Hideki Matsuyama, Phil Mickelson, Jon Rahm and Collin Morikawa Head to 2022 as Defending Grand Champions; Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Mickelson all have more opportunities to end golfing careers in Grand Slams
Last updated: 12/31/21 06:56 AM
The 2021 golf calendar has produced historic wins, first winners and broken records, but what can we expect from the men’s major program in the coming year?
Hideki Matsuyama will return to Augusta National as the defending champion, a year after becoming the first Asian Masters winner last April, while Rory McIlroy will have another chance to end golf’s career in a Grand Slam.
Phil Mickelson became the oldest major winner in history with his PGA Championship victory at Kiawah Island, while world number 1 Jon Rahm won a first major title with his spectacular success at the US Open at Torrey Pines.
Nick Dougherty, Andrew Coltart and Paul McGinley reflect on key moments from Jon Rahm’s winning round at the US Open
The Open celebrates its 150th anniversary next summer in St Andrews, with the Old Course hosting the event for the first time since 2015 and Collin Morikawa the reigning champion golfer of the year after lifting the Claret Jug at the Royal St George’s.
Who will win the major men’s tournaments in 2022? We asked Sky Sports Golf presenter Nick Dougherty for his predictions …
The Masters – Rory McIlroy
I’m a pretty emotional person, so I’ll continue to believe he wins in Augusta, and there’s no reason he can’t. I honestly believe he has found that sweet spot of wanting to find improvement, but also has the prospect of knowing that he has his own way of doing it.
I feel like a few years ago that he went on to try and replicate some of the traits he loves in other players’ games, such as the strengthening of his club face that we see at many top players, all in a quest to rise above them all, but I think he’s starting to find his own game again.
I love what he said recently about his performances and I love the work he has done with Brad Faxon. I expect him to win again at the start of the season and that would lead him to the Masters in great shape. He had chances there, let’s be honest. He has a good record at Augusta National, he just hasn’t done the job yet.
PGA Championship – Viktor Hovland
His career has been phenomenal so far, with all three PGA Tour wins, one European Tour win and this Hero World Challenge win just before Christmas. We’ve seen what he’s capable of, so the next step is obvious.
When you look at all the tools he has, I think it’s inevitable that he’ll be in the mix for other big tournaments in the years to come. Winning bigger events on the PGA Tour and a major victory are both in his future.
He approaches Collin Morikawa with the quality of his long game and he’s phenomenal at the start. He’s got the tee-to-green game and is much better on the greens than before, so we can expect him to step up and challenge in the main arena.
US Open – Xander Sc Chaudele
The last five times that ScHotele has played the US Open, he has been fifth, sixth, third, fifth and seventh. He’s won the PGA Tour four times and has a very good CV in the majors without winning one yet, so that could be his calling.
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The Open – Jordan Spieth
Spieth finished second at the Open in 2021 and played well in his last outfit at St Andrews in 2015. Considering the nature of his game, with his tidy iron game and brilliant putting, I have the feel like he’s going to have a chance around this golf course.
St Andrews, for me, remains one of the most overlooked golf courses. When you look at the caliber of players who won around the Old Course and the way they plotted there, you can easily see someone with the artistry that Spieth has when lifting the Claret Jug again.
The secret of the Old Course isn’t hitting it from the left side to miss the bunkers, there are times when it works in favor of the true thinker. Spieth will suit this layout perfectly.
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