Having finished the first tour event of the 2017-18 season this week, we take a look at what we have learned from the 2016-17 PGA Tour Season.
What we learned from the 2016-17 PGA Tour Season
20 is the new 30:
Almost 10-20 years ago, a golfer would be considered to be in his prime after he turned 30. Sir Nick Faldo is a perfect example, winning the first of his six majors, the British Open, after he turned 30. This season, that view was completely ripped apart, as players in their 20s dominated the PGA Tour. Established players like Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas enjoyed phenomenal seasons, whilst rookies such as Jon Rahm enjoyed incredible breakthrough seasons. 26 PGA Tour events were won by players in their 20s, a record for the PGA Tour.
Instead of taking time to learn the ropes on Tour, young rookies on Tour are emerging ready to win. Just take Xander Schauffele as an example. In his first season on Tour he wins twice, including the season ending Tour Championship. In previous seasons it would have been exceptional for a rookie to make it that far, but the times are changing, making it harder then ever before to win on Tour.
American Golf is in a strong place:
The relentless domination shown by the American Team during the President’s Cup a few weeks back was incredible. The young, hungry American team nearly wrapped up the victory within the first three days of play. Had it happened, it would’ve been a feat we wouldn’t have seen again for a long time. The camaraderie and sheer talent shown by the American team shows just how strong American Golf is. The American golfers also dominated this season just like they dominated the Presidents Cup. Out of the four major winners this year, three of them were Americans in their 20s.
This bodes very well for the future of American team golf, as the brotherhood shown during the Presidents Cup is something that they have struggled with in recent team competitions. As this generation progresses through the years, they will only get stronger. As the Americans begin building for the Ryder Cup next year, the situation looks ominous for the European Team. They will need some incredible play to beat such as driven hungry American team.
Rory McIlroy needs a break:
Rory McIlroy has not had an incredible season. This was encompassed by what seems to be his final tournament of the year at the Alfred Dunhill Links. He limped to a poor 63rd place, barely making the halfway cut. Having not won a major championship since 2014, McIlroy’s golfing powers seem to be waning slightly. He has also been plagued by injury problems, and looks visibly tired. Seeing an extremely talented player such as Rory McIlroy put in such poor performances at the Majors this year is not something anyone would wish upon the Northern Irishmen. A couple of months out to recover his best form will do him, and the game of golf some good. After all, someone needs to challenge the American dominance of the game. Lets hope after a rest, that person is Rory McIlroy.
This week on Tour:
Brendan Steele won the first tournament of the 2017/18 season. He defended his title at the Safeway Open in California. The Tour now heads to the Far East to Malaysia for the CIMB Classic. Red-hot Justin Thomas is looking to win three times in a row. The field this week is a strong one and includes in form players such as Hideki Matsuyama as well as Paul Casey. Yet it is hard not to see a Justin Thomas win in Malaysia. I believe he will successfully defend his title.
NORTON, MA – SEPTEMBER 04: Justin Thomas of the United States plays his shot from the 17th tee during the final round of the Dell Technologies Championship at TPC Boston on September 4, 2017 in Norton, Massachusetts. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)