PGA Golf Tour: What to Expect in 2022
With the NFL Postseason here already, what better way to recover from the weekend than to take a complete 180 and talk PGA Tour! That's right! Aside from football, golf is probably my biggest passion, and it's a sport that I'm actively playing.
The PGA Tour is back in full swing, with the Sentry Tournament of Champions wrapping up recently. As golf is starting to get going, I thought it would be best to give you some of the major headlines as we jump into the New Year.
What Has Happened So Far?
As I write this article, we are 11 tournaments into the season. Currently, Talor Gooch leads the FedEx Cup standings with 904 points. Gooch is a solid young up-and-comer and an excellent golf ball striker. Right behind him are young guns, Sam Burns and Cameron Smith, with others right behind them. Burns is poised for a breakout season after capturing the Sanderson Farms Championship in early October.
On the other hand, Smith is one of the top golfers in the world. After winning the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii this past weekend, Smith is ranked tenth in World Golf Rankings. The mullet man from Australia is one of those young guns itching to capture their first major.
Other winners on tour include Rory McIlroy, Max Homa, Viktor Hovland (2), and defending Masters Champion Hideki Matsuyama. Here are a few headlines and some bold predictions for the upcoming season.
Is This A Make or Break Year for Rory McIlroy?
Rory McIlroy is coming into the 2022 season, hoping to get back on track with the majors. It feels like yesterday when Rory won two majors in 2014 to bring it to four majors. However, that was eight years ago, and Rory is starting to get older, as more young guys like Bryson Dechambeau and Colin Morikawa begin to emerge onto the scene.
Despite all that, the new season has already seen success from McIlroy, winning the CJ Cup @ Shadow Creek in October. Many more victories could be in store for Rory, as he needs a Green Jacket to complete the career grand slam; the Masters has been cruel to Rory over the years. Could this year be the year Rory finally gets to dawn the Green Jacket?
Will Tiger Play in A Golf Tournament This Year?
A year ago, when Tiger Woods got into that car crash, I, along with many others, didn't think he would ever play competitive golf again. However, after his appearance in the PNC Championship with his son, Charlie, I believe he can still play in December. One year removed from a near-fatal car accident, Tiger has gone through rehab and intense pain to get to where he is now. When that video of him surfaced of him swinging a club for the first time, I felt a rush of excitement go through my veins. That's how much he means to the game of golf.
Anyway, despite how awesome it is to see Tiger hopefully make his return soon, I'm not sure if his body can take the punishment of walking for four rounds in a major, let alone a golf tournament. At the PNC Championship, he and Charlie rode in a golf cart because he isn't quite a hundred percent. Also, if you factor in his numerous surgeries on his back and neck, the car accident doesn't help. As much as I would love to see Tiger back in action, I'm unsure if it will be this year.
What will happen with the Brooks/Bryson Feud?
If you followed the PGA Tour last season, you were well aware of the ongoing feud between Brooks Koepka and Bryson Dechambeau golfers. Dechambeau, known for his unique scientific approach to golf, has recently become more known for his more muscular physique and his vastly-increased distance off the tee. However, he is an oddball course and has a weird personality. Dechambeau's personality pissed off many people, golfers included. One golfer, in particular, was Brooks Koepka.
No one is sure why Koepka, a four-time major winner, chose after the long-hitting Dechambeau. The feud had surfaced on social media in 2020 but escalated once fans were allowed to attend events in 2021. The conflict seemed to reach its boiling point at the PGA Championship when Koepka made his frustrations with Dechambeau known by saying a few choice words about him as he walked behind him during his post-round interview. I won't go into detail about it, but let's say it wasn't pretty.
The two golfers seemed to have buried the hatchet after teaming up together to triumph over Europe in the Ryder Cup. They even played in a disappointing 12-hole contest, but we won't go into too much detail about that. Since the Ryder Cup, the two golfers seem to be somewhat on the right page. Therefore, I don't see the feud escalating any further. It will simmer down.
Three Bold Predictions:
Jon Rahm will win another major:
Everything seemed to go Jon Rahm's way in 2020. The world number one found a new sense of life last year after his son, Kepa, and since then, he has been on a clear path to success. The Spaniard dominated Torrey Pines the previous year to claim the U.S. Open and his first major. After a successful 2020 campaign, I think he will continue that success and win another major. I'm unsure which major he will, but I would like to see him hoist the Wanamaker Trophy at Southern Hills.
Jordan Speith will finally win another major:
One of the many great things the 2020 golf season brought with us was the resurgence of Jordan Speith. Speith proved to the golf world that he still had the game to contend in a major again. Since winning the 2018 Open Championship, Speith has knocked on the door but is looking for another title. Again, I'm not sure which major he will win, but I just have a feeling this year will be Speith's year.
Scottie Scheffler and Will Zalatoris will get their first wins on tour:
2020 saw American Scottie Scheffler break into the scene and the PGA Tour's rookie of the year. The following year, Will Zalatoris, despite not being an actual tour member, finished in the top 30 in the FedEx Cup rankings. Even with that, he still didn't qualify for the playoffs because he failed to pick up a victory.
Both Scheffler and Zalatoris have lots of talent, and each has its unique traits to the game. Scheffler is a deadly iron player, while Zalatoris has a lot of finesse. Also, they have both shown their toughness in the majors. Also, Scottie Scheffler was a member of this year's Ryder Cup team. I think 2022 will be filled with a lot of breakout talents. Guys like Australia's Cameron Smith and America's Tony Finau fit that mold, but I think you've got to throw in Will Zalatoris and Scottie Scheffler. I think both young Americans will pick up their first victory on the PGA Tour in 2022. Who knows, it might be a major.
From Xander Schauffele winning the Gold Medal to the 37-year-old Dustin Johnson, there is much more to break down. As the year swings on, I will keep everyone up to date on what is happening in the PGA Tour. Whenever a big tournament rolls around, I will be right there with my predictions.
Oh, and I almost forgot, Phil Mickelson still won the PGA Championship last year!
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Jake Klausner covers all things sports for ThePyrrhic.com. Keep your eyes peeled for NFL Analysis, World Series Recaps, and more from Jake.
Follow him on Twitter @jake_klausner