After a reign of dominance by Jason Day the last five or six weeks, Jordan Spieth got back to his winning ways, earning the FedEx Cup on Sunday. He shot a -9 beat Danny Lee by four shots at the Tour Championship at East Lake.
It was just a perfect ending to one of the most historic golf seasons we’ve probably ever witnessed. Jimmy Walker started off hot like he normally does, winning twice early in the season.
Then Dustin Johnson won, and placed well in most tournaments to complete a very solid comeback season. He’d go on to have 11 top 10 finishes which is tied for second best with Jason Day. DJ came back with full force and is inching ever so close to that first major.
Then Jordan was simply a man on fire, winning The Masters and U.S. Open back-to-back to go along with three other wins including the John Deere Classic, where he got his first win a couple of years ago. He defeated a red hot Tom Gillis for the victory. Jordan would also place in the top five in all four majors, mirroring what Rickie Fowler did just a year earlier, except Jordan won two of the majors.
Rickie, who was voted along with Ian Poulter as the “Most Over Rated Player in Golf”, proved his haters wrong and with a vengeance. Rickie would go on to win three times this season with victories at The Players Championship at the famed TPC Sawgrass, a win at the legendary Scottish Open and a win at the Deutsche Bank Championship at Arnold Palmer’s TPC Boston.
He shut the door down on all three wins and put on the most remarkable display at Sawgrass while practically making a mockery of Alice Dye’s 17th hole, arguably the most famous hole on the planet. These performances made Ian Poulter the lone title holder of “Most Over Rated Golfer”. Ouch Poults.
Bubba Watson who was fresh off of his second Masters victory, also quietly put together a nice season, winning two times with a win very early in the season in late 2014 at the WGC-HSBC while also winning the Travelers Championship and having three runner-ups. He however finished tied for 38th at the Masters and missed the cut at the U.S. Open.
Nonetheless, he had 10 top 10s (Say that fast three times) to finish off a solid season and at the end of the day, he still has two Masters wins. Not bad.
Zach Johnson, who was already being whispered about around the golf world as a potential hall of famer, has made his chances even better. ZJ went on to win the Open Championship at St. Andrews for his 12th PGA Tour win and second major title.
Getting his major titles at courses most would say are more aimed for the power hitters, ZJ used his deadeye accuracy and clutch putting to earn his wins. What’s more impressive is that he had to battle bad weather at both, proving that he’s one of the better bad weather players in golf.
Arguably one of the most accurate golfers of all-time, Zach has made a push for his ticket to the Hall of Fame. Some will say he needs more wins, some will say he’s a lock, but he definitely put himself in the conversation with the win at St. Andrews.
Robert Streb has very quietly put together a great season. He won the McGladrey Classic very early in the season and would remarkably end up with nine top 10 finishes and 16 top 25 finishes.
He has become one of golf’s most dangerous putters, finishing 24th in the world in Strokes Gained (Putting). Don’t sleep on Robert with the driver, as he ranked 36th in the world in driving distance.
Great putting and great power make a deadly combination and wouldn’t surprise me to see Robert make a little noise next season.
Rory McIlroy had a solid season winning two times in three weeks and finishing with seven top 10s. Sure, he didn’t quite have the “Rory McIlroy Year” that many were expecting but that in huge part is due to the slaughter of all golf courses courtesy of Jordan Spieth.
Despite that, Rory is still one of the top dogs in the game and may be already considered on of the “greats” (Gotta be careful with how I say that). Can never argue with four majors and double digit victories but with the slew of new talent emerging, it could be harder for him to run away with 20+ victories….and complete the career grand slam at Augusta National.
It’s been quite a strong year for rookies. They say there’s a “big 4” in golf (Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Rickie Fowler) but how about the big four of rookies this season?
Nick Taylor, Justin Thomas, Daniel Berger and Tony Finau all had some very solid seasons with Taylor notching up a win. Daniel Berger maybe having the best season of all and may potentially win the Rookie of the Year award.
Berger finished with 13 top 25’s and six top 10’s. You can definitely make an argument for Finau who is a beast with 16 top 25’s and five top 10’s but Berger has two runner-ups which would seal the deal on that.
Taylor, although had a win, only had one top 10. no doubt that all of these guys will be on Tour for a long time and they aren’t afraid to shred up courses across the country.
Just and outstanding rookie class to go with an already amazing season.
Ahhh, Danny Lee. He was once looked at as one of the game’s rising starts. He still very well could be at only 24 years of age.
After a mostly slow start to the new PGA Tour season, D-Lee started to spark like a firecracker, winning the historic Greenbrier Classic at The Old White TPC and then finishing tied for third at the John Deere Classic, tied for fourth at the Quicken Loans National, tied for sixth at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and then just finishing tied for second at the Tour Championship.
He’s not going to dazzle you with amazing drives down the fairway but he, like Robert Streb, has a hot putter, ranking 23rd in the world in Strokes Gained. He’s also one of the most dangerous players out of the bunker, ranking seventh in the world in Sand Save Percentage.
Is D-Lee just another one of the growing number of young stars, making his mark? Keep a close eye out for him in the new PGA Tour season.
Look out Lydia Ko, you may not be the best New Zealand golfer after all! Aw screw it, yeah she is!
This leaves us with Jason Day. The one man who almost crashed Jordan Spieth’s Player of the Year tour.
For at least the past five years, Jaydee has had some close calls at the majors. Probably the most famous being his runner-up finish at the infamous 2011 Masters (Year after Phil Mickelson won, Tiger Woods’ strong return, Rory’s collpase, Martin Kaymer’s fall from world number one. All happened here).
After that, it seemed to be a lock that he would grab a major, and after more close calls, many started to wonder if he would he was going to be stuck like Dustin Johnson who also has had many close calls at the majors. The spotlight wasn’t on Jason much at the time as a lot of it was focused on Johnson who, in those days was the “next great American golfer” and has put together a great career but just hasn’t won that major.
So it seemed as if Jason was put in the same boat as DJ. Well, he dove off the off the boat and into the ocean as he finally broke the ice.
He would go on to have a monster season, winning five times and finishing in the top 10 in three of the four majors, winning one of them at the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits (He finished tied for 28th at the Masters). He’d go on an incredible run, winning four times in six weeks, eventually leading to him taking the crown as the new world number one golfer.
It looked like it was just going to be the Jordan Spieth show most of the year but little did we know that Jason had other plans. If anything, it’s a very exciting time to be a golf fan with four young, skilled and humble guys leading the charge (Spieth, Day, McIlroy and Fowler).
There has been talks that maybe Jason may get the Player of the Year award over Jordan but with his win at the Tour Championship on Sunday, I think Jordan pretty much locked it up. Plus, Jordan won two majors in a row while Jason got the one at the PGA.
Either way, Jason definitely threw his name in the conversation and I’m sure he will be voted POTY by a publication or two. When you win four times in six weeks including a major, that’s just insane and I highly recommend that Jaydee sees a doctor immediately on this winning issue thing he’s having.
Jordan will be next in line behind him.
But what an unbelievabele season it has been on the PGA Tour. I think the sport of golf has reached many new fans thanks to some amazing highlights and memories.
The new generation of golf has finally arrived and is looking very strong so far. Crazy thing is, it’s not over yet!
We still have the President’s Cup and it’s going to be like an all-star showdown at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Korea. Some of the top players will be duking it out for the always beautiful and shiny President’s Cup.
Highlighting the U.S. squad are Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker while the International squad is highlighted by Jason Day, Adam Scott and the aforementioned Danny Lee. Jay Haas will be the captain of the Americans while Nick Price will lead the International team.
The sport of golf is only going to get stronger from a commercial standpoint and with the fun, young characters who aren’t afraid of any type of shot, the fanbase will only continue to grow. As for the actual sport itself, the solutions are all right in front of you such as nine hole courses, par-3 courses, pitch & putt courses, etc.
But with the growing popularity of the PGA Tour, it will no doubt help bring more followers into giving the sport a try and taking some swings. It’s absolutely amazing how fast this new generation has started to blossom like a rose in the Spring time.
It was just last year when we saw Rory as the only true rising star in the sport. Fast forward a year later and we have a freakin’ “Big 4” now.
It really is astonishing and it’s so much fun and I hope you enjoy the ride (Make sure to have your safety belt on!). The next generation of golf is right in front of our eyes!
And oh, by the way, Jordan Spieth just won the Player of the Year and Daniel Berger just won the Rookie of the Year. Not too shabby!
Be sure to follow me on Twitter @ChiGolfRadio! I retweet retweets and post a lot of golf with some occasional random stuff!
Colin GP Mieczkowski
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