Whether you are an amateur or tour-leading pro, your game can go awry in golf. But which of the tour stars are golfers who need to bounce back in 2022?
It’s a fact that most players tend to accept. It could, of course, be down to injury or lack of practice, or it might something a bit more psychological.
The latter tends to be the most frustrating as is often difficult to pinpoint what has gone wrong. And, perhaps ironically, in some situations, the more you try to fix the problem, the worse it can get.
Jordan Spieth is perhaps one of the best examples of a golfer who somehow ‘lost it’ without explanation. The American exploded on the scene in the mid-2010s with a series of wins in the Major, but he lost his way towards the end of the decade and into 2020.
At his lowest point, he was still at a loss to explain what was wrong: “There’s a lot that’s off. I’m not really sure. If I knew, I’d fix it” he told reporters back in 2020.
Thankfully, the likeable Texan did indeed “fix it”. Spieth really pulled things back in 2021, finishing well in a handful of Majors, getting his first PGA Tour – after an almost four-year dry spell – at the Valero Texas Open, and being an integral part of the successful US Ryder Cup team last month.
But are there any others who could do with a similar bounce back? You can be sure that there are. Below we pick out four who need things to start going right for them again.
Please note that being on this list is in no way a criticism; it’s more a case of players for whom we have a lot of respect and belief, and who we would like to see back on top of their game.
Unfortunately, it could only be the Northern Irishman who tops this list. He’s considered one of the most talented golfers in the world, but his erratic form frustrates like few others.
To be fair, even when Rory was at the height of his powers, he was a streaky kind of player. But 2021 (and the second half of 2020) were close to disastrous.
Bookmakers still persist with backing him for the Majors. He is among the favourites in 888 Sport golf betting for the Masters, for example. While that shows what everyone knows – McIlroy is capable of beating anyone on his day – the statistical evidence is no longer backing that up.
Johnson will be by far the most surprising name for readers to see on this list. He remains – for the moment world number two – and, like Spieth, was an important part of the US Ryder Cup team.
But Johnson’s position near the top of the rankings is more a quirk of the points system than indication of his current form.
Look at it this way: His record in the Majors in 2020* was 1st (Masters), 2nd (PGA Championship), 6th (US Open). In 2021, it was CUT (Masters), CUT (PGA Championship), T19th (US Open), and T8th (The Open).
There were, however, some signs that DJ’s game was getting back to where it should be in the late summer, so we fully expect to see him back challenging for Majors in 2022.
*The 2020 Open Championship was cancelled.
A couple of years ago, everyone was following Tommy Fleetwood’s progression with a firm conviction that the Englishman would breakthrough to golf’s elite.
He flirted with entering the world’s top 10, and he also threatened to land a couple of Majors, finishing second in the US Open 2018 and The Open 2019.
But it is telling that – for someone who has had a short career – none of Fleetwood’s best ten performances as ranked by OWGR have come in 2021 or 2020.
Fleetwood is 30 now, so he should be somewhere near his prime. We’d love to see him get back to progressing through the ranks to challenge the strong American contingent in golf’s upper echelons.
It might surprise you to learn that Rickie Fowler has fallen out of the world’s top 100. But then again, if you have watched the Californian struggle of late, it probably isn’t as much of a shock.
Fowler has, by his own admission, struggled to get to grips with his game over the last year or two. And while there have been some decent performances (a credible top 10 finish at the PGA Championship this year), he has been a shadow of his former self.
The good news is that Fowler – who will become a father for the first time in the coming weeks – has promised to refocus for the season ahead. It would be a great asset for golf as a spectacle to see Fowler challenging again.
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