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Golf: St Andrews looks set to take centre stage

The 2022 golfing calendar once again centres around the four Majors, with the highlight being the Open Championship returning to St Andrews for the first time since 2015.

And plenty of the action will be avalable to follow on the bet365 Live Golf Tracker.

The golfing elite focus their entire schedule around peaking for four weeks of the year, as the Majors remain the most prestigious events on the calendar and the best players in the world measure their success around them.

Last year, when Rory McIlroy visited Tiger Woods as the American recovered from his car crash, McIlroy could not understand why Woods had only 15 trophies on his mantelpiece. "Where are all your other trophies?" asked Rory.

The Northern Irishman then realised they were Tiger's 15 Major trophies. Woods did not know - or care - where the silverware for his regulation tournament victories were.

Masters up first at Augusta

Even now - in the first week of January - the golfing superstars are building towards getting themselves mentally and physically prepared for the second week of April, which is when the next Major - the Masters - will start at Augusta National, Georgia.

World number one Jon Rahm heads the betting for the Masters at 10/1, which is a price some may choose to take early.

The Spaniard got a little jaded in the latter months of last year - a spent force after an excellent Ryder Cup performance, but he seems sure to return with fire in his belly.

Rahm won his first Major last year - the US Open - and he will probably be ready to challenge for a second by the time the Masters arrives.

Teeing up at Augusta as a Major champion for the first time, Rahm can be expected to build on a decent Masters record and go extremely close to claiming the Green Jacket.

Hovland ready to step up

Another European may be worth following in the second Major of the season - the US PGA Championship at Southern Hills, Oklahoma. That is the adopted home state of Viktor Hovland, who starred at college in Oklahoma and who still lives there.

Hovland, who won the Hero World Challenge last month, has looked like a Major champion in waiting - and the breakthrough could come in familiar surroundings in the middle of May, with the Norwegian 22/1 to claim the title.

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Home hopes likely to dominate

The third Major is the US Open in the middle of June, which could turn into a shootout between Xander Schauffele and Collin Morikawa at Brookline, Massachusetts. These two calm Californians are made for US Open combat.

Morikawa already has two Major victories under his belt, but Schauffele has an amazing US Open record and could be the better value option at 18/1.

Open returns to St Andrews

Majors season concludes with the Open Championship at St Andrews in the middle of July and McIlroy, in particular, will be looking forward to getting back to the Home of Golf.

The four-time Major champion was unable to tee up at St Andrews the last time it staged the event - in 2015 - because he injured himself playing football in the build-up.

In the St Andrews Open prior to that - in 2010 - McIlroy opened with a 63 and looked the man to beat. Strong winds blew him off course on day two, but he finished the event in third place and he knows how to destroy St Andrews and 14/1 seems a tempting price.

Plenty more on the calendar

The PGA Tour starts 2022 with the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii, where Rahm and Morikawa are among the contenders, while Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama is another superstar getting his year under way at the Plantation Course next week.

The DP World Tour - formerly the European Tour - has the Abu Dhabi Championship in the middle of this month as its 2022 curtain-raiser and Morikawa and McIlroy have already indicated they will be in the field.

The Farmers Insurance Open in California at the end of January typically attracts some star names, while the Players Championship in Florida in the middle of March often boasts the strongest field of the whole season.

WGC begins in March

The first WGC - the Dell Technologies Match Play - will be staged at the end of March.

Then, just prior to the Open Championship, the Irish Open and the Scottish Open should see plenty of the elite honing their games for a crack at the Claret Jug.

Tour Championships conclude the year

The FedEx Cup play-offs follow the Majors - the FedEx St Jude Championship, the BMW Championship and the Tour Championship.

Then the DP World Tour's flagship event comes after that - the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in Surrey, in the second week of September.

The Internationals bid to stop the rot against America in the Presidents Cup comes at the end of September - the USA have won nine of the last ten editions - then the WGC-HSBC Champions in China returns to the schedule at the end of October.

The DP World Tour then closes with the DP World Tour Championship in the middle of November.

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