So far, 2017 has been another big year for professional golf. There has already been many impressive performances from names both new and established. As the year continues, several of these individuals have risen to prominence in terms of their late-season potential.
Here are a few golfers who have defined, and continue to define the 2017 season.
Already an established figure in the professional golf world, Rory McIlroy is hot off a strong 2015-16 season, with six top-ten finishes and a Fedexcup championship to his name, among other achievements. In 2017, McIlroy will look to continue this momentum and add to his already impressive 13 PGA tour victories (though he is currently dealing with a nagging rib injury).
Jon Rahm currently stands as a big name in pro golf, and he has continued a recent tradition of skilled players hailing from Spain. Rahm has been on a hot streak as of late, and he is expected to give a stand-out performance during this week’s $8.7-million PGA Memorial Tournament (located at Muirfield Village in Ohio) as well as the U.S. Open in Wisconsin.
An exciting aspect of golf is that it is one of several sports where age can be entirely irrelevant — or at least that seems to be the case with Nasa Hataoka, a teenage phenomenon from Japan. Hataoka, who recently turned 18, won the Japan Women’s Open in October and earned a 2017 LPGA card after she tied for 14th at the LPGA’s final qualifier. Expect to see her career continue to rise during 2017.
For Dustin Johnson, 2017 has revolved around the pursuit of a 10th consecutive season with a tour title. Johnson earned “five top-10 finishes in the seven majors he had played prior to last season’s U.S. Open,” ultimately extending his consecutive tour victories to nine after defeating Jim Furyk, Shane Lowry and Scott Piercy at the U.S. Open, winning by three strokes. Johnson achieved his goal in February with a win at the 2017 Genesis Open in California, making him just the third golfer to do so.
Jason Day has already risen as high as third in the world golf rankings, and 2017 could prove to be another big year for him. That is, if he is able to overcome a variety of injury-related issues that ultimately plagued him during the 2015-16 season. Day will certainly be a focal point in professional golf as he continues to works his way back to his potential as one of the sport’s major talents.