The Year 2023 In Golf: The Big Talking Points To Look Out For

LIV Golf's Masters mayhem, McIlroy's grand slam bid and Tiger Woods' schedule, what to look for in golf in 2023

Rory and Greg Norman stare on
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2022 was some year in golf, one of the most notable in memory with the arrival of LIV Golf causing such a seismic shift and such a huge divide in the game that things will never be the same ever again.

And with Greg Norman and his Saudi backers showing no signs of going anywhere, what will 2023 in golf look like? What will the futures of the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and LIV Golf all look like?

Will Rory McIlroy thrive with all the responsibility he now has both on and off the course? When will we see Tiger Woods play? And which players and tournament should we look out for in the next 12 months? Let’s look at the major talking points. 

Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia at the 2021 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass

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Tours collide at the Masters

As if the anticipation for the first Major of the year could get any greater, now we get Augusta National being the scene of a Battle Royal between the PGA and DP World Tour stars and their LIV Golf counterparts colliding with the Green Jacket at stake.

It’s always the most hyped-up Major due to it being the first of the year and the seemingly endless off-season, but with now the added intrigue of the LIV players returning and just how they’ll be received by the club, the patrons and their fellow players adds another level of excitement.

Relations may have improved by then, but they could also have gotten a lot worse, so just imagine the underlying needle if Rory McIlroy and Cam Smith had a final-round rematch from St Andrews!

And just think of the other pairings we could get, as we all know Augusta chiefs know their way around TV ratings so we could get McIlroy playing with former friend Sergio Garcia, dare they pit Tiger Woods against Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth with Patrick Reed and Bryson DeChambeau against, well, anybody really given how popular he is!

Can a dominant Rory McIlroy complete the grand slam?

Rory McIlroy hits a golf shot

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While we’re at the Masters, the presence of LIV Golf disruptors may actually help a certain Rory McIlroy as for once his bid to add the only Major to so far elude him will not be the big story of the week at Augusta.

He’ll need to keep his head down for that though, and since he’s now spokesman in chief for the PGA Tour then that may be impossible as you just know he’ll be grilled on the thorny LIV topic from all angles.

And given how personal his feud with Greg Norman has become then don’t for one second think the Australian won’t have some sort of bombshell up his sleeve to try and upset the apple cart again in Masters week. 

Will LIV Golf make any more big signings?

Norman looks on with sunglasses

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And that seamlessly brings us on to LIV Golf bombshells, which we haven’t had for a while now but with an expanded season next year and an even bigger financial outlay than the inaugural season, they simply must add more big names to their roster.

Mito Pereira is seen as a near certainty to join fellow Chilean Joaquin Niemann at LIV Golf, but after him there’s mainly just rumours surrounding the likes of Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Cameron Young and Jason Day.

The biggest danger for LIV Golf’s initial future is becoming a bit stale and ‘normal’ if you will, so they need to keep up the momentum by attracting more and more top players – so what’s this space as the LIV Golf ‘transfer window’ is always open.

How will Tiger Woods get on in 2023?

Tiger Woods at the 2022 Hero World Challenge

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One person who has no problem attracting publicity is the great man himself, as Tiger Woods always was and always will be the biggest needle mover in the game. He won’t be around too much in 2023 but when he is he’ll be a huge draw.

He’ll try and play the four Majors but not too much else, and all depending on his continuing recovery from his horrific car crash in 2021, which now means that simply walking around the course for four days is as big a challenge as playing golf.

We’ve taken a look at what Tiger’s prospective 2023 schedule could be, but at the very least he wants to play the four Majors, where he feels he could still compete if his body allows him. Will he seriously be able to challenge for a 16th Major though after all he’s been through? The only certainty is we’ll all be watching. 

What will the Ryder Cup teams look like?

Ryder Cup trophy general view

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For Team Europe there’s almost like a Ryder Cup reset with the exodus of stalwarts to LIV Golf, with no Poulter, Westwood, Garcia and even skipper Stenson – but what it does do is open the door for an influx of young guns.

Rahm and McIlroy will be leaders with Hovland, Fleetwood, Lowry and Fitzpatrick likely to make up half the team, Luke Donald will provide a cool head as captain but it’s wide open for the rest of the team.

Alex Noren, Seamus Power, Robert MacIntyre, Tyrrell Hatton will all be in the mix with Jordan Smith, Thomas Detry and the Hojgaard brothers all exciting young options to take part in Rome.

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America’s bid to end their 30-year wait for a Ryder Cup win on European soil will also have some new faces behind the likes of Spieth, Thomas, Scheffler, Morikawa, Schauffele, Finau and Cantlay but we’ll still have to see if any of those opt to join LIV.

Team USA will go in as big favourites again but that long winless streak has come despite some very strong teams heading across the Atlantic so you should never rule the Europeans out on home turf. This will remain one of the highlights of the golfing year regardless of who ends up making the teams.

Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.