Joy of Golf: A 2016 golfing review

Joy Chakravarty analyses the year in Golf and rates players on their performance in 2016.

Joy Chakravarty
by Joy Chakravarty
21st December 2016

article:21st December 2016

Quality: Henrik Stenson
Quality: Henrik Stenson

With just one small tournament remaining in the year that counts towards the world rankings, the top-10s in men’s, women’s and amateur rankings are now set in stone.

Among the top-five of the men’s ranking, the biggest fall was by Jordan Spieth (down five from No1), while the best rise was by Dustin Johnson (up to No3 from eighth).

The women’s rankings were more volatile even though Lydia Ko remained the world No1, with Ariya Jutanugarn climbing to second from No63 and only Ko and Lexi Thomson maintaining their place in the top-five.

As we have done in the past, it is now time for our end-of-the-year report card for some of the biggest stars in the game…

JASON DAY (7/10)

The Australian world No1 enjoyed yet another sensational year, but three early wins by the 20th week, including the Players Championship, was undone by his injury issues towards the back-end.

Day missed nearly a third of the year and he will have to do a much better job of managing his body if he wants to continue his domination of world golf.


In a year in which he won the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open for the first time in his career, as well as the FedEx Cup – thus filling two huge gaps in his otherwise impressive CV – the Northern Irishman will definitely rue the fact that he struggled in the majors.

Of his three missed cuts this year, two were at the US Open and the PGA Championship.


It was a breakthrough season in the majors for the American, who won his maiden major title at the US Open, apart from winning the WGCBridgestone Invitational and a FedEx Cup Playoff event.

His only missed cut came at the PGA Championship, and he let go of a brilliant opportunity to win the FedEx Cup. Was also named Player of the Year on the PGA Tour. Also won the maximum world ranking points


For the consistency he showed throughout the year, and the amazing quality of golf he displayed at both the Open Championship and the Olympics, the Swede is my choice for the Male Golfer of the Year.

In addition, he also won the European Tour Race to Dubai for the second time and would have done much better in the FedEx Cup had he not kept European interest uppermost in his mind and pulled out of the final two Playoff events before the Ryder Cup.


The only reason Spieth is facing criticism is because everyone is comparing his 2016 to his 2015, which was as phenomenal a season as Tiger Woods’ 2000.

Otherwise, the American gathered 420.08 points – the fourth best effort of the year – and won three tournaments.

LYDIA KO (7/10)

The young Kiwi had a superb start of the year, winning three tournaments including the ANA Inspiration, but struggled in the second half with several mediocre outings.

She managed to retain her No1 ranking at the end of the season, but sacked her coach, David Leadbetter, and caddie.


Apart from an exceptional month of May, when she won three LPGA Tour titles in back-toback starts, the phenomenonal Ariya won the Women’s British Open to become the first-ever major champion from Thailand.

She was named Rolex Player of the Year on the LPGA Tour ahead of Ko for her five titles and five other top-five finishes. The world No2 is also our choice of the Ladies Golfer of the Year.


The South Korean struggled throughout the year with her left thumb injury.

For someone who did not break par since April, Park showed just how deep her resolve and determination was by winning the one tournament she was desperate to win last year – the Olympics – and that too by a whopping five shots over Ko. She has not played since then.


The world No4 Chinese superstar’s season went the other way of Ko. The four-time Omega Dubai Ladies Masters champion looked completely out of sorts in the first half of the year, but after winning a bronze at the Olympics, she was in contention in every tournament she played.


It will be a mistake not to put the 18-year-old Indian in this piece – easily the standout performer on the Ladies European Tour.

An amateur in December last year, she won the LET Qualifying School final stage, then qualified for the Olympics, won twice on Tour including her home Open, finished second in the Order of Merit and was the Rookie of the Year.


Our Amateur Golfer of the Year is the young Aussie, winner of this year’s Asia Pacific championship and the US Amateurs. Luck will play the Dubai Desert Classic but has postponed his plans to turn professional so that he can play the Masters, the US Open and the Open Championship – the three majors he is exempted to.


And finally, the 17-year-old Rayhan is our MENA Tour Golfer of the Year. It really was an incredible year as he became the first amateur winner on the Tour, and also improved to No106 in the World Amateur Ranking.