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PGA Tour predictions, golfers to watch and storylines to follow as 2022-23 golf season begins

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The long, dark off-season of golf has come to an end. The PGA Tour returns this week to kick off the 2022-23 season, a 47-event marathon that will culminate in late August 2023 with the Tour championship and the coronation of the FedEx Cup champion.

After such a crazy 2022, it’s hard to imagine what the Tour is going to do as an encore, but there are a few storylines, players and events to keep an eye on over the next 11 months. Of course, the LIV Golf will permeate it all, as it has for the past six months. Even when we’re not talking about who’s next to leave (which we’ll talk about below), the Tour will still feel the consequences of its presence in both good and bad ways.

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Let’s not delay any longer – I think the first few paragraphs of this article lasted longer than the time between Tour seasons – as we look forward to what will be a historic year (and pro golf marker) for the PGA. Tour.

Five storylines worth watching

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1. Unity at the top: I haven’t been this excited at the start of the PGA Tour season in a long time. The main reason is that the Tour is functionally divided into two different tours. There will be 12 promoted events, Players and four Majors where we will see supposedly the top 50 players in the world at each event. That’s something that could be said about the players and the four majors in years past, and it’s both exhilarating to represent the best players in 17 of the same tournaments, as well as clarifying which weeks matter the most; no sport has a 47-week schedule that everyone constantly pays attention to.

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2. What do majors and official world golf rankings decide? While everyone’s eyes are on Phil Mickelson et al vs. the PGA Tour, real the definition of a legal battle is likely to come elsewhere. So far, the major championship organizations—Augusta National (Masters), USGA (US Open), PGA of America (PGA Championship), and R&A (Open Championship)—may have been annoyed by the changing landscape of professional golf, but have yet to do so. to ban LIV golfers from participating in their tournaments. I don’t believe they are going to do it directly either. which could The fact is that the OWGR board, which consists of representatives of these organizations, can prevent the LIV from getting OWGR points, effectively keeping the majority of its players from participating in major championships. It looks like this is probably the path we’re on, although I’m sure there will be many twists and turns.

3. What is the Tiger’s plan? It’s been a strange year for Tiger Woods. He only played nine rounds last year but also arguably one of the highlights of the year when he waved his cap over the Silican Bridge at The Open in July. His performances at both the Masters and the PGA Championship have also been exceptionally inspiring. My guess is we’ll see a very similar schedule for the Tiger in 2023, perhaps with the US Open at Los Angeles Country Club or the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, as well as an increased role on the US Ryder Cup team. Vice Captain Zach Johnson in Rome.

4. PGA Tour/DP World Tour Strategic Alliance: In 2022, the DP World Tour became the feeder system for the PGA Tour. This was highlighted by the announcement that the top 10 players on the DP World Tour each year would receive PGA Tour cards for the following season, which is the definition of a feeder system. However, there are many opportunities for the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour to continue working together in the future, as they did this year with the Scottish Open. I don’t know if they can handle it, but I would love to see some of the big events on the PGA Tour schedule co-hosted with the DP World Tour. This is a good way to fend off LIV players who join a rival tour just because it plays more globally. You can move promoted PGA Tour tournaments and have two or three tournaments in Europe each year along with the Open Championship.

“I think it is in the interest of the global game that a handful of those [elevated] the competition should take place in Europe,” Rory McIlroy said last week at the BMW PGA Championship. “I have been talking about this since the beginning. It can’t be American-centric.”

5. Who leaves next? I don’t know the answer to this question because no one knows the answer, but I can bet that when the next player leaves the PGA Tour to play in the LIV Golf League it will be a non-American. LIV has established itself as a global tour. The PGA Tour has the opportunity to rebut this by playing more co-sanctioned events in Europe along with the DP World Tour, but I think any LIV defectors in late 2022 or 2023 will be mostly non-US players.

Three breakthrough candidates to look out for

I loved this theme by Will Hasket, which ranked the best players of 2022 who have not won a single tournament (yet). Looking at the shots taken (your ability to score well against your peers) against the backdrop of not winning is such a fun way to try and predict the future. Some names that appeared on this list last year are Scotty Sheffler, Cam Smith and Talor Gooch, all of whom had great 2022 campaigns. I used his list and added some of my own as we look for breakout stars in 2023.

1. Justin Su: It’s not just about pedigree. It’s not just that he won the final of the Korn Ferry Tour. It’s not just that he was featured alongside Viktor Hovland, Matthew Wolf and Collin Morikawa at the 2019 Travelers Championship. All of that plus the way he ended the Korn Ferry Tour season as an absolute threat.

2. Taylor Pendrit: The President’s Cup later this month may be his go-to, but the truth is he’s been a threat all summer. He has six top 15s in seven PGA Tour starts since the Players Championship and only a sub-par stick has kept him from climbing to the top 25 spot in the world.

3. Cameron Young: It seemed too obvious. But if you haven’t been paying close attention, Young has been in the top 20 players in the world for some time now and has competed in several majors in 2022. He is the Will Zalatoris of 2023, but hopefully with him I won’t have to sweat to win until the penultimate tournament of the season.

Changes are coming

This is the last year of autumn slate as we know it. The season after that will not start until January 2024, although it looks like there will still be some events in the fall where players who have not retained their PGA Tour cards will play for status in the coming year (it sounds like stars playing in international series for a lot of money are now not discussed). Another big change coming this year is that only the top 70 players on the FedEx Cup standings will advance to the FedEx Cup Playoffs. It’s cut from the top 125, which was most recently. It won’t primarily affect the stars and superstars of the game, but it may increase relevance at the start of the year.

Best Bet on Majors, FedEx Cup

Odds via bookmaker Caesars

Masters: Cameron Young (40-1) — He should be more like 25-1 or 30-1 based on how he played in the majors this year and how well he dribbles the golf ball.

PGA Championship: Collin Morikawa (20-1) — The PGA Championship was last held at Oak Hill in 2013 and the top two finishers were Jason Duphner and Jim Furyk. Both are short hitters who hit frozen ropes for irons, which basically fit the same profile as Morikawa.

US Open: Bryson DeChambeau (65-1) — Do I think DeChambeau will win the 2023 US Open? I do not. Do I think 65-1 is outrageously long for someone who won the US Open two years ago and nearly won it next year? I do.

Open Championship: Adam Scott (65-1) — This year he quietly completed T15, and The Open is the only place where it’s much easier for an older player to get inside and make noise. I don’t think we’re done listening to Scott from Opens.

FedEx Cup: Sam Burns (25-1) — He won the last two Tour Championships and made both of those playoffs in the top 10. He is a stable money-making machine – at least in recent years – and with big wins here and there. Next season, it’s easy to see him mix it up on East Lake Sunday. I also love that he has improved his hitting in each of the last four seasons.

Predictions for the 2022-23 season

  • Player of the Year: John Ram
  • Rookie of the Year: Justin Su
  • Masters Winner: John Ram
  • PGA Championship Winner: Will Zalatoris
  • US Open Winner: Xander Schauffele
  • Open Winner: Jordan Spit
  • FedEx Cup Champion: John Ram


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