PGA Tour Players of the Decade
In the first part of our 'look back at the decade' series, Golfshake writer Derek Clements reviews the top players on the PGA Tour. Do you agree? Let us know in the commets below.
There have been a plethora of memorable performances during the past decade, and the emergence of a host of world-class players who have thrilled us since 2010. At the start of the decade we all suspected that Rory Mcilroy was going to be a superstar, and we knew that Dustin Johnson hit the ball into the middle of next week. But back then, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were the dominant forces. Here we look at 10 of the best players of the past decade.
It all began with a disaster at The Masters in 2011. McIlroy went into the final round leading by four shots, playing like a magician on a golf course that is made for him. But he suffered a meltdown and disappeared without trace after a round of 78 as South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel came through to win. But months later, the Northern Irishman won the US Open at Congressional by eight shots. He won the US PGA Championship in 2012 and two years later he won The Open and the US PGA Championship. Unbelievably, he has failed to add to that tally. But since 2010 Mcilroy has won 17 times on American soil and seven times in Europe. He also climbed to the top of the world rankings and has become a key member of Europe’s Ryder Cup team - after once claiming that it was nothing more than an exhibition match. He has a very different view now. Player of the decade? We will leave you to decide that.
Koepka finishes the decade as the world’s top-ranked player after a truly extraordinary couple of years. He won the US Open twice - and very nearly three times - and the US PGA Championship twice. What is all the more remarkable is that he successfully defended both titles. And in 2019 he also came within a whisker of winning The Masters and finished fifth at The Open at Royal Portrush. Koepka doesn’t receive the credit he deserves, and is not afraid to say so. He is good for the game - the American has taken fitness levels to new heights, hits the ball a mile and has a fabulous short game. He takes his position as world number one seriously. Surpsingly, he has only won seven times in total, but four of those wins have been in the tournaments that really matter - the majors.
When Spieth won his first PGA Tour event at the age of 19, it was pretty obvious that we were witnessing the emergence of a special talent. And so it proved. Still only 26, he has already won 11 times on the PGA Tour - that is all the more remarkable when you consider that his most recent success came at the 2017 Open Championship. His first major victory came at The Masters in 2015. He had nearly won it the previous year on his debut. He famously threw the Green Jacket away in 2016 after a disaster at the par-three 12th in the final round. He won the US Open in 2015 at the controversial Chambers Bay and when he triumphed at Royal Birkdale in 2017 it meant that, like Mcilroy, he needed only one more major to complete a career grand slam. His struggles since 2017 owe much to his inability to find fairways from the tee, but he remains one of the best putters in the world.
Thomas secured his first victory on the PGA Tour in November 2015 when he won the CIMB Classic and successfully defended it the following season. But it was in 2017 that he really announced himself. He won the Tournament of Champions in January and in the following week's Sony Open became the seventh player in PGA Tour history to shoot a 59. Thomas finished with rounds of 64, 65, and 65 to win the tournament by seven strokes. He also shot a 63 in the US Open and went on to win the US PGA Championship and the FedEx Cup, finishing the year with five wins. He now has 11 PGA Tour wins and is still only 26.
Even though he has yet to win a major, Rahm easily makes this list. The Spaniard only turned professional in 2016. In his first tournament as a pro, the Quicken Loans National, he finished third, and followed that with a tied second at the Canadian Open. He won the Farmers Insurance Open in 2017 and hasn’t looked back since. Rahm has now won three times on the PGA Tour and six times on the European Tour. He has twice won the Dubai World Championship and in 2019 won the Race to Dubai. He already has four top-10 finishes in majors to his name and is surely only a matter of time before he wins what will surely be the first of many.
Fleetwood looks like a rock star but in actual fact is a dedicated family man who still struggles to come to terms with everything he has achieved and can barely believe the rewards that have come his way. Off the course he is one of the nicest men on the planet. On it, he is also a man who smiles a lot, but he possesses a ferocious competitive spirit and a world-class golf game. Okay, so he is not a prolific winner - he has just five victories to his name - but he is arguably the most consistent player in the world. It almost defies belief that the Englishman went through the whole of 2019 without missing a single cut on either the PGA or European Tours. He won the Race to Dubai in 2017 and came within a whisker of repeating the feat in 2019. He was second in the US Open in 2018 and repeated the feat at The Open in 2019. And he makes tough golf courses look easy - he reduced Shinnecock Hills to 63 blows during the 2018 US Open. And then there was his performance during the 2018 Ryder Cup, when he teamed up with Francesco Molinari to score four points out of four. His first major surely can’t be long in coming.
There was a point when it looked like Day was going to become the dominant force in world golf. Unfortunately, the Australian has suffered some personal issues, not least the fact that his mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Unsurprisingly, it took its toll. He has also suffered a series of niggling injuries, the latest of which forced him to withdraw from Ernie Els’ International team at the 2019 Presidents Cup. His first victory on the PGA Tour came at the 2010 Byron Nelson Classic and he has gone on to win 12 times. Th highlight came when he claimed the US PGA Championship in 2015. There have also been three runner-up finishes, and he should have won the 2015 Open at St Andrews, where he missed out on a three-man playoff by a single shot.
The best current player never to have won a major? It’s the title nobody wants but Fowler is the current incumbent. You have to believe that he will one day put it right, if only because of that amazing putting stroke. There are times when Fowler looks like he will never miss - except when it really matters. The fact that he has been as high as fourth in the world rankings without winning a major speaks volumes for his consistency. Since 2010 he has won five times on the PGA Tour and twice on the European Tour. There have also been a host of near-misses in the majors. He has three times finished runner-up and has a total of 11 top-10 finishes. A passionate American, he has become a key member of the US Ryder Cup team. But he would swap everything he has achieved for one major.
The Dustinator hasn’t always written headlines for the right reason but boy can he play. Everybody is entitled to make mistakes, and Johnson would be the first to admit that he has made a few along the way. But events off the course have never had any effect on what he does on it. Famous for his long hitting, it is all too easy to overlook the fact that Johnson is a brilliant wedge player and a very good putter. He has won 18 times on the PGA Tour since 2010, more than any other golfer, and has 20 victories in all. There was a time when he must have started to wonder if he would ever win a major. He finished second at The Open in 2011 after driving out of bounds during the final round and in 2015 he took three putts from nowhere to hand the US Open to Jordan Spieth. But he finally put it right when he won the 2016 US Open.
When Rose turned professional as a 17-year-old and missed his first 21 cuts, nobody could possibly have predicted what would follow. Since 2010 he has become one of the most successful players on the PGA Tour, winning 10 times. The only year he failed to win on tour was 2016, but he did pick up a rather impressive consolation prize, winning the gold medal after seeing off Henrik Stenson and Matt Kuchar at the Olympic Games in Brazil. Oh yes, and there was also the small matter of the 2013 US Open at Merion, which he won after overhauling Phil Mickelson in the final round to become the first Englishman in 43 years to win the tournament. There have also been four European Tour victories. And in 2018 came his crowning glory when he became world number one.
Be part of the action with a selection of unique golf tournament experiences, from playing in a pro-am with the stars to watching the action at golf’s most illustrious events. Whether it’s the Masters or The Open, The Ryder Cup or WM Phoenix Open, build your own bespoke package with the experts at Golfbreaks.com.
PLAY MORE PLAY BETTER - LATEST TUITION TIPS
Latest Golf News
- Callaway Golf Chrome Soft Ball combines Truvis and Graphene
- Twist Face Tech - McIlory, Day, Johnson, Rose and Rahm Amazed!
- #GetCloser Challenge with Cleveland Golf
- Nick Dougherty Dunhill Diaries Video
- Feature Interview: Phillip Akers - How to get your child started with Golf