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2017 Players to Watch: Hit or Miss?

With both the 2016/17 PGA Tour and European Tour seasons now both at their end, we felt it would be a good time to look back at some of our early season predictions.

Back at the start of 2017 we pulled together a list of some of the players we would be keeping a close eye on this year, and who we felt had a great chance of taking their game to the next level.

How did we fare on each occasion? Find out below.(Note: You can find our original blog post here: GHOST_URL/who-to-watch-golf-2017/)

Hideki Matsuyama

Hole19 said: "It would be a surprise if he didn't challenge in any of the four majors. If no major in 2017, expect to see multiple tournament wins."

Hit or miss?

Since the turn of the year, Hideki managed to secure a five-shot win at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, as well taking the Waste Management Phoenix Open title back in February.

A first major win proved elusive for the Japanese superstar but he did manage to finish T2 at US Open and T5 PGA Championship - behind Brooks Koepka and Justin Thomas respectively.

So multiple wins (check) and contending in majors (check) - let's call this one a HIT!

Jon Rahm

Hole19 said: "This guy has every chance of achieving superstar status. Remember the name."

Hit or Miss?

The superstar status statement may take a few more years to come to fruition, but the young Spanish prodigy has impressed on both sides of the Atlantic this season.

Winning at the Farmers Insurance Open, the DDF Irish Open and DP World Tour Championship is a great way to announce yourself to the world in what is Rahm's first full year as a professional golfer.

Catch Rahm's post-DP World Tour Championship win press conference below:

Finishing the season as European Tour Rookie of the Year and the only man to have won two Rolex Series events pretty much confirms this one as a great, big HIT!

Matt Fitzpatrick

Hole19 said: "With such a strong end to 2016, it seems Matt is ready to pick up where he left off when we get back to tournament golf in January."

Hit or miss?

Matt managed a European Tour win at the Omega European Masters back in September along with a second place finish at the Nordea Masters.

His full season on the European Tour led to a position just outside top ten in Race to Dubai standings. All in all, this came together as a pretty solid year and gives us another HIT!

Wesley Bryan

Hole19 said: "The fact that he comes with a ready-made reputation, as well as having won three times on last year’s Tour, means that many will be keeping a close eye on his fledgeling competitive career.

Hit or miss?

With a win at the RBC Heritage back in April and four top-five finishes in all during his rookie season, Wesley Bryan can look back on 2017 as an undoubted success.

It was only the exceptional form of Xander Schauffele that stopped the trickshot king from capturing the Rookie of the Year title on the PGA Tour. This has to be a HIT!

Catch highlights of Wesley's final round at the RBC Heritage below:

Emiliano Grillo

Hole19 said: "Quite an impressive first year on Tour and there is, quite obviously, so much more to come from Emiliano this year."

Hit or miss?

Not quite so obvious in the end and, with Grillo's 2016/17 season highlight being a T-7 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, there wasn't much to shout about for the Argentinian this year.

He still has plenty of time on his side to make an impact on the PGA Tour. No good for us though; this one's a MISS!

Thomas Pieters

Hole19 said: "Consistency is one of his biggest assets and it won’t be long until we see Thomas challenging at the top of a major leaderboard or two."

Hit or miss?

Not a great year for the Belgian number one as he failed to follow on from a first Ryder Cup appearance last year with an impressive 2017.

He did finish T-4 at Augusta National back in April so we could say that we covered that off. In reality, though, Pieters will be
disappointed with his showing this year.

Taking this one on the chin, it's a MISS!

If you enjoyed our 2017 Players to Watch article, you can look forward to our 2018 version which will drop in the New Year.


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