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Which Golfers Have The Most to Prove in 2022

By: | Wed 01 Dec 2021 | Comments

IT HAS been a sensational year for the likes of Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa and Hideki Matsuyama. We also saw Abraham Ancer finally win his maiden title on the PGA Tour and Ryder Cup star Tony Finau win his second tournament after so many near-misses. And, of course, we enjoyed the sensational return to form of Jordan Spieth.

But it has not all been success stories. Here, we look at 9 American and European golfers who will not look back on 2021 with much affection and will be hoping for a vast improvement next year...

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy

It is well documented that the Northern Irishman’s most recent major victory came in 2014 and for a golfer of his quality that simply isn’t good enough. McIlroy was so unhappy with his form that he sought help from renowned coach Pete Cowen. Soon after they started working together McIlroy won the Wells Fargo Championship but it was a win that came as a result of an incredible week on the greens. McIlroy’s nadir came at the Ryder Cup when, for the first time in his career, he was dropped for a session. He left Whistling Straits and decided the time had come to go back to what he knew best, trusting his natural ability. He promptly won the CJ Cup and announced he would once again be working with life-long coach Michael Bannon. It will be fascinating to watch his progress in 2022. 

Rickie Fowler

Rickie Fowler

Fowler was a fixture in the top 10 in the world rankings. And then it all started to go wrong. Like so many before him, the American decided to make swing changes. This despite the fact that the technique he had been using had taken him to 12 top-10 finishes in the majors. The real shocker is how quickly it has all gone wrong for him. As recently as February 2019 he was winning the Waste Management Phoenix Open. It was his fifth victory on the PGA Tour. He has now fallen outside the top 50 in the world rankings. In 2020-21 he made 24 starts and had just one top 10, missing the cut nine times.

Robert MacIntyre

Robert MacIntyre

There can be no doubting the Scot’s talent - he possesses it in abundance. But one victory is a poor return. He can be incredibly hard on himself at times and perhaps needs to learn to take a few deep breaths. The left-hander is a beautiful ball striker and has a beautiful touch on and around the greens. He talks about wanting to compete for the game’s biggest prizes but maybe, just maybe, he actually lacks a bit of self-belief. He has the potential to become a serial winner, and 2022 could be a make-or-break season for him.

Henrik Stenson

Henrik Stenson

Stenson’s game has fallen off a cliff. His world ranking is in freefall, although he did manage a couple of decent finishes in the run-up to the Ryder Cup. It isn’t the first time in his career that the Swede has lost his game. At the beginning of 2012 he was ranked 230th in the world. The following year he won the FedEx Cup and the Race to Dubai and finished the season ranked third in the world. He finished the 2013 season ranked first on the PGA Tour in greens in regulation, first in ball striking, second among money leaders, third in total driving, fourth in scoring average, and seventh in driving accuracy percentage. In 2021 he made 18 PGA Tour starts and missed 11 cuts. It looks like a long road back.

Matthew Wolff

Wolff has an idiosyncratic golf swing and it seems pretty obvious that he is always going to be a golfer who will struggle for consistency, simply because there are so many moving parts. He enjoyed a stellar year in 2020 but it was a struggle for him this year. He missed five cuts, withdrew from two tournaments and was disqualified at The Masters. He admitted that the lockdown had affected his mental wellbeing. But there are welcome signs of a full recovery with a second place at the Shriners and tied fifth at Mayakoba.

Tyrrell Hatton

Tyrrrell Hatton

It’s time for Hatton to stop playing the pantomime villain and focus on what he does best. The American galleries love his antics but, quite frankly, he has become an embarrassment. Hatton is a hugely talented golfer who has every shot in the book but 2021 was bitterly disappointing. He has won six times on the European Tour and when he claimed the Arnold Palmer Invitational in 2020 he seemed to have the world at his feet. But it simply hasn’t worked out that way. He missed the cut at the US Open and The Open. But there were still four top-10 finishes.

Justin Rose

Justin Rose

For so long a fixture in the top 10 in the world rankings, Rose would be the first to admit that 2021 is a year he would rather forget. It all started to go wrong for him when, at the absolute peak of his powers, he decided to ditch his TaylorMade contract and move to Honma. He struggled from day one with the new equipment and is now using TaylorMade irons again. He also took the decision to stop working with coach Sean Foley, saying that he knew his golf swing well enough to look after himself. That didn’t work out too well for him either, and he is now back with Foley. Thankfully, there have been some encouraging signs and Rose will be optimistic that he can turn things around in 2022.

Tommy Fleetwood

Tommy Fleetwood

The Englishman started 2021 ranked 17th in the world - he is now 39th. Like many before him, he seems to be finding it difficult to balance life on two tours. Dividing your time between the PGA and European Tours is not easy and Fleetwood has made no secret of the fact that he doesn’t enjoy being away from his wife and family. He is still searching for his first PGA Tour victory and hasn’t won on the European Tour since the 2019 Nedbank Challenge in South Africa. One of the most popular players on tour, most fans will be rooting for him to enjoy an upturn in fortunes in 2022.

Thomas Detry

Thomas Detry

Will somebody please explain to me how it is possible that this hugely talented Belgian golfer has yet to win on the European Tour. He has every shot in the locker, has come close umpteen times, hits the ball a mile and possesses a wonderful temperament. His only weakness is on the greens, but you sense that when that first win finally comes many, many more will follow.

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