It’s shaping up to be another exciting year for the PGA Tour. In 2017, Justin Thomas was the name on everyone’s lips. The 24-year-old American star won his first major, helped the US win the Presidents Cup, and broke into the top three in the world rankings. Can he keep it up in 2018?
We’ll have to wait and see. There are plenty of exciting potential storylines just waiting to play out this year, so let’s take a look and ask some big questions about what might happen in the PGA world over the next 12 months.
It will be interesting to see if some of the sport’s bigger stars can bounce back after relatively disappointing periods. Look at Rory McIlroy, for example.
Back in 2014, it seemed like the Northern Irishman could do no wrong, earning victory after victory, but he hasn’t actually won a single major since the end of that year and has dropped all the way down to 11th in the world rankings. 2017 was a pretty bad year for Rory, with only seven top 10 placements worldwide.
Jason Day and Adam Scott will also be hoping to rebound in 2018 and enjoy better seasons this time around. Day started the year as the top ranked golfer on the planet but dropped right down to 13th over the course of 2017.
He did end the year with some promising performances, though, so he’ll be hoping to carry that momentum into the new year. Scott, meanwhile, didn’t finish in the top five all year long, plummeting to 31st in the world rankings.
He, Day and McIlroy all have the talent needed to get back on track, and they’ll all be looking at 2018 as a turning point season.
What to Look for From Tiger in 2018
Another big star hoping to recapture the glory of years gone by is none other than Tiger Woods himself. Golf’s former poster boy has endured personal issues that have affected his professional results for some time now, but he’s expected to do big things in 2018.
Now 42 years old, Woods has had to endure several back surgeries over the last few years, but he seems confident and wants to prove that he still has what it takes. The former world number one is now ranked outside the top 500 and hasn’t won a major since 2008, so it would be a big shock if he pulled off another big win in 2018, but history has shown we can never count Tiger out.
As well as the older and more recognizable players, 2018 will see plenty of young guns breaking onto the scene and setting themselves up as potential stars of the future.
Youth was a big element on last season’s PGA Tour, with six of the world’s top eight players being younger than 30. Thomas, for example, is only 24 and should continue his good run into 2018, while Rickie Fowler (29) and Jordan Spieth (24) still have many years ahead of them.
Last year we saw young players like Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm burst onto the big stage, and we can already predict a few youngsters who might be able to make a similar leap in 2018.
Tony Finau, for example, ended the year in style, rocketing up to 40th in the world rankings, and we’re excited to see what he can do at the majors in 2018. Peter Uihlein is another one to watch, along with Cameron Smith, who ended 2017 with a win at the Australian PGA Championship and a few other top-5 finishes.
Can Rickie Fowler Keep Rolling?
Back in America, Rickie Fowler and his fans will be hoping that this could be the year the 29-year-old finally gets his first major win. He finished in the top five of every single major in 2014 and earned another couple of top-5 placements last year too.
He has consistently been near the top of the table and proven that he has what it takes to get to those latter stages of the big tournaments, but he hasn’t quite found the x factor needed to push himself all the way to the trophy. 2018 could be his year.
Fowler’s record shows that his weekend rounds tend to let him down. At the US Open, he shot a 72 in the final round. It was a similar story at the PGA Championship, where he shot 73 in the third round.
If he can just find a little more consistency, he is clearly capable of winning of the four major tournaments. He seems destined to win one soon, and when that victory finally comes, he’ll have earned it.
One final exciting element of the PGA Tour in 2018 that we just had to mention is the possible inclusion of more overseas talent. With a lot of big tournaments set to take place in the US, it’s likely that some of Britain’s biggest stars like Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton and Matthew Fitzpatrick could all be flying over to take part.
Hatton is already the world number 16 and enjoyed a great 2017, so we’d love to see more of him in the coming year. Fleetwood also enjoyed an excellent 2017 season, and Fitzpatrick ended the calendar year with nine finishes in the top-20. British fans will be hoping these breakout stars can continue their good runs into 2018.