A Year in Review
The 2018 PGA Tour was an up and down season for the majority of golfers. There were many changes that took place, some good, some bad, and some that were just flat out ugly.
Many projections fell short, and many turned out to be spot on. There were new names who were able to rise to the top and make a name for themselves as well.
The tour endured one major overhaul for the first time in nearly 20 years, a change to the slogan. While the guys on the tour are still good, an homage to the former slogan, “These Guys are Good”, those on the tour will now “Live Under Par.” A move that the majority of fans found underwhelming and unnecessary.
Where to begin
Although there are many fans who are still mourning the loss of one of the greatest to ever play the game, Arnold Palmer, the majority are looking to the future with the loaded young talent that exists in the field.
Kicking things off for fans was the 84th rendition of the Masters, where there was a lot of buzz around this years tournament. One of the all-time greats, Tiger Woods, was set to take the stage and hopefully reclaim the throne he has held four times. Another big name, Jordan Spieth, was poised to give Tiger a race to the finale.
The standard, “this is the year Rickie Fowler finally gets his first win at the Masters,” was in full force and the great lefty, Phil Mickelson is always someone who can make a late charge. The 2018 Masters was capped off with a victory by Patrick Reed while Rickie Fowler finished second after not being able to close the gap once again.
The Masters was followed by some relatively uneventful tournaments that weren’t televised on major networks and fans were outraged. CBS and NBC stood by their decisions of not including the smaller tournaments in their budget while the Golf Channel was pumping more commercials into their coverage of tournaments than ever before. This was a huge mark against the tour and it’s something that will need to be addressed in the offseason in order to continue to grow the sports fan hood, not diminish it.
As mentioned before, 2018 was a year to shake things up for the PGA Tour as they not only changed their slogan, they also changed several rules that were met with some scrutiny. One major rule/policy change was the Social Media and Mobile Device Policy. The social media portion was geared towards players to increase their social media presence to connect with fans better and give a better glimpse into tournament week.
This rule could be due to the lack of coverage that was offered and is projected to be continued. With fans being able to stream tournaments for social media purposes, it will be interesting to see if more and more fans are live streaming PGA Tour events for their friends and followers.
The mobile device policy is designed so spectators aren’t bothering/heckling players with their mobile devices. They also aren’t able to record content that is for commercial use, however, they’re able to record it for as much personal use as they’d like and for live streaming social events. These changes were taken with some mild criticism, but for the most part, just something the PGA did to keep their product protected and moving forward.
The Actual Golf
To begin the season, there was a lot of hype surrounding the 25 and under group, Justin Thomas, the Ryder Cup, Tiger Woods, and the world’s number one golfer. There’s always more where that came from, but those were the glaring headlines coming into the season.
The 25 and under group was projected to make an even bigger name for themselves and catapult themselves into contention. Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth are very close in age and skillset, but Spieth’s trophy closet currently houses more hardware than that of Thomas. This year was supposed to include a major victory for Thomas, unfortunately, he just wasn’t able to accomplish that.
The Ryder Cup was supposed to be the first win for the American team on foreign soil since 1993, unfortunately that just wasn’t the case. With a very young and relatively inexperienced team, Jim Furyk and company just didn’t bring what was needed to Paris, France to bring home the trophy. The USA ended up losing to Europe 11.5 to 17.5, a major disappointment for the USA.
Tiger Woods began the year about where he started his career, ranked at 539 in the entire world, a number so low that his credit score is laughing at it. After several knee and back surgery’s in the past few seasons, it was expected to be a make or break season for Tiger, he did not disappoint. While he didn’t pick up any major victories, he climbed the rankings and will wait for the next season sitting at 13 in the world.
The world number one will have Tiger Woods on his heels after a great season that garnered his first major tour win in over five years. The win came at the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.
The 2018 season concluded with Brooks Koepka holding the world’s number one spot with a list of players that could finish at the top of every major tournament each season. Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas and Bryson DeChambeau round out the top 5. It was projected to begin the year that Dustin Johnson would hold the top spot while Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and Hideki Matsuyama would all give him a run for his money.
What 2019 is Projected to Look Like
2019 is set to be a huge year for the PGA Tour. Tiger Woods roared back into relevancy in 2018 and is going to look to ride that momentum throughout the 2019 season. Tony Finau is projected to win…not just win a tournament, win the tournament. Tony is projected to win the Masters, he only holds one PGA Tour win to his name now.
On the downside of golf, golfers get older, backs get weaker and as the years pass by, it gets harder and harder. In 2019, Phil Mickelson is projected to drop out of the world top 50 and there are zero projections for rookies to make the tour championship. Who will be the guy, or guys, to step up?
2018 Left Fans Wanting More
2018 left a great taste in the mouths of many golf fans around the country and globe. The Ryder Cup is always a boost for the sport and it’s sure to see those European players ride high into 2019. There were a lot of players who finished on a strong foot, Brooks Koepka being one of those, and if it was failed to be mentioned before, he can absolutely destroy a golf ball off of the tee.
If 2018 was to be summarized in a few easy words, it would be that there was the good, the bad, and the ugly.