By Fergus Bisset published
With a wealth of talent throughout the men’s and women’s games, 2022 is set to be a thriller, with players looking to step it up or return to the very highest level.
Here we look at 10 players who we think might be in line for a big year in 2022.
Joaquin Niemann seems to have been on the scene for some time but he’s only 23-years-old. He’s hugely talented with a will to win. Despite winning the Latin America Amateur Championship and demonstrating solid play since turning professional in 2018, he’s yet to reach is full potential. This could be the season for the Chilean.
Lydia Ko of New Zealand is already a proven winner and twice a Major champion. But her last Major triumph was almost five years ago. Victory in the Aramco Saudi Ladies International last November showed she may well be back to her best. Look for her to come out of the blocks fast in 2022.
Thomas Pieters has looked like a top-10 player for a few seasons now. Back in 2016 he was leading points scorer in the Ryder Cup. He carried on that form and climbed into the top-25 on the Official World Golf Ranking in 2017. The Belgian had been quiet until victory in the Portugal Masters last autumn – He’s ready to demonstrate his full talent once again this year.
Leona Maguire’s stellar performance in the Solheim Cup confirmed she has the potential to be one of the very best in the world. She hasn’t enjoyed too much Major success to this point but 2022 might be the year that all changes.
Viktor Hovland will be many people’s first choice when it comes to naming a player who could make a Major breakthrough in 2022. The Norwegian moved into the world’s top-10 at the end of 2021 and has all the technical skills and mental fortitude necessary to take one of the game’s top prizes.
Mito Pereira of Chile turned professional in 2015 and has made steady progress through the ranks, culminating with a three-win season on the Korn Ferry Tour that has earned him PGA Tour playing rights for 2021-22. He finished third in the Fortinet Championship in September and looks to have the game to make it at the top level. He’s up into the World’s Top-100 and will look to press on further up that ranking in 2022.
Atthaya Thitikul has earned full playing rights for the LPGA Tour in 2022 after an incredible 2021 season on the Ladies European Tour. The 18-year-old from Thailand, who is currently ranked 18th in the world, won both the Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year titles on the LET in 2021, winning twice on the circuit. She is the youngest golfer to win a pro tournament. She was aged just 14 years, 4 months and 19 days when she won the Ladies European Thailand Championship in 2017. She’s a future Major champion – perhaps this year.
Robert Macintyre has been knocking on the door of the very highest level of elite golf for a couple of seasons and has proven his ability to mix it in the top events with a couple of top-10s in The Open Championship to his name. A tied fourth place finish in the DP World Tour Championship suggests the Scot is back on form and will be looking to step it up next year.
Pauline Roussin-Bouchard, a 21-year-old from Brignoles, France is a former World Amateur Number 1. She was a two-time All-American while at College in South Carolina. She won her second start as a professional in August at the LET’s Didriksons Skaftö Open. She won the second stage of LPGA Qualifying School and was placed second in the final stage.
Lucas Herbert enjoyed a great finish to 2021. He earned a PGA Tour card through the Korn Ferry Tour finals and then won the PGA Tour’s Butterfield Bermuda Championship. The 26-year-old Australian has already won two big events on the European Tour – the 2020 Omega Dubai Desert Classic and the 2021 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open. He’s up to 41st on the Official World Golf Ranking meaning he will play in all the big events next year, giving him a chance to move up further.
Fergus is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and it was concentrated by his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin (also of Golf Monthly)... Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?
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