In 2016, the world of golf was filled with memorable moments. From Jordan Spieth’s surge to the top of the leaderboard at The Masters®, only to capitulate on the back nine, four first-time Major winners in Danny Willett, Dustin Johnson, Henrik Stenson and Jimmy Walker, with the year concluding with the apparent return to form of Tiger Woods, 2017 is shaping up nicely.
Ahead of the forthcoming season biggest events, we look at the top 5 golfers to watch in 2017.
Aged just 24, Matsuyama is the hottest property in all of golf right now. At the time of writing, his form this season reads as follows: 2-1-5-1-2, and is currently leading the way in the FedEx Cup standings. In 2016, Matsuyama claimed victory twice on the Japan Golf Tour, as well as finishing T7 at The Masters® and T4 at the USPGA. The Asian Amateur Champion in both 2010 and 2011, the sky is the limit for Matsuyama, expect him to be competing for Majors throughout 2017.
The greatest golfer of his generation, Tiger Woods returned to the golf course in early December following 15 months away from the game. Love him or loathe him, the game of golf needs Tiger Woods just as much as Tiger Woods needs the game of golf. While the question may arise if he can recapture his form of old, Woods is still box office. Will he win a 15th Major title or 80th PGA TOUR victory? That remains to be seen, as does his ability to stay healthy. We’re hoping to see Woods tee it up at Augusta National® on April 6, producing trademark Tiger moments.
In 2017, Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy will once again have the opportunity to clinch a career Grand Slam. Victory in The Masters this April would see him move alongside the greats of Sarazen, Hogan, Player, Nicklaus and Woods as the only players ever to win all four Majors. While 2017 promises so much for the world number 2 after a season-ending win in the Tour Championship to claim the FedEx Cup and a $10 million bonus, it has also been two years since he won a Major. The day will come where McIlroy will have a stretch where is simply untouchable, the question is will that be in 2017?
The name that was on everybody’s lips in 2016, Dustin Johnson completed a memorable year by claiming his first career Major at the US Open at Oakmont back in June. The second-longest driver on Tour last year behind JB Holmes, Dustin Johnson showed his true potential, and one suspects we are about to embark on the apex of DJ’s career. With his power game, Johnson will like his chances at Augusta, where he has finished T6 and T4 in his last two appearances there.
Perhaps the least-known name on this list, but one we are certain to hear more of in 2017, Justin Thomas stock is forever-rising. A product of the University of Alabama, Thomas has started the 2016/17 season like a house on fire, with two wins to date. A fine showing in 2016 which saw him claim six top-10 finishes including a third-place finish at THE PLAYERS Championship, Thomas draws comparisons to Jordan Spieth in terms of his style of play, and has the potential to match his achievements. Early season form for 2017 (currently 2nd in the FedEx Cup standings) suggest this could be a big year for Justin Thomas.
Let 2017 the year that you get to watch golf’s best players compete at the PGA TOUR's flagship event, with unrivaled access and exquisite hospitality, THE PLAYERS® Championship.
THE PLAYERS® Championship
Beginning May 9, 2017, THE PLAYERS® Championship is the PGA TOUR’s most anticipated tournament and coveted title. Held at TPC Sawgrass, the “Stadium Course” gives fans an unprecedented experience with on-site access you simply will not get anywhere else.
By choosing THE PLAYERS Club, you’ll have access to the practice and tournament rounds of your choosing on individual days or for the full week. You’ll also be granted private access to the TPC Sawgrass Clubhouse, as well as private suites overlooking the 18th Green and signature 17th Tee!