chief of Global Golf Post, as well as an insider on the Golf Channel and senior writer for Golfweek.

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