The 25 most influential names in golf

Table of Contents

The most disruptive year in professional mens golf history is now over. However, its unlikely that the ongoing war between the PGA Tour & the LIV gol League will be resolved anytime soon.

In the last 12 months, Tiger WoodsReturned to the course Phil Mickelson went into hiding, Greg NormanThe PGA Tour helped him settle his score. Scottie Scheffler became a bona fide star. Lydia Ko was back at the top of the LPGA Tour. Nelly KordaAnd Danielle KangExperiencing health scares.

The Sentry Tournament of Champions in Kapalua (Hawaii) will be the next stop on the PGA Tours schedule. It will take place on Jan. 5. Two weeks later, LPGA play resumes at the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions. Here are the top news stories in professional golf from the past year.

25. Danielle Kang

Kangs 2022 season began with a bang. She won the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions, and was runner up at the Gainbridge LPGA in Boca Rio. However, back problems prevented her from playing in a few events. Alex, Kangs brother, disclosed at the U.S Womens Open in June, that she was suffering from a spinal tumor. She managed to get through the pain and finished tied for 63rd. She missed more than 2 months of her recovery and finished second at Walmart Northwest Arkansas Championship, losing to Atthaya ThitikulIn a playoff. In her previous three starts, she was in the top 15

24. Patrick Reed

Reed struggled to recover after suffering from double pneumonia. He was admitted to hospital in August 2021. He only made it to the top 10 on tour in 2022. In June, he defected and joined the LIV Golf circuit. Reed was part the 4 Aces team that won LIV Golfs inaugural championship. In seven LIV events, he earned more than $12,000,000. In August, his lawyer filed a $750m defamation suit against Brandel Chamblee and other defendants. Reed claimed that the defendants conspired to destroy his reputation, create hatred, and a hostile workplace for him, with an intention to discredit both his name and achievements as a young, elite and world-class golfer and the caring, loving father of his two children.

23. Fred Ridley

Ridley made headlines last Wednesday when Augusta National Golf Club chairman said that any golfer who qualified on previous criteria (including those playing on the LIV Golf circuit) would be invited to participate in the tournament. It was difficult to imagine that Augusta National would ban past champions. Bubba WatsonReed, Dustin Johnson, Mickelson and Dustin Johnson were prohibited from competing. However, there was speculation that the club might change its qualifying criteria to make it more difficult to be LIV golfers.

Ridleys statement was quite strong about LIV Golfs division of the sport. Regrettably, Ridley stated, Recent actions have divided men’s professional golf by diminishing its virtues and the meaningful legacies made by those who built it. We are disappointed by these developments but we will continue to honor the tradition of bringing together a top-ranked field of golfers in April.

22. Will Zalatoris

After many close calls, Zalatoris won his first PGA Tour win with a thrilling finish at the FedEx St. Jude Championships first leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. He managed to win a three-hole playoff. Sepp StrakaWithout even making a birdie. After taking a penalty from the rocks around the par-3 11th hole and making a 7-foot birdie, he won the breakthrough victory. Zalatoris was expected to be in contention for the BMW Championship next week, but he injured the back and hasn’t played in over a year while he recovers from two herniated discs. Zalatoris is ranked 7th in the world. He already has three runnerup finishes in majors and a playoff loss in 2022 to Justin Thomas at PGA Championship.

21. Max Homa

Homa won two times during the 2021-22 wraparound schedule. He took home the season-opening Fortinet Championship as well as the Wells Fargo Championship. It was a breakthrough campaign for many reasons. He won multiple times during the same season for first time, qualified to the Tour Championship for first time, and made his debut appearance on the U.S. Team as a professional — he was the captains pick for the Presidents Cup. He won the Fortinet Championship in September at the beginning of the 2022-23 season. Homa is a hilarious golfer on social media. Hes even more funny now that hes a dad for the first time. Homa and Lacey welcomed Cam on Oct. 30.

20. Judge Beth Labson Freeman

Freeman is an avid player of golf and has a posted handicap at 32.9. In 2014, former President Barack Obama appointed Freeman to the U.S. District Court Judge for the Northern District of California. She will be preside over LIV Golf’s federal antitrust lawsuit against PGA Tour and the countersuit against LIV Golf in which it alleges LIV Golf interfered in its contracts with players.

Freeman denied three LIV Golf players temporary restraining orders in August. Matt Jones, Hudson SwaffordAnd Talor Gooch, who wanted to return to the PGA Tour to compete at the FedEx Cup playoffs. Freeman stated that plaintiffs failed even to show that they have suffered injury — let alone irreparable harm. Although the trial isn’t set to begin until January 2024 because of the squabbling between the sides over discovery, Freeman could play a crucial role in shaping how the sport evolves.

19. Lydia Ko

Ko was the youngest LPGA winner and youngest woman to win a major championship. She won only one time between 2017 and 2020. Her confidence was low and her results were poor.

Ko, now 25, has regained her star form and played some the best golf shes ever played. She won three times and earned more than $4 million. In November, Ko won the CME Group Tour Championship. She also won a record $2million winners purse. She was named LPGA Player-of-the-Year and won the circuits scoring title. Ko returned to the world No. Ko was ranked No.1 for the first time since 2017. Ko is reportedly set to marry her fiancé, Chung Jun, in Seoul on Friday.

18. Tom Kim

Cameron YoungKim was named PGA Tour rookie of the year. This was a well-deserved honor. Kim played as a temporary member but won his first tour victory at Wyndham Championship. He was awarded full-time status and a place in the Tour Championship.

Kim won the Shriners Childrens Open by three strokes over Patrick CantlayAnd Matthew NeSmithIn October. Kim, a South Korean player, became the first to win two consecutively since Woods in 1996, when he was 21 years old. His outgoing personality won him over fans and competitors at the Presidents Cup.

17. Bryson DeChambeau

DeChambeau won the 2020 U.S. Open at Winged Foot just two years ago and threatened to take down Augusta National the next year with his new length off the tee (he placed 46th). Last year, His beef with Brooks KoepkaThis made him one the most controversial players on tour.

DeChambeau was injured in his wrist and had to cancel his spring. He then switched to LIV Golf, which he did in June. His headlines in 2022 were mostly for off-the-course reasons. He was also one of the most prominent plaintiffs in a federal antitrust suit against the PGA Tour. DeChambeau also complained to the PGA Tour He is not entitled to his full Player Impact Program bonusAfter he left.

16. Brandel Chamblee

Chamblee, a former PGA Tour player who is now a Golf Channel analyst, has been more critical of LIV Golf than any other media member. Chamblee, who was at LIVs first event outside London in June said that So when these players say they are growing the game… it makes you want to puke. They are destroying the game. They are also ruining their reputations. … This is one the most saddest days of the history of golf. They are showing that they are the most selfish, self-interested and willfully blind golfers today.

Reed filed a defamation suit against Chamblee, Chamblee, and other media outlets alleging that they conspire with the PGA Tour & DP World Tour in order to defame LIV Golfers.

15. Yasir Al-Rumayyan

Al-Rumayyan, 52 years old, is the governor for the Public Investment Fund, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. Aramco is the state-owned, state-owned petroleum company. Al-Rumayyan was appointed by Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman as the head of the fund. It is estimated that it is worth more than $600billion. The fund also invests in foreign companies. Critics call it sportswashing , including the massive investment in LIV Golf by the fund.

LIV Golf released earlier this year that the Saudis were ready to contribute at least $784 Million to its new sporting venture. Atul Khosla, former president of LIV Golf and COO, is still the CEO. Who resigned this Month?According to ESPN, total expenditures were much higher than that. Saudis are According to some, they are losing a lot of moneyLIV Golf funding is renewable, and it may be up Al-Rumayyans decision to determine how long.

14. Peter Dawson

Dawson, the chairman of the Official World Golf Ranking will oversee one the most important decisions in golf. LIV Golf applied for recognition by the OWGR to allow its players to receive ranking points for their events. Major championships and the Olympics use OWGR rankings for exemptions and fields.

LIV golfers didn’t receive points during LIV’s inaugural season. Many of its players dropped in the OWGR rankings. LIV golf events dont fulfill all the requirements for inclusion in OWGR, such as 54 holes, no cuts, and 48-man fields. LIV Golf officials claim that the OWGR governing boards is biased because Jay Monahan (PGA Tour commissioner), Keith Pelley (DP World Tour CEO) and other members of the PGA Tour are all members.

13. Keith Pelley

Pelley, the CEO and founder of the DP World Tour, has come under fire for his decision to strengthen the alliance between his circuit and the PGA Tour. Pelley tried to suspend DP World Tour players who participated in LIV Golf events. Sergio GarciaAnd Lee Westwood. The members were temporarily injuncted from playing. Pelley has been criticized by some players for making the DP World Tour a feeder circuit for the PGA Tour .

I often get asked the question, Why cant we collaborate with both the PGA Tour (and the Saudis)? Pelley stated this before the BMW PGA Championship in September. We tried. The Saudis are determined to create a new series outside the current ecosystem. We chose to partner with the top tour in the game because of the conflict that has resulted. Some people might not be happy with this decision.

12. Matt Fitzpatrick

Fitzpatrick was long considered one of the best players in the world. His breakthrough came at the U.S. Open at The Country Club, Brookline, Massachusetts in June. Fitzpatrick finished 6-under 274 in 72 holes, good enough to beat Scheffler and Zalatoris by one stroke.

Fitzpatricks second shot from a fairway bunker on 18th hole of the final round was perhaps the best shot of the season. Fitzpatrick won U.S. Amateur at the same course nine year earlier. He was the second man ever to win a U.S. Open. Amateur and U.S. Open were played on the same course. Jack NicklausThis feat was accomplished by, at Pebble Beach.

11. Justin Thomas

Thomas won this seasons PGA Championship at Southern Hills in Tulsa. Although he only won once, it was a significant win. It was Thomas first major victory since he took home the 2017 PGA Championship. His May come-from-behind win was a confirmation of his decision to make Jim Bones Mackay his full-time bag. Mackay helped Mickelson win five majors over their 25-year partnership. This decision was almost as good as Thomas getting married on Friday night instead of a Saturday during college football.

10. Dustin Johnson

The former world No. 1 golfer pledged allegiance to the PGA Tour, only to change his mind a few months later and defect to LIV Golf. Former world No. 1 golfer pledged allegiance the PGA Tour, but he defected to LIV in August. According to reports, the two-time major champion was awarded a signing bonus in excess of $125 million. This gave LIV Golf a boost of credibility. He won the individual title in LIV and led his 4Aces GC group to the inaugural team title. DJ made over $35 million in his first year with LIV, not counting the generous sign-up bonus.

9. Martin Slumbers

No head of a governing body in golf took such a hard line on LIV Golf as Slumbers, CEO of the R&A, which oversees the Open Championship. Slumbers, CEO of the R&A, stated that LIV Golf was harming perceptions during the 150th tournament at St. Andrews.

Slumbers stated that he believes the existing golf ecosystem has provided stable pathways for golfers to get into the sport and reach their full potential. Professional players have the right to choose where they play and to accept any prize money that is offered to them. Thats something I have no problem with. There is no free lunch.

Because 24 LIV golfers had already qualified for this tournament, there were 24 LIV players competing at the Old Course. Slumbers vowed that the R&A wouldnt ban LIV golfers from competing. The R&A is expected to announce in January or February what it plans to do in 2023.

8. Nelly Korda

Kordas season was halted by a blood clot in the left arm that caused her to miss four month. After returning, she struggled to regain her form but won the Pelican Women’s Championship in November. She is now No. She is currently ranked No. 2 in the world rankings.

Homa and other PGA Tour players took part in the QBE Shootout & PNC Championship this month. Jordan SpiethKordas swing was raved by a friend. I think she was the Tiger Woods of LPGA Tour at one time, he said. Kevin KisnerShe was accompanied by, who played a practice game at the QBE Shootout. She hit every shot she wanted for eight holes. Does she ever hit a bad shot, or is that just me? I dont know, Ive never seen her hit any bad shots.

7. Scottie Scheffler

There were concerns about Schefflers ability to close out tournaments on PGA Tour in 2022. Scheffler is a former star at the University of Texas. He did more than silence his critics in a six-start heat that saw Scheffler win his first victory at WM Phoenix Open. He also won at the Arnold Palmer Invitational as well as WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. He then won his first major championship at Masters.

Scheffler was also victorious in his first four races. He also finished second four more times and had 18 top-25 finishes across 25 races. Scheffler rose up to No. Scheffler rose to No. 1 in the world following his match-play championship. He earned more than $14,000,000 in official purse money and became the first player to earn more than $14,000,000 in a single season. He currently ranks No. Rory McIlroy is currently No. 2. His peers voted him the PGA Tour Player Of The Year, not surprising.

6. Cameron Smith

Smith, who claimed the $3.6 million prize at The Players, was the richest male golfers prize in history. It seemed like he was reaching the top of the sport. He was a world-class putter and had won the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He finished third at the Masters, and tied for 13th at PGA Championship.

Smith won his first major when he put together a remarkable final-round 64 at the 150th Open Championship in St. Andrews. Smith, who was then the worlds No. Smith, who was then the No. 2 player worldwide, left for LIV Golf. The PGA Tour lost the 28-year old Australian because he was young, popular and at the peak of his career.

5. Jay Monahan

Monahans tenure was pretty smooth since he became the fourth commissioner of the PGA Tour in January 2017. Monahan is now dealing with a firestorm since Mickelson made controversial comments.

Monahan has suspended 17 PGA Tour members, including Mickelson Johnson, Sergio Garcia, and Johnson, who participated in the inaugural LIV Golf Event. They wouldnt be among the first to be expelled or deported. Monahan stated that players will not be allowed to ride free off of the loyal players, the top players in the world.

Mickelson and other LIV players filed a federal lawsuit against the PGA Tour. He didnt blink. Monahan may have mistakenly stated that his tour was moving forward from LIV Golf at The Players, but he did not. He reacted quickly, and decisively.McIlroy and Woods helped create a series a higher-level events for the 2023 seasons with increased purses to encourage the best players of the PGA Tour to stay loyal.

4. Greg Norman

It doesnt matter whether you agree with Norman or not, it is difficult to argue Norman did more than anyone to improve the state of mens pro golf over the past year. It remains to see if it will be successful. LIV Golfs business modelThe PGA Tour will be around for the long haul, but the PGA Tour now faces a rival circuit.

Normans league is being funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. It boasts 54 holes, shotgun starts, and four-man teams. This proves what many golfers already know: Money motivates many. Norman made some mistakes along the way. One was to describe Jamal Khashoggi’s death by the Saudi monarchy in a mistake . Khashoggi was a Washington Post journalist and U.S resident.

3. Rory McIlroy

McIlroy won the 2021-22 wraparound championship three times, including the season-ending Tour Championship. McIlroy won the CJ cup in South Carolina, his second win to become world No. He was ranked No. 1 for the ninth consecutive time in his career. He was a painfully close finish to his eight-year-old drought in major championships. He finished second at The Masters, eighth at The PGA Championship, and tied for fifth at The Open.

McIlroys most important work was done off the course. He became the PGA Tours most loyal supporter during the battle with LIV Golf. McIlroy and Woods rallied players during a meeting in August before the BMW Championship, which sparked major changes. McIlroy was more that that.

2. Tiger Woods

The 15-time major champion was still recovering from serious injuries he sustained in a February 2021 car accident outside Los Angeles. The sporting world was thrilled to hear that Woods was playing a practice game at Augusta National Golf Club with his son Charlie and good friend Justin Thomas.

The five-time Masters champion played in the tournament he loved the most. Thousands of spectators followed him around to watch every shot. He limped around the famous courseHe finished 47th. It would be his best finish in three majors. He pulled out of the PGA Championship at 54 holes, and missed the cut at St. Andrews 150th Open Championship.

The results were not great, but Tigers return to the top was still remarkable. The biggest story on the golf course. His return to competition happened at a crucial time for the PGA Tour. You can see that he is still the most beloved golfer in the world when he won the Player Impact Program, even though he only played in three official tour events.

1. Phil Mickelson

Six-time major champion resurrected his career with a stunning win at the 2021 PGA Championship, Kiawah island. He became the oldest major champion in golf history at 50. The player who was once known as Lefty , took a sharp turn in mid-February. Some controversial commentsPublished information about the PGA Tour, and the Saudi Arabian monarchy.

Mickelson stated that he was open to working with the Saudi Arabian backers for LIV Golf in a telephone conversation with Alan Shipnuck. Gain leverage with the PGA Tour.

Mickelson said to Shipnuck, Theyre scary momf—ers to get into a relationship with, during a telephone conversation Shipnuck stated occurred in November 2021. … They were killed [Washington Post reporter and U.S. resident Jamal]Khashoggi is a notorious violator of human rights. People are executed in Saudi Arabia for being gay. This is why I would not even consider it. Because this is a unique opportunity to reshape the PGA Tours operation.

Mickelson was immediately criticized for his comments. This delayed the LIV Golf circuits launch. KPMG and Amstel Light, long-time sponsors, ended their relationships. Callaway has retracted its agreement. Mickelson went into exile, grew a mustache and became the defending champion by skipping the Masters and PGA Championships.

The PGA Tour suspended him when he teed-off in the inaugural event outside London in June.

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