The Tiger era ended a few years ago, and as golf fans, we were immediately spoiled by a group of dominant young players who were happy to take over the throne. Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, and Jordan Spieth proved the game doesn’t need Tiger Woods. While those players are firmly rooted in their prime and will continue to stack up victories for years to come, there is another group of young superstars in the making that are knocking on the door. You probably know their names, but you may not think of them as top 20 players regularly in contention for major victories of their own. Well, we think that this year some of them will prove you wrong. Here are four players to watch in 2017.
The Spaniard with the nickname “Rahmbo” was a dark horse pick a month ago, but not anymore. He won his first PGA TOUR event at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in just his twelfth start. The only player to win faster on TOUR was Tiger Woods (he was a decorated amateur player as well). He was the highest-ranked amateur in the world before turning professional and won 11 times in college at Arizona State. The only player with more victories at ASU was his coach’s brother, Phil Mickelson. He keeps some impressive company with those stats.
He’s got the game to be the best player in the world and it could happen sooner than you may think. Look for him to jump into the top 20 in the world rankings this year, and don’t be surprised to see him in the conversation on Sundays at the Majors this year, either.
The 22-year-old Brit is already a proven winner and international superstar in Europe, but is largely unknown in the States. 2017 is his first year playing the PGA TOUR full-time, and golf fans are sure to know his name very, very soon. He was the youngest player to compete in the Ryder Cup last year, and is quickly proving that his game travels well. He is long enough and possesses a wonderful short game that will pay dividends on TOUR. Already Fitzpatrick has 3 European Tour wins and last year posted his best major finish with a tie for 7th at the Masters. Don’t be surprised if he finds the winners circle this year.
Lovemark was a can’t-miss prospect coming out of USC and many experts pegged him as the next Tiger Woods. Those lofty expectations were unfortunately overblown as Lovemark lost much of his 20’s due to a nagging back injury. 2016-2017 was his first full season back on TOUR and healthy and he made the most of it, easily keeping his card. He is now showing a return to the form that led him to one of the best amateur careers of all-time, and 2017 is surely the year that he breaks out and gets that first PGA TOUR victory. Similar to Dustin Johnson, he is big, lanky, athletic, and possesses amazing “easy power.” Watching him hit driver is a whole lot of fun, and if his putter gets hot too, watch out, world.
You may know this name not from the incredible season he had last year on the Web.com Tour (3 wins and Player of the Year award), but for his following on social media. With his brother George, they are the Bryan Bros, trickshot artists with a social media following in the hundreds of thousands. He was also a contestant on the Big Break, but spent the last two years getting more serious about his game. He had one of the best years of all time on the Web.com Tour last year, and in his first few starts this year, he notched several top 10s on the PGA TOUR. That first W on TOUR may come sooner than you may think.
Frustrated with your golf game? Book discounted lessons with top-rated PGA pros in your area through PlayYourCourse and start lowering that score!