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The top 100 players on the PGA Tour, ranked

January 03, 2022

How did the PGA Tour's best players spend their "winter breaks?" Relaxing? Working on their games? A little of both? These are the questions we'll be asking beginning at this week's Sentry Tournament of Champions, as the tour resumes the 2021-22 season in Maui. Ahead of that, our Golf Digest staff spent its winter break coming up with our second annual ranking of the top 100 players on tour. To gather our list, we looked through the prism of what we expect from players in 2022 while acknowledging their form and feats from the recent past. Below is our collective answer.

For clarification, this list is specific to those who play on the PGA Tour. This is why you won’t see players like Victor Perez or Min Woo Lee, both fine talents who spend most of their time on the the European Tour. Obviously a handful of players compete on multiple circuits; we judged these jump balls as best we could.

Here then are the top 100 players on the PGA Tour, from No. 100 to the top spot.

100. Andrew Landry

Age: 34 / OWGR (as of Jan. 3, 2022): 187 / ’22 FedEx Cup (entering Sentry TOC): 40

Landry came out on the business end of the 2020-21 “super season,” missing the cut in half of his starts and turning in a lone top-25 finish. Four MCs in six fall starts doesn’t look much better. But top-10s in those two made cuts this past autumn (T-4 at Sanderson Farms, T-7 at Mayakoba) give hope that a turnaround is ‘round the corner. —Joel Beall

99. Taylor Pendrith

Age: 30 / OWGR: 229 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 47

Canadian rookie has one of the most impressive moves you’ll see anywhere—think Matthew Wolff meets Jim Furyk, with 190-mph ball speed. There’s a good chance he finishes top five in driving distance when the dust settles. —Dan Rapaport

98. Jason Day

Age: 34 / OWGR: 126 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 196

It seems like eons since the talented but injury-prone Aussie was one of the most dominant players in golf. Coming off his worst season since 2012, when he hadn’t yet fully rounded into the form that made him a force in 2015-16, Day appears at a crossroads at age 34. Just four top-10s dotted an unremarkable season that saw him fail to reach the second round of the FedEx Cup Playoffs for the first time. He has fallen out of the top 100 in the world, and most of his struggles appear to be with his usually reliable putting, where he dropped to 95th in strokes gained. His tee-to-green game (37th SG) still shines, so there is something to build on. Or rebuild on. —Dave Shedloski

97. Denny McCarthy

Age: 28 / OWGR: 180 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 30

If one man could ever disprove the old adage, “You drive for show and you putt for dough,” it’s this guy. McCarthy has twice led the PGA Tour in strokes gained/putting, yet he’s still searching for his maiden victory. That being said, he’s made some decent dough with $4.3 million in earnings in four seasons, and he’s started this campaign by making more with four consecutive made cuts. —Alex Myers

96. Hudson Swafford

Age: 34 / OWGR: 163 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 118

It's extremely difficult to bring up Swafford without noting his eerie physical similarity to college teammate Harris English, and we'll be the latest to fail. To his credit, he takes it in stride, and plods steadily along in a career that reads as "journeyman" on the surface, but does include two tour wins, including his latest in September 2020 in the Dominican Republic. It's a fact of life that Swafford is going to miss cuts, but as he proved last season, he can miss a bunch (17) and still post a high FedEx Cup finishing position (36th). —Shane Ryan


Jared C. Tilton

95. Adam Schenk

Age: 29 / OWGR: 156 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 37

The man with the most unfortunate name in golf hit anything but a shank over the last eight months. Since the RBC Heritage, Schenk has finished T-18 or better five times, including three inside the top four. Should he keep it rolling into 2022, there are ample low-key, early-season events for the former Purdue Boilermaker to pick off a maiden win. —Christopher Powers

94. Adam Hadwin

Age: 34 / OWGR: 150 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 126

The streaky Canadian—he missed three straight cuts during three stretches in 2021—can put it all together at times. Hadwin had three top-eights last season but the short hitter rarely produces a charge on the weekend. He averaged 70.38 on both Saturday and Sunday—91st for both days on tour. —Tod Leonard

93. Luke List

Age: 36 / OWGR: 152 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 28

List is the only player from the last decade to have led the tour in driving distance for the year and never won on tour. Most other to lead in distance, like Bubba, Bryson, DJ, and Rory, also have majors. List can hammer the ball, and his tee-to-green numbers will always be elite with that asset. But his putting has been historically poor—if you look at one of those Data Golf charts measuring five skills, the shape List delivers is more of the rare triangle than some form of pentagon. But hey, you just need one hot week with the putter and you can pull the Cameron Champ and pick off a win or two. —Brendan Porath


Andy Lyons

92. Henrik Norlander

Age: 34 / OWGR: 162 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 49

The Swede finished fourth at Sanderson Farms in the fall, spurred by a final-round 64. Though he turned pro in 2011 after helping lead Augusta State to back-to-back NCAA team titles, this is just Norlander’s fifth season on the PGA Tour, alternating between the Korn Ferry and Challenge Tours in between. His strength is his iron play: Norlander ranked 27th last season on tour in strokes gained/approach. —Stephen Hennessey

91. Robert Streb

Age: 34 / OWGR: 120 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 45

After winning the 2020 RSM Classic, Streb played 23 events the rest of the 2020-21 season and missed more cuts than he made (12 to 11) with just three top-20 finishes. The fall was better, though, with two top-10s, and having a card through 2023 means he doesn’t have to sweat things out this season. That has to be somewhat liberating after finishing outside the top 125 in 2018, 2019 and 2020. —Ryan Herrington

90. Troy Merritt

Age: 36 / OWGR: 106 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 52

When you hear discussions about how the tour is looking out for its rank-and-file members, Merritt is the player they’re talking about. He’s proven he can win (he’s done it twice), made more than $11 million and has played well enough to keep his card for nine straight seasons. Yet for as consistent a career as that is, he’s never gotten to the Tour Championship. Can 2022 be different? Perhaps … he finished the fall ranked 14th in SG/approach the green and 34th total, which rank as career bests if extended through an entire season. —R.H.

89. Aaron Rai

Age: 26 / OWGR: 100 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 59

Perhaps known best by American golf fans for his iron headcovers, Rai made a name for himself in the U.S. in 2021, nearly winning on the Korn Ferry Tour in his first start. It was a painful runner-up finish—needing just an up-and-down to secure victory he instead took four strokes, missing a playoff—but the KFT result in Boise secured his PGA Tour card for this season. The Englishman missed his first three cuts on the PGA Tour but finished the year with three consecutive top-20s. —S.H.


Steve Dykes

88. Brendan Steele

Age: 38 / OWGR: 101 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 20

The Sultan of the Safeway Open had a “down” 2021, if you consider it purely on FEC finish, which was 105th. But he still made almost $1.4 million, so he was making cuts and cashing checks, which he’s done all his career. Steele has the length to hang on the modern tour, and he’ll pick and choose his venues where he knows he can pop after several years on the circuit. —B.P.

87. Davis Riley

Age: 25 / OWGR: 362 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 111

Cruelly, the former Alabama star was third on the Korn Ferry points list in 2020, but didn’t get promoted when the season was extended due to the pandemic. Riley forged on with seven top-10s, including two wins, that got eventually got him onto the PGA Tour for 2021-22. The new season has been a rollercoaster—four missed cuts, countered by a T-7 in Bermuda. The flat stick in a hinderance: Riley is 131st in SG/putting. —T.L.

86. Chris Kirk

Age: 36 / OWGR: 96 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 97

Between 2011 and 2015, Kirk ripped off four wins and earned a spot on the 2015 U.S. Presidents Cup team. The six years that followed were tough both on and off the course for Kirk, who opened up about his battle with alcoholism in 2019. Since then he’s found his golf game again, winning a Korn Ferry Tour event in 2020 and collecting eight top-16 finishes on the PGA Tour in 2021. Perhaps 2022 is the year he ends what is now a six-plus-year victory drought. —C.P.

85. Lanto Griffin

Age: 33 / OWGR: 111 / '22 FedEx Cup: 42

We haven't fully checked the record books, but it seems likely that Griffin is the one-and-only PGA Tour winner to be named by his hippie parents after a spiritual master (in this case, "Lord Lanto, a Chohan of the Second Ray of Illumination"). It took him years to reach the PGA Tour, but a win at the 2019 Houston Open gave him serious traction, and after holding on to the top 100 last season, he's off to a big start with two top-10s in the fall. And fun fact: Thanks to those hippie parents, Griffin has never eaten red meat. —S.R.

84. Matt Kuchar

Age: 43 / OWGR: 116 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 91

One of the game’s top earners for more than a decade, Kuchar has cooled down with only one top-10 in each of the past two seasons. The nine-time tour winner was always able to get around a lack of distance, but that’s getting harder to do these days—especially with an eroding iron game. Kuchar ranked 108th and 98th in SG/approach the past two seasons, and is currently 184th. —A.M.


Alex Goodlett

83. Bubba Watson

Age: 43 / OWGR: 85 / ’22 FedEx Cup: NR

Because he remains one of the longest hitters, and because he can create shots, and because he puts himself out there with genuine emotion, Watson still is a compelling and competitive presence on the PGA Tour. To return to legitimate threat, the lithe left-hander needs to shake off that middle-aged putting stroke, because being 149th in SG/putting (minus-.210) last season nullified an encouraging 36th position in SG/tee to green (plus-.751)—which explains his paltry 3.59 birdie average. And though he had just five top-10 finishes in 22 events, he only missed four cuts (plus one WD), and he qualified for the playoffs for the 15th time, one of just six players with perfect attendance in the FedEx Cup era. Watson and longtime caddie Ted Scott have split amicably, but maybe a new voice will get him to a 13th career win. —D.S.

82. Adam Long

Age: 29 / OWGR: 143 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 36

Started this wrap-around season with four straight top-25 finishes to set himself up nicely in the FedEx Cup race. Don’t let the name fool you—he ranked only 88th in driving distance last season. —D.R.

81. Jhonattan Vegas

Age: 37 / OWGR: 82 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 56

Vegas enjoyed a career revival in 2020-21 thanks to three runner-up finishes, a performance he carried over into the fall (fifth in SG/off-the-tee, 17th in SG/tee-to-green). That this is a Presidents Cup year should provide extra incentive for Vegas. The International team has depth for the first time in, well, forever, yet most of those names are young and unproven. Vegas—who won his singles match at the 2017 Presidents Cup—will be 38 when the biennial match kicks off at Quail Hollow, and would give captain Trevor Immelman a steady, likeable veteran presence on the squad. —J.B.


Mike Ehrmann

80. Pat Perez

Age: 45 / OWGR: 280 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 192

Perez has historically used the fall to jumpstart his seasons, but this autumn was none too kind (five starts, three missed cuts, a WD and a T-44). Turning 46 in March, it’s fair to wonder how much gas Perez has left in the tank. Yet the man has been a model of consistency, missing the playoffs just once in its 15-year existence … and that once was due to an injury that sidelined him for seven months in 2016. The 2021 super season was another solid campaign for Perez, making the cut in 21 of 32 starts and finishing 53rd in strokes gained. He’ll need the West Coast Swing to right his wrongs, but it’s a safe bet to see Perez once again come playoff time. —J.B.

79. Emiliano Grillo

Age: 29 / OWGR: 92 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 114

Sometimes, the PGA Tour rookie of the year award is a harbinger of greatness. For Grillo, the 2016 winner, it hasn’t quite turned out that way, though he remains a terrific ball-striker who’s seen success in weaker-field events. —D.R.

78. Joel Dahmen

Age: 34 / OWGR: 93 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 46

A season with three top-10s doesn’t sound all that great, except that when one of them is your first PGA Tour win in your 12th year as a professional, it’s everything. So Dahmen, winner in the Dominican Republic, has that going for him, which is … well, you know … nice. One of the shorter drivers of the ball, Dahmen has to do other things well. Hitting fairways is one where he did fine (ranked 22nd). Getting to the greens and then operating on them, not so much, and on that last item, the 34-year-old Washington native gave up way too much ground at 164th SG/putting (minus-.344). —D.S.


Kevin C. Cox

77. Lee Westwood

Age: 48 / OWGR: 37 / ’22 FedEx Cup: NR

Oh, what could have been in 2021 as Westwood played his way into the final pairing in back-to-back events (Bay Hill and the Players) before finishing runner-up in both. Sadly, reminiscent of his long list of close calls in majors throughout his career. Westy’s OWGR remains rather lofty based on those two finishes as well as winning the 2020 Race to Dubai title on the European Tour, but a T-21 as his best performance since March indicates he’s headed on a different trajectory now as he closes in on his 49th birthday in April. —A.M.

76. Cameron Young

Age: 24 / OWGR: 135 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 26

Search for Cameron Young on Wikipedia, and the first hit is a G-League NBA player; check the World Ranking, and Young is the fifth-most famous Cameron, after Smith, Tringale, Davis and Champ. And yet the Wake Forest grad is brimming with raw potential, and even more importantly, he's a winner: He earned his card on the strength of back-to-back wins on the Korn Ferry Tour last season, and though he ran hot-and-cold the rest of the season, he nearly won his second PGA Tour event at Sanderson Farms. The son of the head pro at Sleepy Hollow Country Club, Young is still untested, but he has a nose for trophies. —S.R.

75. Sahith Theegala

Age: 24 / OWGR: 382 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 85

Theegala is not yet on the level of some of the other studs in his age group, but his appearance in this ranking is a prediction that he will be soon. He didn’t rewrite the Korn Ferry Tour history books in the 2020-21 season, but his consecutive top-six finishes in the final two KFT Finals events saw him earn his PGA Tour card for the 2021-22 season. There will be growing pains, no doubt, but we’re betting on the crazy-talented 24-year-old from Pepperdine to introduce himself to the casual golf fan in a big way in 2022. —C.P.


Sam Greenwood

74. Cameron Davis

Age: 26 / OWGR: 78 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 151

The Aussie has been trying to live up to the promise he showed in capturing the 2017 Australian Open, beating the likes of Jordan Spieth and Jason Day. Davis finally delivered on the Fourth of July by outlasting Troy Merritt in a five-hole playoff to win the Rocket Mortgage Classic. He also had a third in The American Express, but posted only one other top-10. Davis is a big hitter (19th in driving distance), but not strong with the irons (120th in GIR). —T.L.

73. Tom Hoge

Age: 32 / OWGR: 110 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 27

An established regular on tour, Hoge has moved beyond “No, what is it?” status. That’s the reply Tiger Woods gave in 2015 when he was asked if he would recognize Tom Hoge, who would be his playing partner the next day at the Wyndham (presumably Tiger thought the inquisitor was referring to a sandwich of some sort). Hoge will likely make some 30 starts and make around as many cuts as he misses, relying on hot stretches with his below-average putter that occasionally bump him into contention. —B.P.

72. Matt Wallace

Age: 31 / OWGR: 80 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 48

Wallace had five top-10 finishes across the PGA Tour and DP World Tour in 2021, including a T-4 at the Zozo Championship in the fall. He held a share of the 54-hole lead at the Valero Texas Open, falling short to Jordan Spieth despite Wallace putting on a ball-striking clinic, gaining 15.3 strokes to the field tee-to-green. —S.H.

71. Ian Poulter

Age: 45 / OWGR: 57 / ’22 FedEx Cup: T-141

The Brit turns 46 on Jan. 10 and with no Ryder Cup to aim for in 2022, the question is what kind of motivation does he have. To wit, he missed three cuts in four tour starts after Whistling Straits last fall. The most cuts he’s missed in any season on tour since 2005 is four. That said, he has posted 39 top-10s in 92 tour starts from 2017-21. —R.H.

70. Harold Varner III

Age: 31 / OWGR: 95 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 64

There might not be any player on tour who more of his peers are pulling for to get that first win than Varner, the North Carolina native is that well liked. But the journey to win No. 1 continues to have its rocky moments as Varner struggles to sustain momentum after posting solid first rounds. The good news? In 2021, he had a career-best 10 top-25s, along with his first top-three finish (T-2 at Harbour Town). And as a new dad to baby Liam, there’s some new incentive to succeed in 2022. —R.H.


Sam Greenwood

69. Charley Hoffman

Age: 45 / OWGR: 76 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 92

Entering his 17th year on tour, Hoffman has been a model of consistency—keeping his card every year since 2006. The San Diego native had five top-10s last season, including a runner-up at the Valero Texas Open (where he closed with rounds of 66-65-66) and a third-place finish at Colonial, adding to an impressive résumé in the Lone Star State: 14 career top-10 finishes and 30 top-25s. —S.H.

68. Alex Noren

Age: 39 / OWGR: 71 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 126

After getting hot in the playoffs and nearly making it to Atlanta, 2021 was a rebound season of sorts for Noren, who once ascended into the top 10 in the world and made a Ryder Cup team. Noren’s majors record is rather underwhelming after 30 career starts, and his tee-to-green deficiencies relative to the modern elite players will continue to make breakthroughs at many of those setups a challenge. — B.P.

67. Cameron Champ

Age: 26 / OWGR: 83 / ’22 FedEx Cup: NR

We don’t yet know what Champ’s season is going to look like because a wrist injury forced him to shut things down after just one start in October. He must be hugely disappointed, considering Champ—who was third on the tour in driving distance (317 yards)—won for the third straight year in July at the 3M Open. It’s the putter that holds Champ back from contending more; he was 188th in SG/putting in 2020-21.—T.L.

66. Keith Mitchell

Age: 29 / OWGR: 89 / 22 FedEx Cup: 31

Mitchell owns one of the more impressive non-major wins in recent memory, defeating both Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler by one stroke at the 2019 Honda Classic. He hasn’t followed it with another trophy, but a trio of recent top-five finishes (Wells Fargo, 3M Open, CJ Cup) would lead one to believe that the former Georgia Bulldog isn’t likely to be just a one-win wonder. —C.P.

65. Keegan Bradley

Age: 35 / OWGR: 86 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 84

The peak of Bradley's career so far came in 2012, when he came into the Ryder Cup as a major champion and teamed with Phil Mickelson to electrify the Chicago crowds for the first two days. He's only 35, but the fall from those heights was definitive, and he's only managed a single win since. Still, he hasn't gone away, and on the strength of four top-10s last season, he put himself in position to make the Tour Championship and prove that even though that initial surge to stardom was part mirage, he's still a very good professional golfer. —S.R.


Mike Ehrmann

64. Garrick Higgo

Age: 22 / OWGR: 61 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 160

The talented South African has been piling up wins at an impressive rate, no matter what tour he plays on. After winning on the European Tour in back-to-back months, Higgo captured his first PGA Tour title at Congaree in June, just weeks after turning 22. He enters 2022 outside the top 50 in the OWGR, but it doesn’t appear like he’ll stay there for long. —A.M.

63. Branden Grace

Age: 33 / OWGR: 70 / 22 FedEx Cup: 105

There is a reason that Grace’s best SG stat is around the greens: He doesn’t hit many of them, averaging just 64.47 percent last season (144th on tour). But when he does have a week like he did at the Puerto Rico Open, where he was T-3 in the field after finding 57 of 72 (79.2 percent), the South African veteran does OK. In fact, he won his second tour title there and first anywhere in five years. Hey, that was one more win than countryman Louis Oosthuizen, the hard-luck loser of 2021 majors. Grace posted three other top-seven finishes, including runner-up at the Wyndham. He tends to make the most of his opportunities. —D.S.

62. Kevin Streelman

Age: 43 / OWGR: 77 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 128

Not someone you’d stop to watch on the driving range, but he’s kept his tour card for 15 years and has made more than $23 million. Picked up his first major top-10 in 26 tries at the PGA Championship at Kiawah. —D.R.

61. Aaron Wise

Age: 25 / OWGR: 64 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 22

The rookie of the year in 2018 went sideways in his second and third years on tour but bounced back in a big way during 2020-21, racking up nine top-25 finishes on his way to reaching the second stage of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Wise carried that fine display to the fall with three top-15s in five starts thanks to a stout tee-to-green game. If he can tighten up his short game (no better than 132nd in SG/putting the past three seasons) the former NCAA champ could be on the precipice of a breakout campaign. —J.B.

60. Rickie Fowler

Age: 33 / OWGR: 87 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 43

The 2021 super season was a super nightmare for Fowler. He had just one top-10 against nine missed cuts in 24 starts, failed to qualify for the Masters and U.S. Open, and he did not make the postseason for the first time in his career. But Fowler did contend in the fall at the CJ Cup in Vegas, ultimately coming in T-3 (his first top-three finish since the 2019 Honda Classic) to show the obituaries are premature. To keep the momentum going into 2022, Fowler will need to shore up his short game. Historically one of the better putters on tour (even ranking first in SG/putting in 2017), Fowler fell to 126th in the category last season. —J.B.


Gregory Shamus

59. Brian Harman

Age: 26 / OWGR: 59 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 189

Somewhat limited due to his lack of length but Harman makes a boatload of cuts. Manages his game extremely well and ranked inside the top 30 in both SG/putting and around the green in 2020-21. —D.R.

58. Ryan Palmer

Age: 45 / OWGR: 47 / 22 FedEx Cup: 108

In the long history of great Texas golfers, Palmer wouldn’t garner much attention, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been a very good player for a very long time. The four-time tour winner is sinewy strong, averaging 304.6 yards off the tee last season (38th) while ranking 49th in SG/off the tee. That will keep you relevant. He remains a decent putter (89th SG), also helpful. The only category where he lost strokes was around the greens. —D.S.

57. K.H. Lee

Age: 30 / OWGR: 63 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 66

We’ll be rooting for the former “husky boy” to achieve his stated goal of becoming the “sexiest golfer in the world” in 2022, unless he already claimed that title in your view. In 2021, Lee captured his first tour win, triggering another run of firsts in the coming year, where he’ll start inside the top 100 for the first time in his career, play his rookie Masters and, potentially, earn a Presidents Cup bid. The next step is making his first cut at a major championship, where his record is markedly inexperienced and thin (four starts, four missed cuts). —B.P.

56. Seamus Power

Age: 34 / OWGR: 73 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 25

It sounds unbelievable, but prior to Power’s win at the Barbasol in July, only four players from the Republic of Ireland had won a PGA Tour event. That was the cherry on top of an incredible summer for Power, whose World Ranking skyrocketed from the 400s to top 70 on the strength of that win and six other top-20 finishes. At the RSM Classic, the final event of the fall, he posted a T-4, giving warning that his meteoric rise in the summer was a beginning, not an end. —S.R.

55. Cameron Tringale

Age: 34 / OWGR: 51 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 13

Even if you’re a casual golf-watcher, chances are you’ve seen Tringale’s name at the top of the leader board upwards of a million times over the last handful of seasons (he has 15 top-25s since November 2020). That has yet to translate into a win on the PGA Tour, but chances are if he continues to put himself in position to win he’ll get there sooner or later. —C.P.

54. Stewart Cink

Age: 48 / OWGR: 52 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 199

Yes, Phil Mickelson rightfully grabbed the headlines by being the oldest major winner, but Cink notching two wins in a seven-month span, at 48, was arguably just as impressive. Remember, he won the Safeway Open by going 65-65 on the weekend and opened his title week in the Heritage with back-to-back 63s. For anybody, that’s playing your behind off. The iron play was fabulous, ranking Cink at 34th in SG/approach. He’s going to have to drive it better to be factor this year; in four events, he’s 104th in distance and 176th in accuracy. —T.L.


Patrick Smith

53. Harry Higgs

Age: 30 / OWGR: 138 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 69

A social-media darling, and for good reason, as Higgs brings character, humor and flavor to a tour with one too many mayo sandwiches. At 30, his career progression has been steady and stable, what we used to see as the norm in a prior era. He’s worked his way up with success, and wins, at each level, and 2021 came with a top-five finish in his first (and still only) major championship. —B.P.

52. Phil Mickelson

Age: 51 / OWGR: 33 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 174

What a glorious year for Lefty, who become the oldest major champion in golf history by outdueling major slayer Brooks Koepka at Kiawah Island. He also added four victories in six starts on the PGA Tour Champions in his first season, becoming just the second player to accomplish the feat, joining Jack Nicklaus. The question is whether the senior success and that major magic will translate into more consistency in regular PGA Tour starts, where he had just one other top-20 showing outside the PGA win in the 2020-21 season. —S.H.

51. Russell Henley

Age: 32 / OWGR: 55 / 22 FedEx Cup: 38

You think of Henley as older than 32 given the fact he’s already playing his 10th season. He’s been a consistent performer during that time, finishing inside the top 100 in the FedEx Cup ranking every year. Yet he’s only qualified for the Tour Championship twice (2014 and 2017) and hasn’t won since April 2017. So is Henley’s biological clock ticking? Perhaps. He’s learned to live with the fact he isn’t the longest player out there, but that means he needs to figure out a way to shore up his short game if he hopes to have more than a solid career. —R.H.

50. Sergio Garcia

Age: 41 / OWGR: 45 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 73

What’s left for Sergio, who has his major and his stellar Ryder Cup record and turns 42 on Jan. 9? In 2018 and 2020, he was outside the top 125 on the FedEx Cup points list, only to bounce back with solid seasons in 2019 and 2021. Interestingly, the Spaniard hasn’t shot a round over par on the PGA Tour since the first round of The Northern Trust in August. Ended the fall with a T-7 finish in Mexico, which certainly provides a positive vibe heading into the new year. —R.H.

49. Shane Lowry

Age: 34 / OWGR: 44 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 203

The 2019 Open champion had six worldwide top-10s in 2021, plus a T-12 in defending his title at The Open. The Irishman had several career-best finishes last year: at the PGA Championship (T-4), the Memorial (T-6), The Players (eighth) and the Masters (T-21). —S.H.


Warren Little

48. Justin Rose

Age: 41 / OWGR: 42 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 103

It’s been a disappointing past two-plus seasons for this former World No. 1. In 33 starts, Rose racked up just five top-10s with a T-3 at the 2020 Charles Schwab Challenge being his best result. Still in tremendous physical shape (just check his Instagram feed), a final-round 65 at the RSM Classic in the last official round of 2021 to finish T-12 indicates he has more good golf left in him—even if it happens less frequently. —A.M.

47. Mito Pereira

Age: 26 / OWGR: 98 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 21

Still a mystery to most American fans, the Chilean could make a big splash in ’22 if his trajectory continues. The Texas Tech alum earned a battlefield promotion from the Korn Ferry Tour with three wins in 2021, including back-to-back victories in June. Since then, Pereira has three top-10s on the PGA Tour and finished just off the podium in the Olympics. The stellar iron player has already competed seven times for 2021-22 and has four top-30s and only one missed cut. —T.L.

46. Kevin Kisner

Age: 37 / OWGR: 43 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 203

“This ain’t no hobby” and “they give away a lot [of $$] for 20th,” two of Kisner’s famous quotes, seem to be opposing ideas, but they actually sum up his PGA Tour existence perfectly. Golf is not a hobby for Kisner (he’s among the 50 best in the world at it), but he knows his skills are limited to shorter, shot-maker’s golf courses. He pops at those spots, like Harbour Town, Sedgefield and Detroit Golf Club, then happily takes his T-23s in the events where distance matters greatly. He knows who he is and makes no apologies for it, making him a fan favorite. —C.P.

45. Maverick McNealy

Age: 26 / OWGR: 68 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 12

It's easy to fly under the radar when you're still looking for your first professional win, but McNealy was one of the more quietly impressive players on tour last year, rising from 166th in the World Ranking at the start of 2021 to 69th at the end. Second-place finishes at Pebble Beach and Napa are the highlights, and he became more consistent as the season went along, making seven straight cuts to reach the BMW Championship. At 26, it's clear that McNealy is beginning to enter his prime. —S.R.

44. Tommy Fleetwood

Age: 30 / OWGR: 40 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 95

Now in his 30s, Fleetwood doesn’t quite fit the “Young Gunz” category anymore, but he still has a lot of golf in front of him. That being said—and not to sound too much like Paul Azinger—it has to be disheartening that this five-time European Tour winner has yet to break through in the U.S. More alarming is the only time he came close last year ended with a Sunday 77 at Bay Hill. Already with a T-7 in Vegas and still one of the game’s best ball-strikers, we expect to see his name on more leader boards in 2022—even if it’s not all the way on top. —A.M.

43. Erik van Rooyen

Age: 31 / OWGR: 66 / 22 FedEx Cup: 138

The South African enjoyed a rookie season that included a victory and a spot in the Tour Championship, thanks to consecutive top-five finishes in the Playoffs, so it stands to reason that expectations will be much higher in the coming year. He certainly has room for improvement, with a stat sheet that shows his best category was SG/putting (64th). Van Rooyen missed the cut in all three majors in which he competed and fell short of the weekend in 11 of 27 starts, so more consistency should be a stated goal in 2022. —D.S.

​​42. Lucas Herbert

Age: 26 / OWGR: 41 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 9

Secured his card through the Korn Ferry finals and promptly earned some job security by winning his third starts as a PGA Tour member in October at the Bermuda Championship. The Aussie has a great chance to make this year’s Presidents Cup team. —D.R.

41. Sebastian Munoz

Age: 28 / OWGR: 60 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 19

Munoz doesn’t do anything that particularly jumps out. In that same breath, the man possesses view weaknesses. See ball, hit ball, keep ball in play. It’s an equation that’s paid dividends: Thanks to a T-4 at the Zozo and a third at the RSM, Munoz begins 2022 inside the FedEx Cup top 20. Should he stay in the discussion for a trip to East Lake, it may be enough to snag a spot on the Presidents Cup team. To solidify his spot on the International squad, as well as make the jump into the next echelon of tour players, Munoz needs to keep the bigger numbers at bay: He ranked 131st in bogey avoidance last season. Improving his putting from inside 10 feet (111th in the category last year) will go ways towards that goal. —J.B.


Tom Pennington

40. Adam Scott

Age: 41 / OWGR: 46 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 62

Scott has advanced to the Tour Championship just twice in the last seven seasons. Part of that stems from his penchant for playing a light schedule (he’s only played more than 20 events once in his career), yet his performance in those limited appearances, while good, has trended the wrong direction with age. Nevertheless, Scott did post a T-5 at the CJ Cup in the fall, and a golfer’s 40s are no longer the purgatory they once were on tour. With the Presidents Cup on tap this year, don’t be surprised if we see a revival from the former Masters champ. —J.B.

39. Si Woo Kim

Age: 26 / OWGR: 53 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 44

Hard to believe he’s still three-plus years from 30. Hasn’t quite delivered on the top-10 potential he flashed in winning the 2018 Players at 21, but he’s got three wins and is coming off his most consistent season yet. —D.R.

38. Mackenzie Hughes

Age: 31 / OWGR: 39 / 22 FedEx Cup: 11

A strong fall campaign, highlighted by a T-4 at the Zozo and second at the RSM, augers well for the Canadian veteran. Hughes did just enough during the 2020-21 campaign to make it to the BMW Championship despite losing more than half a stroke to the field in SG/total. Four top-10s, including T-6 at The Open, and adding a T-15 finish at the U.S. Open sure helped. His relative lack of power always will make things challenging, but the last few years Hughes has gotten the putting-for-dough thing nailed down (including 15th in SG, ninth in total putting last season). —D.S.

37. Matt Fitzpatrick

Age: 27 / OWGR: 24 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 154

The Brit has made a steady climb up the OWGR despite not winning yet on the PGA Tour. Already a seven-time champ in Europe, however, he clearly has what it takes to close out golf tournaments—especially those played in difficult scoring conditions. “I’d love to tick that off,” Fitzpatrick told Today’s Golfer in October. “But I’m not a rookie anymore. I’m 27. In my own mind, I know I’ve got to start competing in the big events so my name is up at the top of the leader board more often.” We couldn’t agree more, Matt. —A.M.


Quality Sport Images

36. Paul Casey

Age: 44 / OWGR: 27 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 152

The veteran Brit must have discovered the fountain of youth, and we're not saying that just because of his boyish face. Firmly in his mid-40s, he made 18 of 20 cuts on tour last season, posted seven top-10s, made yet another Ryder Cup, and is the oldest man inside the world top 30. His consistency is a marvel, and so is his approach game—in 2020-21, only Morikawa was better on SG/approach. —S.R.

35. Webb Simpson

Age: 36 / OWGR: 28 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 54

In comparison to 2018, 2019 and 2020, when Simpson enjoyed a career resurgence after going five-plus years without a win, 2021 was a down season for the former U.S. Open champ. And yet, he still had five finishes of T-9 or better in 21 starts, three of them coming at three of his favorite tour courses—Harbour Town (RBC Heritage), Sedgefield (Wyndham) and Sea Island (RSM Classic). You can pencil him in for top-10s at those stops again in 2022, and we should expect much more from this prolific winner who still has plenty of good golf left in him. —C.P.

34. Matthew Wolff

Age: 22 / OWGR: 30 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 7

He’s so young, but this still seems like a critical season for Wolff. Will he better handle the pressure that came with his early success and then sidelined him for a mental-health break in ’21? The early returns are positive, with Wolff finishing second, T-5 and T-11 among his first four starts of the 2021-22 season. The putter has been a huge strength (12th thus far in SG), and he’s fourth in SG overall. That’s impressive for a guy who was fourth in driving distance last year (315.9), though he needs to keep it more on the short stuff; Wolff was 189th in accuracy. —T.L.

33. Corey Conners

Age: 29 / OWGR: 38 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 87

Your favorite flusher’s favorite flusher became the trendy description of Conners in 2021, a breakout year for him with multiple appearances on major championship leader boards and a trip to Atlanta for the Tour Championship. If we’re judging just based on tee to green, he could have been argued as a top-10 player in the world. What happens around and on the green makes it a bit more adventurous, but he’s too skilled in all-too-important areas of the game to not expect a bucket of more top 10s and a likely Presidents Cup spot representing Canada in 2022. —B.P.

32. Carlos Ortiz

Age: 30 / OWGR: 54 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 16

Ortiz edged a crowded leader board to earn his first PGA Tour title at the 2020 Houston Open, becoming the first winner from Mexico since 1978 (Victor Regalado). He contended for a third straight year at Mayakoba in his home country but finished four strokes behind winner Viktor Hovland. —S.H.


Mike Ehrmann

31. Tyrrell Hatton

Age: 30 / OWGR: 22 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 125

The Englishman would likely place higher on this list if European Tour results weighed heavier: He won the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and finished runner-up at the Alfred Dunhill Links in 2021. But Hatton had just one individual top-10 on the PGA Tour last year, a runner-up at Congaree. —S.H.

30. Billy Horschel

Age: 35 / OWGR: 23 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 167

Has some ground to make up in the FedEx Cup standings after playing just one PGA Tour event in the fall (T-33 at Mayakoba) while moonlighting on the European Tour. Still, he’s finished outside the top 50 only one since 2012 so there’s not much reasons to sweat it. A victory in the BMW Championship at Wentworth in September after a win at the WGC-Dell Match Play in March suggests Horschel has the game to win big events. But that record in majors—one top-15 finish and just two top-20s in 31 starts as a pro—is something that he would like to remedy. —R.H.

29. Talor Gooch

Age: 30 / OWGR: 32 / 22 FedEx Cup: 1

There was no hotter player on the tour this fall than the former Oklahoma State golfer. He carded five top-11 finishes in six starts including an “at last” breakout win at the RSM Classic to jump top the FedEx Cup ranking entering 2022. And this all happened despite ranking 149th in SG/off the tee (-.124). That’s been typical of Gooch in his four years on tour; he has never ranked better than 107th and always finished with a negative number. If he could shore up his driving, he has an iron game that will get him to the Tour Championship for the first time in his career. —R.H.


Cliff Hawkins

28. Marc Leishman

Age: 38 / OWGR: 36 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 18

Leishman bats it around as well as anyone on tour, and while he may have been inconsistent week-to-week last year, the year-over-year results speak for themselves. He’s got five wins in the last five years and finished inside the top 30 of the OWGR in five of the last six. He’s a reliable, professional golfer with a couple top five finishes already in the fall portion of the season. —B.P.

27. Louis Oosthuizen

Age: 39 / OWGR: 11 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 117

The South African is coming off a tremendous campaign, but there’s the nagging feeling that he missed out on something truly special. Oosthuizen tied for second in the PGA Championship and then held the Sunday back-nine lead in the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines before succumbing to Jon Rahm’s charge. He also had a T-3 in The Open. Oosthuizen is the consummate “putt for dough” player—ranking No. 1 in SG/putting in ’21 while being 101st off the tee. —T.L.

26. Max Homa

Age: 31 / OWGR: 35 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 6

Homa, once a Korn Ferry Tour grinder who struggled his first few seasons on the PGA Tour, has come into his own in his late 20s and early 30s. He’s now a certified winner, with three victories between 2019 and 2021, two of them in big-time events (Wells Fargo at Quail Hollow, Genesis at Riviera). No longer just the funny golfer on Twitter, Homa now lets his clubs do the talking, though he’s still pretty hilarious when he logs on to the bird app. —C.P.

25. Joaquin Niemann

Age: 23 / OWGR: 31 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 55

Plainly put, it's time for Niemann to win again. In the last calendar year, he's had six top-10s on tour, another in the Olympics, and came agonizingly close to winning his second career title at both the Sentry TOC and the Rocket Mortgage Classic. He lost in a playoff each time, but his World Ranking steadily improved throughout the year. Before a rocky finish to the fall, he had missed exactly one cut in 13 months, and even though he's still very, very young, he's ready to move from the upper echelons of the tour to the upper, upper echelons. —S.R.

24. Kevin Na

Age: 38 / OWGR: 29 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 199

Incredibly, this guy already has two decades of being a pro in the books. More amazing, though, is the fact he’s coming off the best season of his career. After winning just once in his first decade on tour, Na enters this year on a four-season winning streak. And after entering his name into the Ryder Cup conversation, perhaps he’ll finally get to wear the red, white and blue at this year’s Presidents Cup. —A.M.


Cliff Hawkins

23. Patrick Reed

Age: 31 / OWGR: 25 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 29

After winning his ninth tour title in January at the Farmers Insurance Open and occupying the top 10 in the World Ranking for the first half of 2021, Reed was hardly a factor the rest of the season. The falloff, and an untimely illness that landed him in the hospital, cost the so-called “Captain America” a spot on the record-setting U.S. Ryder Cup team. The guy’s short game and putting (seventh in SG/around the green, fourth in SG/putting) still prove to be lethal, but it’s right to wonder how long the former Masters winner can stay among the top Americans while his greens in regulation figures continue to deteriorate. —D.S.

​​22. Will Zalatoris

Age: 25 / OWGR: 34 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 67

Fell one shot short of becoming the first since 1979 to win his first Masters appearance and holds the rare distinction of winning rookie of the year despite not being a full member of the PGA Tour. Now in his first FedEx Cup-eligible season, he’ll be keen to back up his breakout season with a first tour victory. —D.R.

21. Sungjae Im

Age: 23 / OWGR: 26 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 3

It’s frankly amazing that Im has logged more than 100 starts on tour … and he doesn’t turn 24 until March. A strong start in the fall (highlighted by a win at the Shriners followed by a T-9 at the CJ Cup) has Im poised for another stellar season. Despite his youth there’s little to nitpick with his game; the next step for Im would be for a bit more consistency at the big events—following a runner-up at the 2020 Masters, he failed to crack the top 15 at the majors or Players in 2021—but, again, he’s just 23. He seems odd to earmark Im as a potential breakout candidate given his success, yet with the Presidents Cup on tap along with some major venues that fit his game (cough, cough Southern Hills), the fledgling star is not far from gaining full-blown leading-man status in the sport. —J.B.

20. Abraham Ancer

Age: 30 / OWGR: 17 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 63

He has a lone win to his name. Don’t let that fool you; this cat can ball. Ancer is coming off a career year, finishing the regular season sixth in the FedEx Cup and ranking 12th in scoring and 15th in strokes gained. The output is especially impressive considering Ancer is one of the shortest hitters on tour (157th in distance), although he more than compensates by hitting more fairways than a John Deere (fifth in accuracy). It is fair to wonder if the lack of pop has held him back at majors, with just one top-10 finish in 11 starts; conversely, it could also just be a matter of reps, and his second-shot prowess (23rd in approach), ability to rack up red figures (20th in birdies) while keeping the big numbers off the card (fifth in bogey avoidance) should make him a formidable figure at one of golf’s big four … and soon. —J.B.

19. Cameron Smith

Age: 28 / OWGR: 21 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 33

The Aussie flashes one of best short games on tour, even if he’s still prone to a foul ball off the tee, like the one that sealed a playoff loss to Tony Finau at The Northern Trust. Cruised into the Tour Championship on the strength of perhaps his best year as a professional. —D.R.


Stacy Revere

18. Harris English

Age: 32 / OWGR: 12 / ’22 FedEx Cup: NR

Dismissing his dismal fall performance (two missed cuts and a WD), English enjoyed his best year in 2021 with a pair of wins and a fourth-place finish in the FedEx Cup regular-season standings. He rose to a career-best 10th in the World Ranking. At 32, he’s in the prime of his career, and the Georgia native has shown he knows how to score—and win—despite stats that don’t necessarily impress. He’ll go as far as his putter (12th SG/putting) takes him. —D.S.

17. Daniel Berger

Age: 28 / OWGR: 19 / ’22 FedEx Cup: NR

The man who won the first event of the COVID restart in 2020 added another victory at Pebble Beach in 2021 to make that four in his PGA Tour career. Berger also had a pair of top-10s in majors and played (well) in his first Ryder Cup after being one of Steve Stricker’s captain’s picks. Interesting didn’t make a start in the fall season. It’s unlikely he’ll ever reach the level or status of fellow Class of 2011 stars Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, but being the third wheel among that group isn’t too shabby. —A.M.

16. Jason Kokrak

Age: 36 / OWGR: 20 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 8

A victory at the Houston Open in the fall gave the big-hitting, 6-foot-4 Ohio native his third title in a 13-month span, adding to wins at Colonial (2021) and Shadow Creek (2020)—after going winless in his first 232 starts on the PGA Tour. The biggest difference-maker for the 36-year-old? His putting. Kokrak ranked sixth last season in strokes gained/putting. Compare that to his ranks in the previous five seasons: 151st; 103rd; 110th; 175th; 154th. —S.H.

15. Hideki Matsuyama

Age: 29 / OWGR: 18 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 4

As the game of golf gets increasingly global, there are fewer barriers to break, but Matsuyama shattered two huge ones when he became the first Asian-born golfer to win the Masters, and the first Japanese man to win a major. The rest of his season was decidedly average, which is understandable, but with a fall win at home at the Zozo Championship, he's riding into 2022 with major momentum. We could be looking at another career year. —S.R.


Atsushi Tomura

14. Jordan Spieth

Age: 28 / OWGR: 14 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 141

The former World No. 1 finally ended his post 2017 Open Championship “slump” in April, winning the Valero Texas Open just one week before the Masters. A T-7 at Augusta, plus a solo second later in the summer at The Open, served as definitive proof he was all the way back. A fourth major title will effectively silence any doubters left, and the 2022 majors schedule, which includes two of his favorite haunts (Augusta, St. Andrews), sets up quite nicely for him to check off that box. —C.P.

13. Tony Finau

Age: 32 / OWGR: 15 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 169

Finau shook off the King Kong-sized gorilla on his back when he gutted out a playoff win in August’s Northern Trust to win for the first time in 142 starts. He had eight runners-up in that span, and at least we don’t have to hear the laments that he can’t close. A slow starter, Finau ranked 116th in first-round scoring average (70.92) in ’21, but he was a Friday monster, averaging 68.60 (second). —T.L.

12. Brooks Koepka

Age: 31 / OWGR: 16 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 172

He remains golf’s best big-game hunter on the men’s side, with three more finishes T6 or better at the majors in 2021. An MC at the first, The Masters, came largely due to a knee injury he probably should not have been playing on yet. Given he admitted early last year that there were dark times rehabbing and his knee may never be 100 percent, injuries will continue to be a concern in 2022. But set aside the season-long numbers or holistic rankings, he’s the best at performing when it matters most and we’d need to see a year of total flops for that title to change. —B.P.

11. Scottie Scheffler

Age: 25 / OWGR: 13 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 14

An impressive Sunday singles victory over Jon Rahm at the Ryder Cup built Scheffler more equity as he tries to grab what feels inevitable—a first win on the PGA Tour. But the longer it takes, the trickier it will be fending off questions of why it hasn’t happened yet. Let’s just remember, the guy is only 25 and he’s already had 17 top-10 finishes in just 57 starts. He had two top-five finishes in the fall despite not ranking in the top 50 in any major strokes-gained category. When his game gets in gear at some point this spring, it’s hard not to think the inevitable comes to pass. —R.H.

10. Sam Burns

Age: 25 / OWGR: 10 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 2

The former college POY at LSU in 2017 had a breakout year in 2021, winning his first two career titles and holding the lead after the most rounds of any player on tour. After starting the year 154th in the World Ranking, he finished 11th, the biggest jump of any player in the top 50. Burns leads the tour at the winter break in SG/tee-to-green after being ninth in SG/putting in 2020-21, showcasing the versatility within his game. Just missed making the U.S. Ryder Cup team, but we have to think he’s a likely candidate for Davis Love III’s Presidents Cup squad. —R.H.


Sam Greenwood

9. Dustin Johnson

Age: 37 / OWGR: 3 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 194

Spring 2021 was not kind to the 2020 Masters champ—DJ had just one top-10 finish from February through June. But the 24-time PGA Tour winner had top-10s in four of his final six starts of the season and then punctuated his 2021 with a flawless 5-0 performance at the Ryder Cup. If DJ wins this season (which we’d expect to happen), he’d have a victory in his first 15 seasons on tour. Only Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer boast a higher total (17). —S.H.

8. Bryson DeChambeau

Age: 28 / OWGR: 5 / ’22 FedEx Cup: NR

PIP metrics and trophies aside, he is arguably the tour’s top superstar (non-Tiger category) thanks to a swarm of curiosity and tumult that extends to a larger audience outside the golf corner of the world. He once again led the tour in driving distance and drama in 2021. His all-gas, no-brake focus on the tee ball has yielded resounding results in its first couple years. He led the tour in SG/off-the-tee again in 2021, and the difference between his average and second place was the same as second all the way to 18th. Given the offseason social-media videos replete with speed training, expect the same in 2022. —B.P.

7. Xander Schauffele

Age: 28 / OWGR: 5 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 112

The Olympic gold medal and a stellar first appearance in the Ryder Cup certainly defined a memorable season for Schauffle, but there’s more work to be done. Namely, to get that first major win to salve the sting of six top-fives in the Big Four. For the second straight appearance, Schauffele contended deep into Masters Sunday, but was beaten by a hotter player. In trying to win for the first time since early 2019, he had seconds in the CJ Cup, Farmers and Phoenix, and he contended (T-7) in his home major, the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, despite a short-lived switch to an arm-lock putting grip. Few players on tour can match Schauffele’s consistent all-around attack. In 2020-21, he was 41st in SG/off-tee, 14th in approach and 16th in putting. —T.L.


Ben Jared

6. Viktor Hovland

Age: 24 / OWGR: 7 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 5

With three wins—plus an OWGR-counting victory at the Hero World Challenge—before age 25, the young Norwegian has seemingly already delivered on all the promise he displayed in winning the 2018 U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach. The one area that continues to hold him back, though, is chipping, which he once claimed he “sucked” at. Should he continue to make slight improvements around the greens, his ceiling is second only to Collin Morikawa among the tour’s rising stars. Oddsmakers tend to agree, as Hovland is +550 to win a major in 2022 on the DraftKings Sportsbook. —C.P.

5. Rory McIlroy

Age: 32 / OWGR: 9 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 9

Since 2014, the dominant strain of discourse around McIlroy has been when or if he'll win another major, and it will continue to be so forever, if necessary. The story is the same—his putting just isn't good enough, and to win majors as a below-average putter, you need to be an approach genius like Collin Morikawa, which Rory is not. Still, he's now won twice on tour in the last year, including his October win at the CJ Cup, his putting is improving, and maybe—maybe—he's ready to take the leap again. —S.R.


Warren Little

4. Justin Thomas

Age: 28 / OWGR: 8 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 32

It was a strange 2021 for the American star, who found himself mired in controversy and in the first prolonged slump of his career. After losing his Ralph Lauren deal in January and winning the Players Championship in March, Thomas didn’t record another top 10 until the FedEx Cup Playoffs. But two top fives in those three events followed by another two at the Mayakoba and Hero indicate he’s got his game in better shape. And as we saw with his five-win campaign in 2016-2017, few are capable of going on bigger heaters. —A.M.

3. Patrick Cantlay

Age: 29 / OWGR: 4 / ’22 FedEx Cup: NR

After seeing his career derailed by a back injury for more than two years, Cantlay finally has assumed what many thought should be his rightful place among the elite of his age group by winning four times in the 2020-21 season, capturing the FedEx Cup and winning Player of the Year honors. He showed no real weaknesses in his game, ranking no worse than 30th in the key SG metrics and finishing third in SG/total. The only things left for the laconic California native is to add his name to the column of major winners and to rise to World No. 1, and who thinks he won’t eventually achieve those goals? —D.S.


Sam Greenwood

2. Collin Morikawa

Age: 24 / OWGR: 2 / ’22 FedEx Cup: 15

In the past year, he’s taken “The Leap” from great young player to perhaps the finest player on Earth. His record through 60 professional starts—six wins, two majors, 24 top 10s—has drawn some (unfair) Tiger comparisons; so has his habit of closing out tournaments with relentless, bogey-free rounds. Among a historically great group of 30 and younger Americans, he currently stands alone at the top. —D.R.

1. Jon Rahm

Age: 27 / OWGR: 1 / ’22 FedEx Cup: NR

The numbers are staggering. Fifteen top-10s versus one missed cut in 22 starts last season. Second in SG/off-the-tee, eighth in approach and first in SG/overall. First in birdie average AND bogey avoidance. Yet those numbers fail to illustrate the most impressive figure of all: the “1” that replaced “0” in Rahm’s major total, shedding the label of backdoor finisher by closing out the 2021 U.S. Open with vigor. Though Rahm technically had just one win to his name—if “just” can describe his breakthrough at Torrey Pines—he tied for the lowest score over four days at East Lake during the Tour Championship and held a six-stroke lead through 54 holes at the Memorial before a positive COVID-19 test knocked him out of the event, in the process solidifying his claim as the sport’s top dog. —J.B.


Donald Miralle