Jon Rahm has received his green jacket, becoming just the fourth Spaniard to collect one after Seve Ballesteros, Jose Maria Olazabal and Sergio Garcia. Now the focus shifts away from Augusta, Georgia and the PGA Tour resumes.
As well as the majors, we’ll also be including key FedEx Cup events as well as the Ryder Cup at the end of the golf season as America’s and Europe’s best players head to Italy.
The Masters (April 6-9th, Augusta National)
The Masters is officially over, with Jon Rahm taking the crown of the first major championship of 2023. It’s ‘Rahmbo’s’ fourth win of the season, which moves him up to the top of the Official World Golf Rankings as the number one player in the world, ahead of 2022 champion Scottie Scheffler.
Among the top stories from Augusta, LIV Golf’s players had a decent weekend as Phil Mickelson nailed a second-placed finish with a record final round of 66, as well as Brooks Koepka leading the way for three of the four rounds. Tiger Woods was forced to withdraw on day three after he reaggravated an injury, and former world number one Scottie Scheffler had to settle for T10.
PGA Championship (May 18th-21st, Oak Hill Country Club)
Formerly known as the ‘Final Major’, the PGA Championship provides an excellent opportunity for golfers to play some of America’s lesser-seen courses with a huge prize pot on offer. Justin Thomas was victorious last year at Southern Hills and this year’s edition heads up to Rochester, New York at the Oak Hill Country Club.
A six-time major host, Oak Hill is a historic course that also hosted the 31st Ryder Cup in 1995, when Team Europe claimed a 14½ - 13½ victory on the final hole. The East Course was ranked 22nd in the top 100 course in the States, and is regarded as a ‘fair but challenging’ course, with many players failing to beat par.
The last time we were at Oak Hill was back in 2013, when Jason Dufner defeated Jim Furyk in the final round to claim his one and only major championship win with a score of -10. An estimated prize pool of $15 million dollars will be up for grabs, with the winner claiming over $2.7 million alongside the Wanamaker Trophy.
US Open (June 15-18th, Los Angeles Country Club)
The big money is on offer as the US Open rolls into Hollywood for the first time in 28 years. Last year saw Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick win at Brookline, defeating Scottie Scheffler and Will Zalatoris in a brilliant showdown on one of the hardest courses in the country.
The US Open is known to have the biggest prize pot of the lot, as well as travelling to the hardest courses the United States has to offer. The organisers are well known for tampering with courses months in advance, with greenkeepers often instructed to let the rough grow longer, and making sure the pin positions are in terrifying tough areas for the days of the competition.
The Los Angeles Country Club North Course was chosen as the 23rd best course in the world, as well as the 14th best course in the USA, and has flourished since it was renovated in 2010 to restore some of the natural features it possessed back in the 1940s when the LA Open was held there.
The landscape of this parkland course is stunning and is a slice of golfing heaven placed in the heart of the 'City of Angels'. Views of the city can be seen all over the course, and players will be treated to an experience like no other.
The Open Championship (July 20th-23rd, Royal Liverpool)
The most prestigious major of them all, The Open Championship returns to Hoylake this year, the site of one of Tiger Woods’ most famous victories as well as Rory McIlroy’s victory in 2014.
Royal Liverpool is one of many courses to have earned the ‘Royal’ status, bestowed upon it by Queen Victoria back in 1871, just two years after it was established. Sitting at the bottom of the Wirral Peninsula, Hoylake is one of many courses in the North West of England to achieve such high regard, with the likes of Royal Lytham & St Annes and Royal Birkdale also receiving thousands of international visitors each year and have previously hosted The Open.
The course is notoriously difficult, with fast moving greens and fairways, and a tight layout. Tiger Woods’ victory in 2006 was incredible as he only used a driver once in the four days he was playing, something you wouldn’t see on American courses that allow long-hitters to thrive, like Augusta and Sawgrass. The 2022 edition took place at St Andrew’s, with Australian Cameron Smith lifting the Claret Jug ahead of a top ten that was filled with the typical names you’d expect to see at the top end of a major. Cameron Young and McIlroy made up the top three ahead of Viktor Hovland and Tommy Fleetwood.
A new addition to the course this year is the 17th hole, a par three that was created last year for the 2023 Open. A 137-yard hole that overlooks the Dee Estruary will be photogenic as well as challenging, before the players turn back towards the clubhouse to end their round.
FedEx Cup Events (April-August 2023)
Qualifying for the FedEx Cup playoff events have already gotten underway, with six tournaments already finished for the season, and another four to go before the playoffs get underway.
RBC Heritage (April 13-16th, Harbour Town Golf Links, South Carolina)
Wells Fargo Championship (May 4-7th, Quail Hollow Club, North Carolina)
The Memorial (June 1st-4th, Muirfield Village, Ohio)
Travelers Championship (June 22nd-25th, TPC Rivers Highlands, Connecticut)
FedEx St Jude Championship* (August 10-13th, TPC Southwind, Tennessee)
BMW Championship* (August 17-20th, Olympia Fields Country Club, Illinois)
Tour Championship* (August 24-27th, East Lake Golf Club, Georgia)
* FedEx Cup Playoff Events
As it stands, the current top five in the FedEx Cup standings are:
1. Jon Rahm - 2,631 points
2. Scottie Scheffler - 1,844 points
3. Max Homa - 1,801 points
4. Keegan Bradley - 1,153 points
5. Kurt Kitayama - 1,040 points
The Ryder Cup (September 29th-October 1st, Marco Simone Golf Club, Italy)
The 44th Ryder Cup will be heading to Rome, with the bid beating Vienna, Berlin and Girona back in 2015. Luke Donald and Zach Johnson are the captains of Team Europe and Team USA respectively. Steve Stricker and Davis Love III have been named as vice-captains for the American side, with Donald naming three for Team Europe in the form of Thomas Bjørn, Edoardo Molinari and Nicolas Colsaerts.
Both teams will be selected from six from the world rankings and six captain’s picks, with Team Europe’s six being Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Victor Perez, Tyrrell Hatton, Viktor Hovland and Shane Lowry as things stand. Yannik Paul, Alex Noren, Tommy Fleetwood and Seamus Power are all expected to be in and around the top six in a few months time also, and you’d be surprised not to see Matt Fitzpatrick added to the list too.
Team USA’s six at this time is Scottie Scheffler, Max Homa, Cameron Young, Will Zalatoris, Sam Burns and Justin Thomas. Patrick Cantlay, Collin Morikawa and Kurt Kitayama might feel hard done by but it’s likely that they’d make the cut in the captain’s picks if they weren’t to qualify, similarly for Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele and Keegan Bradley.
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