Our survey said: Looking back at 2017

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With youngsters Justin Thomas and Tommy Fleetwood winning their respective season-long points races and three of the four majors going to 20-somethings, the future of golf is certainly in good hands.

But how did you rate 2017? A vintage year?

Although the new PGA Tour season has been underway since last month and the European Tour launched again in Hong Kong last week, it’s good to reflect on what’s just gone.

I have my own thoughts but wanted to ask Twitter what everyone else made of this year.

A poll seemed the most efficient way so I decided to ask six questions – four looking back and two looking ahead.

These were the results, along with selected comments and my own reflections too. I have to admit, on a few occasions I was surprised!

1/ Best duel of the season? (364 votes)

Garcia v Rose at The Masters 72%
Spieth v Kuchar at The Open 28%

I backed Kuchar at Royal Birkdale but always felt Spieth would find a way to get it done and he did. At Augusta, I genuinely had no idea who would prevail and there was the added drama of Sergio perhaps never ever getting this good a chance to finally win a first major.

The latter was something several of you picked up on.

You said:

Mark Healey @the_kauto_boy
More to do with the emotional connotations of watching Garcia get over the line in a major as opposed to the play. Wonderful to see.

Jacob @Jacob_golf
Garcia just faultless from 14 and birdie in playoff. He won it, Rose didn’t lose it – that’s what made it so exhilarating.

2/ Biggest surprise (329 votes)

Rory not winning a single event 44%
Xander Schauffele winning Tour Champs 19%
Si-Woo Kim winning Players Champs 25%
Tommy Fleetwood winning Race to Dubai 12%

In terms of bookmakers’ odds, Kim prevailing at Sawgrass was the biggest surprise but he’d won on the PGA Tour before and it’s an event where big names can struggle.

Given that injury or loss of form can strike anyone, I wasn’t quite as amazed as most that Rory didn’t win. He tends to play only the best events so it wasn’t impossible that he’d continue to get pipped in those while there were limited chances for him to clean up in weaker events.

So I gave the nod to Fleetwood. To make the jump from huge potential but slight underachiever to European No.1 in one year was a fantastic effort. There was no smoke and mirrors; he did it over a full season.

You said:

Matt Cooper @MattCooperGolf
Pretty much anyone can win on a given week so that rules out Kim and XS. Fleetwood dropped hints at the end of 2016 but the idea of Rory not winning seemed madness.

Best round of the season (369 votes)

Branden Grace 62 at Open 20%
Justin Thomas 59 in Sony Open 29%
Hideki Matsuyama R4 61 to win WGC-Bridgestone 26%
Brooks Koepka R4 67 to win US Open 25%

It’s pleasing to ask a question where just 9% separates the four answers.

Massive credit to Brooks Koepka and Hideki Matsuyama for pulling it off when it mattered most – in the final rounds of massive events.

The 59 is still seen as golf’s magic number but, in my eyes, just a little less amazing than it used to be. Adam Hadwin also shot one last year while Jim Furyk has fired both a 58 and a 59 in the last few seasons.

Hats off to Justin Thomas but if you want genuine new ground look no further than Branden Grace’s 62.

No-one had broken 63 in 157 years of the majors. And yet Grace’s record-breaking 62 came bottom of the poll! That’s mental (said in David Brent voice).

You said:

Glen @glen76stephens
Has to be grace, unbelievable round.

Jacob @Jacob_golf
It’ll fly under the radar but Zach Johnson’s 66 at Birkdale on the Friday in pitiful conditions was unfathomable and one of the best I’ve seen. I think the average score that day was over 75. Largely inconsequential, but what a round.

Player of the season (386 votes)

Justin Thomas 77%
Tommy Fleetwood 10%
Jon Rahm 10%
Sergio Garcia 3%

You said:

Paul Jones @sportspunter01
Only one answer to that, surely.

I think you’re probably right Paul.

A counter-argument? Thomas won lots of events but three were in limited fields and his major was the Ringo of the four, the USPGA.

Sergio won one of the Lennon/McCartney majors (Masters/Open Championship) and was carrying a huge monkey on his back. Thomas was just a freewheeling youngster.

Changed your mind? Didn’t think so!

Who will win most tournaments in 2018 (353 votes)

Dustin Johnson 19%
Jordan Spieth 41%
Justin Thomas 29%
Rory McIlroy 11%

I was a little surprised by the lack of love for Rory although maybe love wasn’t involved at all. Perhaps it’s just cold, hard analysis that others have gone past him or, at least, can play winning golf more regularly than the mercurial Rory.

You said:

Rob Taylor @Robbo_Taylor
Would love it to be Rory, but fancy DJ and Spieth to have magic years next year.

Mark Healey @the_kauto_boy
The way course design is going, a fit and firing DJ just seems most likely to win tournaments. Most consistent will be Spieth.

Will Tiger ever win again (524 votes)

Yes 39%
No 61%

Tiger Woods

First thing to note, this question drew more votes than any other. Tiger’s influence remains!

Again, I was taken aback. I know there are a good number of diehard Woods loyalists out there but I guessed at something around an 85%-15% split in favour of ‘no’.

Nope. Perhaps swayed by the promising recent footage of Tiger and his comeback, nearly four in 10 still believe Woods has another win in him.

To be fair, some answered ‘yes’ with the view that his win would come at Seniors level.

You said:

Mark Healey @the_kauto_boy
He’s not the longest, he’s not the most accurate. He doesn’t have the fear factor. He may win but I just don’t see it. More likely to retire hurt in 2 years time. Would love to be wrong tho.

JPEG Tips @JPEG_GolfTips
Amazed – if Tom Watson can nearly win The Open as a pensioner how can people say NO in reference to Tiger?

Rob Taylor @Robbo_Taylor
Would love to see it, but the depth of talent around now means it is unlikely in my view. If he could compete at Augusta, that would be immense down the stretch.

Chris Magee @magee406
Champions Tour

Martin Mills @Sir_Coolerking
Yes on the Seniors circuit.

Dylan Prendergast @MrXathon
He has to target tournaments with very weak fields IMO


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