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The next 12 months of sport

With the football season now underway and the Premier League about to follow suit; we thought it was good time to think about what we are excited to watch over the course of the next year. Can the Tiger’s do it again and complete a Masters Grand National double? Will England actually bring it home? Will Eddie Jones lead England to a second Rugby World Cup Trophy, the first for twenty years? In horse racing will Enable win a record third Arc and continue her unbeaten run? Will Altior, the star of National Hunt, win a King George and even a Gold Cup? Will Hamilton win yet another F1 Championship? In the world of golf is it going to be another dominant year for Brooks Koepka and can Europe retain a Ryder Cup on American soil? Who will end up dominating the Heavyweight Boxing division? There’s so many exciting events to look forward to, all of which Go Sporting provide hospitality for. We take a deeper look at some of these events and what we can expect to see.

Starting with golf, we have to look back in order to make our predictions for the future. One wonders how much Tiger’s miracle win at Augusta took out of him? It was the greatest sporting comeback of all time. Woods had to endure multiple operations and at one point couldn’t walk or play with his children. His personal life also spiralled out of control and all this added up to a world ranking of 1199. The superhuman effort required to make himself competitive and then to go on and actually win The Masters has clearly taken its toll. He has yet to compete in an event outside of a major since winning at Augusta. He also missed the cut at the Open and struggled in the US Open and US PGA. Worryingly, he looked in pain when playing at Royal Portrush but Woods has been written off before and so it would be naive to say he can’t win a major next year but you have to begin to wonder just how long he can carry on competing for.

There are a long line of golfers aiming to succeed him and become a dominant force in golf and it’s one man in particular who looks best place to carry the Woods mantle and that is Brooks Koepka. Koepka finished top 5 in all 4 majors this year, won one of them and came 2nd at The Masters. In the final rounds of the PGA and The Open he was right on the premises and it’s almost impossible to see how he won’t be competitive at next year’s majors. As for his competition keep an eye out for the competitive Xander Schauffele who is trending in the right direction and the newly graduated crop of Hovland, Morikawa and Wolff are sure to be making headlines next season. Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Dustin Johnson won’t be going anywhere anytime soon and this season has been a quiet one for “The Scientist” – Bryson Dechambeau and it’s also been a struggle Jordan Spieth but both have the game to challenge.

America look to have a strong Ryder Cup lineup – as they do every year – with veterans Mickleson, Watson and Woods likely to miss out and be replaced by Schauffele, Cantlay and US PGA hero Woodland. As for Europe, their lineup will still consist of the 2018 hero’s Molinari and Fleetwood along with Rose, McIlroy and Rahm. However, will we see Matt Wallace break into the team, perhaps at the expense of the ‘Postman’ Ian Poutler? Whilst Open Championship hero Shane Lowry is bound to be knocking on the door of his Irish Captain Padraig Harrington for a wildcard pick if he didn’t get selected automatically. Whatever the lineup, the competition at Whistling Straits is going to be as fierce as ever.

The race of the century

This past season has seen the two big names in racing not only continue their dominance but arguably have their greatest seasons ever. Frankie Dettori, at the grand old age of 48, has had 11 Group One wins in the last 70 days. He’s won The Derby, The King George – with the imperious Enable – in perhaps the race of the century, The Gold Cup, The Goodwood Cup and he’s made it look easy. Yes, he’s had some outstanding horses, but by his own admission he’s never ridden better and to think it wasn’t that long ago that’d he’d been suspended for cocaine use and on his return to racing went almost 100 days without any winner at all. Dettori, like Woods, didn’t know when he was beaten and now he’s riding a crest of a wave and he looks sure to continue his love affair with The Arc as he and the heroine Enable bid for a third successive success in the race in October. The other dominant force in racing is Willie Mullins and not only did he win the Irish Trainers Championship with relative ease he also ended his Gold Cup hoodoo as Al Boum Photo powered up the Cheltenham hill to win. This year, Mullins looks to win the race again but arguably his best chance will be with a different horse – Kemboy. As Michael O’Leary winds down his operation, Mullins will look to strengthen his hand further and become even more dominant.

The big story in National Hunt though will be the mighty Tiger Roll. Can he win three Grand Nationals on the spin? No horse has ever done that. Red Rum won 3 times but over 4 years. Tiger Roll, diminutive in size, will look to warm up by winning the Glenfarcles Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham festival which he’s done the last two years. If he wins that race in the manner in which he won the 2019 renewal then chances are another successful National bid awaits.

The other story that took racing by storm is the rise of the female jockey. Who can forget Bryony Frost after her festival ride on Frodon? Frost, Lisa O’Neill and Rachel Blackmore are three names to watch out for in the 2020 season and we’re sure there are more grade 1 wins to come.

The heavyweight boxing division has seen new life be breathed into it in the last couple of the years with the rivalry of AJ, Fury and Wilder and more recently Diaz. If you believe the rumours then AJ is fighting for his future with his next bout against Diaz. Whilst Fury and Wilder are to meet again in February 2020. If AJ beats Diaz then one could expect him to take on the winner of the Fury Wilder fight in a bid to unify the division. Whatever happens, the next 12 months is set to be fascinating and dramatic in equal measure.

We can all remember where we were when Jonny Wilkinson sent that kick sailing over the posts to win the Rugby World Cup for England. This year the World Cup heads to Japan and England have a real chance. Coming off the back of a largely successful Six Nations it seems Eddie Jones has finally got England playing in the manner that he wants and promisingly for England it seems Australia and New Zealand are arguably as weak as they’ve ever been. Ireland and Wales are sure to be in the hunt and whilst France’s form is woeful you can never rule them out. Argentina look as strong as they’ve ever done and South Africa have recently won the Tri-Nations for the first time in many years. All this adds up to a competitive World Cup and a tournament that is sure to thrill.

Gareth Southgate will hope he can ride the feel good wave a little longer as he leads England to the Euro 2020 Championships. England, currently ranked 4th in the world, have been rejuvenated under Southgate. Keen to play dynamic football with pace and players who are comfortable on the ball, Southgate can look forward to returning World Cup hero’s Kane, Maguire, Henderson, Sterling, Stones and Pickford as well as introducing new stars such as Sancho and Foden. Indeed, Sancho and Foden could be the missing ingredient needed to secure their first major trophy since ’66. England will have to beat a new German team who have forced retirement on Meuller, Hummels and Boeteng. They’ll also have to overcome the World Cup champions France who are blessed with extraordinary strength in depth. Holland seem reborn with the introduction of the Ajax players that got to the Champions League semi final coupled with stars such as Depay and Van Dijk. Portugal not only have Ronaldo but they have three other stars in Joao Felix, Bruno Fernandes and the mercurial Bernando Silva. Throw Spain and Italy into the mix as well and the Euro’s almost looks as competitive as the World Cup. If Southgate can lead England to glory then the country would burst with delirium.

Sport has seen some magic moments so far in 2019 and the next 12 months is sure to create more hero’s and more historic moments. At Go Sporting we can take you to the heart of the action so give us an email if any of the events above take your fancy.