11 players who could become the world’s dominant golfer
In 2018 golf has seen four separate world number ones. Brooks Koepka overtook Dustin Johnson, who had overtaken Justin Rose to take the top spot just a few months after Justin Thomas was briefly number one.
The last time this occurred was back in 1997 when the number one spot was fought over by Tiger Woods, Greg Norman, Tom Lehman and Ernie Els.
Since the ‘Golden Era’ of Woods dominating the sport ended through injuries and scandals, golf has struggled to find a player that rules the roost as Woods did.
Englishman Luke Donald has topped the rankings for over a year since Woods stopped prolifically winning majors and both Jason Day and Dustin Johnson hzave clocked up significant time as the world’s top golfer, but only a single world number one in Rory McIlroy has won a major (2014 US PGA) since Woods stopped winning.
Here we take a look at some potential names who could become ‘the next Tiger Woods’ and dominate the sport of golf.
You could say that Brooks Koepka has come out nowhere. Early summer last year the American had a single PGA Tour title to his name, he now holds five PGA Tour titles, three of which are majors. Koepka can drive it for miles and short and mental games to beat any golfer on their day. Will he become the dominant player we are looking for after reaching World Number one for the first time? Out of all the players around currently, he’s probably going to favourite to win majors more so than anyone else.
Since his US Open victory, Dustin Johnson has been without doubt been dominant the past two years on the PGA Tour. DJ has consistently topped all the stats charts. For example last season he was:
- 1st in SG – Total
- 1st in SG – Off the tee
- 1st in SG – Tee to green
- 1st in Birdie Average
- 1st in Par 3, Par 4 and Par 5 scoring
Despite this however, the American was unable to translate this to wins in the majors and big events.
At the US Open he held the lead after the first two rounds, but he was outplayed by his close friend Koepka and eventually finished third. This turned out to be his best major result of the year. Granted, he did pick up three PGA Tour titles, but the dominant players and world number ones go for major titles and Dustin was unable to win one whilst being the world’s top golfer.
Many followers of the sport believe that Rory McIlroy is golf’s best player however, he simply hasn’t shown this over the past four years where he has failed to win a major.
He is the last player to win a major whilst being the world number one in 2014 but since then he has had his troubles. Struggling on the greens, with his wedges and probably most importantly his confidence. Turning 30 in 2019, he is not getting any younger so you would like to hope that his fortunes turn and he starts winning majors again and regain the number one position. However, Rory is too talented not to add to his majors’ tally so let’s see what next year brings.
This year has seen Justin Rose win his ninth PGA Tour title, have good showings in all the majors with his worst finish a T19th at the USPGA and reach world number one.
The Englishman, just like everyone on this list, only plays to win majors and increase his bank balance these days. At 38 Rose has the mental game and experienced combined with the physical attributes to make the most of the next few years ahead of him as he plays through his prime.
If you were a gambling person you would be tempted to put your house on him winning another major before the end of his career. Perhaps his next major victory is what he needs for the floodgates to open and to be able to kick on even further.
Justin Thomas has been world number one this year for two brief weeks, during which time he stated he hopes to stay at the top for a prolonged period of time. During 2018, JT won three times, an impressive feat considering it came after his best year on tour where picked up his first major and another four victories. Just as Koepka stepped out of the shadows, Thomas has burst into the big-time and has proved he has the attributes to go right to the top of the game. Will he be able to keep it up? Time will only tell.
Jordan Spieth has had a very strange 2018 as he has so far failed to win a tournament after chalking up 14 wins since the start of 2013.
Spieth has had a spell as the world’s number one from late 2015 through to early 2016, but an out of character season on the greens has cost him his place in the world’s top 1o golfers for the first time since November 2014.
As a three-time major winner you would like to think he has the mental strength and talent to battle through this rough patch and is still just 25 after all.
Based on this year’s performance you would probably doubt his credentials for becoming the world’s dominant golfer, but when he was riding the crest of a wave a few years ago he never looked like missing a putt.
When Jason Day is on top form he is nigh on impossible to beat. The Aussie is probably the world’s best player with the putter (1st in SG – Putting in 2016 and 2018) and the mental strength and ball striking ability to score very low.
His only major win to date was at the 2015 USPGA where he shot a major record -20, which has since been matched by Swede Henrik Stenson at the 2016 Open. He is well and truly in the prime of his career at just 30 years old but there is one thing that could hold him back – injuries. Two wins on the PGA tour this year after a winless 2017 are good signs however.
If this list was being compiled last year Francesco Molinari wouldn’t have even made the shortlist. However after working with legendary sports coach Dave Alred (the man behind Jonny Wilkinson’s success) Molinari has added yards to his drive through physical and technical work and gained an incredible competitive edge.
This year has seen some phenomenal results for Frankie, including beating Rory McIlroy at the BMW PGA Championship, winning his first PGA Tour title by eight strokes, winning his first major at the Open Championship and becoming the first golfer ever to win all five of his matches in a Ryder Cup.
At 35 he will feel he has plenty of time to add to his trophy cabinet and now has a reputation that proceeds’ him. Players on tour are starting realise Molinari’s relentless nature.
Could he actually win more majors and become world number one? Why not!
Following his fourth back surgery, drink driving charges and a world ranking into four figures, you couldn’t have predicted Tiger Woods would have come back the way he has done.
Granted, he is arguably the greatest golfer of all time but it seemed like the physical demands of world-level golf had taken their toll on his body and it just couldn’t cope anymore.
Tiger has shown his fans this year however, that he can win majors again, with a 2nd place at the USPGA, T6th at the Open and his win in five years at the Tour Championship. His driving game has been poor as always but when things click into place and he holes putts, he looks like he is reeling back the years and looking like the old Tiger.
His Tour win has given hope to both Tiger and his fans that there is a possibility he could return to world number one next year if he were to win again.
Questioned by some for his odd methods however, you can’t question the “Golfing Scientist’s” results. After what was an immensely successful amateur career, which saw DeChambeau become only the fifth man to win both the US Amateur and NCAA Division 1 titles in the same year, he has won five times in his two years as a professional.
These wins included four PGA Tour titles last year and three this year, two of which were back-to-back wins in FedEx Cup Playoff events. This saw him reach a career-high ranking of 7th and with this form with and a couple of majors under his belt he may well reach the top spot.
Jon Rahms’s career has pretty much followed followed that of DeChambeau’s. They both turned professional in late 2016 and they have both won five titles so far with Rahm also reaching number two in the world.
Just like other Spaniards in times gone by Rahm has a fiery temperament and when combined with his flair, long hitting and fantastic short game he is tantalising prospect. Rahm is also not the kind of guy to settle for second best. He has the will to win and will no doubt win majors in the future.
There are some fine golfers on this list but will any of them step up and become a dominant player in the near future?