Ahead of a big year of golf in 2020, we look at five star players set to shine on the major stage.
Wins in 2019: Players Championship, Canadian Open, Tour Championship, WGC-HSBC Champions
Major results in 2019: The Masters (T21), PGA Championship (T8), US Open (T9) The Open (MC)
After four wins in 2019, the PGA Tour Player of the Year looks back to his best and is sure to be a force this season.
With Brooks Koepka recovering from knee surgery, the Northern Irishman, if all goes well, has the chance to seal the world No1 spot and arrive at the Masters in April as the player to beat. His 19 top-10 finishes in 25 worldwide starts shows a player purring with confidence again.
On the PGA Tour, the four-time major winner’s +2.551 was the fourth best single-season Strokes Gained: Total since the statistic started 16 years ago. The other three all belong to Tiger Woods. He also led in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and finished a career-best 24th in Strokes Gained: Putting (+0.43).
Wins in 2019: PGA Championship, St. Jude’s Invitational
Major results in 2019: The Masters (T2), PGA Championship (1), US Open (2) The Open (T4)
An absolute rock on the major stage and a player many golf fans can’t wait to see back in action once he recovers from left knee surgery.
Achieved top-five finishes in all four majors in 2019, winning the PGA Championship in Bethpage Black to add to his three other majors won in 2017 and 2018.
It will be interesting to see how many more chips Koepka has on his shoulder. Surely now he realises people back him as one of the finest to grace the game.
The Florida man is one of the most improved iron players and ranked 11th in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green, gaining +0.64 strokes per round with his strong approach play. This is the first time since 2014 that he has ranked inside the top 60.
Wins in 2019: The Masters, Zozo Championship
Major results in 2019: The Masters (1), PGA Championship (MC), US Open (T21) The Open (MC)
Tied with Sam Snead on 82 PGA Tour wins, Woods needs just one more triumph to set a new record, one that will be difficult for any player to beat going forward.
The pressure will always be on the 15-time major winner no matter where he plays but he closed out 2019 superbly with victory at the Zozo Championship in Japan, fourth place at the Hero World Challenge and a flawless performance (3-0) at the Presidents Cup in Australia.
The 44-year-old played 14 times in 2019 but how many of those were for four good days? If he is physically able for it, then expect him to win at least once this year and set the historic PGA win record.
The world No6’s back and knee did look strong but he didn’t produce enough rounds to qualify for 2019 statistics. For Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green, his +0.65 average would have ranked in the top-10. While, he would have matched Koepka for 11th in the rankings as he hit 69.67 per cent of his greens.
Wins in 2019: Irish Open, Spanish Open, DP World Tour Championship, Race to Dubai
Major results in 2019: The Masters (T9), PGA Championship (MC), US Open (T3) The Open (11)
The 25-year-old’s form in 2019 was strong, with top-12 finishes at three of the four majors, and 12 top-10s on the PGA Tour.
The Spaniard, who is based out of Arizona, constantly hovers in or around the leaderboard these days and is highly fancied to win a first major in 2020.
He continues to evolve as a player each year and his skill and experience should see him add to his 10 worldwide victories to date.
The Race to Dubai winner was sixth in scoring average (69.618) on the PGA Tour last season, and was ranked top five in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee in all three of his first Tour seasons – a huge asset to green position.
Could we see Rahm wearing the green jacket at Augusta on the 40th anniversary of Seve Ballesteros’ first Masters win?
Wins in 2019: Saudi International, WGC-Mexico Championship
Major results in 2019: The Masters (T2), PGA Championship (2), US Open (T35) The Open (T51)
After being runner-up at the PGA Championship in May, Johnson was unable to finish higher than 20th in eight starts.
Part of the reason for his poor second half of the season was down to a knee issue and, if he has recovered, then there is no reason why he can’t compete at the sharp end of tournaments more this season. In fact, since 2008, he has won every year on the PGA Tour and should triumph again this campaign.
The 35-year-old, ranked sixth in the world, should have more than one major to his name, especially after a frustrating amount of near-misses over the years. His consistency is admirable, though, with 22 worldwide wins and 96 top-10 finishes in 261 starts.
While some may question his age and whether he still has the fire, the majority of players would trade it all in for DJ’s athleticism and accurate club play.
He was near the top of the standings in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee once again in 2019, but his fourth-place finish marked the first time in five years that he didn’t rank in the top two.
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