2017 looks to be an exciting year in the world of golf, with plenty of young talents ready to shine and some more experienced players looking ready to step up. Here are 10 Golfers to Watch in 2017, in no particular order...
10 Golfers to Watch in 2017
Age: 24 From: Matsuyama, Japan Career-high world Ranking: 6 Pro Wins: 12
Matsuyama's 2016 was truly special. The 24-year-old won twice on the Japan Golf Tour, where he has eight career victories, and twice on the PGA Tour, as well as finishing T7th at the Masters and T4th at the USPGA. Looking back on it, he should have won the USPGA, but put in an abject putting display in the final round where he realistically could have shot six or seven better had his form been better on the greens - he ended five behind Jimmy Walker. At the time of writing, his past six tournaments have seen him finish; 5th, 1st, 2nd, 1st, 1st and 1st - and there are no doubts that this run is just a flash in the pan. Matsuyama won the Asian Amateur Championship in both 2010 and 2011, and was the leading amateur at the 2011 Masters, he then became the world number one amateur in 2012. The man from Japan won five times in his debut season as a pro in 2013 on the Japan Golf Tour to become the first ever rookie to win the Order of Merit - there is no doubting that he is a special talent who is destined for majors and the world number one status.
Age: 22 From: Barrika, Spain Career-high world Ranking: 120 Pro Wins: 0
The Spaniard went to college at Arizona State, where he twice received the Ben Hogan Award, in 2015 and 2016, which is given to the best college golfer in the US. He was the world number one ranked amateur for 60 weeks, where he finished as the low amateur in the 2016 US Open. He turned pro after that and won over $1m in his first 7 events on the PGA Tour, making six cuts including a T2nd finish at the RBC Canadian Open where he missed a makeable eagle putt on the 72nd green to make a playoff.
Age: 20 From: Perth, Australia Career high world ranking: Amateur Pro wins: 1
Luck won both the US Amateur and Asia-Pacific Amateur in 2016 as well as the Western Australian Open (a professional tournament) and came T11th in the Australian Open, won by Jordan Spieth. The Aussie has qualified for three of next year's major championships - the Masters, the US Open and Open Championship, although he has hinted that he may opt to relinquish his spot in the final two and play the Masters before turning professional to try and earn a 2018 PGA Tour card.
Age: 23 From: California, USA Career-high world ranking: 113 Pro Wins: 1
DeChambeau won both the 2015 US Amateur Championship and NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Division I Men's Golf Championship to become just the 5th man in history to win both in the same year after Jack Nicklaus (1961), Phil Mickelson (1990), Tiger Woods (1996) and Ryan Moore (2004). The 'Golfing Scientist' is one of golf's hottest prospects and will be regular feature on your TVs in 2017, having earned his PGA Tour card with his 2016 DAP Championship victory in the Web.com Tour Finals. He was also the low amateur at the 2016 Masters, finishing in a tie for 21st place.
Age: 24 From: Antwerp, Belgium Career-high world Ranking: 39 Pro Wins: 3
The young 6'5" Belgian, who won twice on the European Tour in 2015, had a stellar 2016, highlighted by his excellent Ryder Cup performance. Picked as a rookie, after finishing 4th in the Olympics, 2nd in the Czech Masters and then 1st at Made In Denmark, where he shot a 10-under 62 in the opening round playing with Captain Darren Clarke, Pieters became the first ever European rookie to win four points in his first appearance. He will look to push on in 2016 and with a name now known, and feared, in America, he will hope to contend in a major or two.
Age: 34 From: Stockholm, Sweden Career-high world Ranking: 9 Pro Wins: 9
Noren is coming off the back of the greatest spell of his professional career, having won four times on the European Tour between July and November. He captured the Scottish Open, European Masters, British Masters and Nedbank Golf Challenge to finish 3rd on the Race to Dubai whilst picking up €3,447,315 for the season. Now at world number nine and in all the majors, Noren will surely look to push on and if he has a good week in one of them, he can win his first to become Sweden's second male major champion.
Age: 24 From: Chippenham, England Career-high world Ranking: 108 Pro Wins: 4
The Englishman won the EuroPro Tour Order of Merit in 2015 to qualify for the Challenge Tour where he won the Egyptian Challenge in only the second tournament of the season. He won again at the Ras Al Khaimah Challenge, the Tour's penultimate event, and sealed the Order of Merit to earn his 2017 European Tour card. As well as his two victories in 2016, he also had nine top-15 finishes and rose from outside the world's top 600 up to 108.
Age: 26 From: West Palm Beach, Florida Career-high world Ranking: 12 Pro Wins: 7
The American, unlike most of his other countrymen, took the European route into the world's elite. Koepka played the Challenge Tour, where he won four times between September 2012 and July 2013. He then won the Turkish Airlines Open in 2014 on the European Tour before winning the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February 2015. Since then, he's played in his homeland and qualified for the 2016 Ryder Cup where he was one of USA's best players, defeating Masters champion Danny Willett 5&4 in the singles. He won the Dunlop Phoenix Open in November 2016 and has four top-10 finishes in majors in his career, could he win one in 2017?
Age: 43 From: Queensland, Australia Career-high world Ranking: 59 Pro Wins: 14
The Queenslander has just had his best year to date - winning the Asian Tour Order of Merit as well as reaching a career-high 59th in the Official World Golf Rankings. The long hitter has nine Asian Tour victories, including two this year - one of which was a co-sanctioned European Tour event. In 2016 Hend also respresented Australia in the Olympics, and recorded eight top-15 finishes on the European Tour, including a second-place at the European Masters. 2017 will be his 20th year as a pro and he's never won on mainland Europe, that may well change...
Age: 26 From: Columbia, South Carolina Career-high world Ranking: 107 Pro Wins: 3
Bryan, who has a large online following for his trick shot videos with his brother, came through Q-School to the Web.com Tour and won three times from March to August to earn a 'battlefield' promotion to the PGA Tour, which gave him full status for the 2016-17 season. In his first event as a PGA Tour member, he came 8th in the John Deere Classic.
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Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!
Elliott is currently playing:
Driver: Titleist TSR4
3 wood: Titleist TSi2 HL
Irons: Mizuno MP-H4 3-iron, Mizuno MP5 4-PW
Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5
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