There is much to commend the future. Mostly this is the fact that it hasnt happened yet and therefore we cannot be disappointed. That we will be (mostly) disappointed is a given, of course, but until it happens the future remains a shiny, glittery thing, as full of promise as a new, turbo-charged driver on the 1st tee.
The great thing about the future is that it is also the present in as much as it can happen now inside your head. I dont know about yours, but not that much happens any more inside my head. This possibly may be because it is too full of regrets about the past, although, to be fair, the biggest regret is that I now struggle to remember clearly what it is I actually did in the past that I should regret.
Still, as we stumble incoherently into whatever 2008 holds for us all, it is time to cast a seriously prejudiced eye over the coming scene and to have a squinty-eyed look at what I would like to see occur in the ever-changing, yet eternally similar, world of golf that helps us all survive the other misfortunes that life throws at us.
And so allow me to present my ultimate Wish List for 2008.
That Nick Faldo continues to needle Colin Montgomerie right up until he picks the Great Scot for the Ryder Cup team. I hope for this because it adds gaiety to the Ryder Cup scene and it provides copy for journalists to write and stuff for you lot to read, but mostly it is because an offended Monty is a dangerous Monty and the old boy needs to be pricked a little bit now if he is to make that team one way or another. It simply wouldnt be the same without him.
That Tiger Woods fails to win a Major next season. Nothing personal here if only I knew him well enough to get personal but the great man has perfected his superficial superstar act too well for me, or any other journalist, to get close. No, Id like to see Woods go winless in 08 because then he really would be facing a challenge as he closes in on Jack Nicklaus record that he so wants to break by winning in 2010 at St Andrews.
That the sun will shine on Royal Birkdale for the Open because this is the greatest of all English links and I want it to gleam like the rugged beauty it is.
That The Royal & Ancient finally gets to grips with the malaise at the heart of modern golf, that they shrug off the dangers of possible litigation and that at last, after far too long a debate and wait, it gets round to banning the wearing of baseball caps by anyone over the age of 14 and a half.
That the media in general would stop regarding golf as a game played by snotty chaps who only regard women as useful when the girls are doing one of two things, the second of these being dusting. This view is as outdated as a gutta percha ball and, though the grand old game is far from perfect, it is now more switched on than almost every significant sport. The next clichéd hack to write The R&A spluttered into their pink gins following some ludicrously inflated anti-establishment story should be hunted down and dragged into the 21st century. Unless, of course, its me.
That amateurs everywhere speed up their play and that professionals endure a three strikes and youre out of the next tournament you have entered punishment for taking an age over a shot. I mean, how many times do you need to critically analyse a putt before hitting the flaming ball? Most times they miss anyway. So get on with it. Please.
That Lorena Ochoa is recognised properly as the best pound-for-pound golfer in the world. And that Tiger acknowledges it. This,
by the way, is coupled with the usual Pigs Might Fly wish.
That the United States Ryder Cup team gets back into the great match properly and that flags of any type are banned from Valhalla. However, this being Kentucky where the Stars and Stripes has replaced the gnome as the garden decoration of choice, I may be back
in flying pigs territory here.
That every reader of this magazine wins something in 2008. This does not have to be anything of any significance, just simply something a ball, a quid, a friendly fourball. It doesnt matter. What does matter is that everybody enjoys that small frisson of satisfaction that comes from actually winning. The bloke who claimed it is the taking part that counts was clearly a loser.
That Justin Rose wins the Open; that David Howell enjoys an injury-free year; that Darren Clarke comes back to us properly restored as a player; that Rory McIlroy continues his sensational progress; that Monty gets married and lives happily ever after; that Faldo attends the wedding; that players who learnt their trade on the European Tour return to support it more than they have done in recent years; that I finally get a par 4 on the ridiculously challenging 11th on the East Course at Wentworth.
And finally I wish that you, dear reader, continue to buy this magazine. Otherwise Ill have to wish I was writing this somewhere else. Have a great 2008.
PS: Golf often finds itself in a debate over whether it is a sport or a pastime. This, of course, is tedious beyond belief so it was good to see something else enter this area recently when pigeon racing became the target. Is it a sport? The answer is easy… only if you are a pigeon.