What We Learned from the 2023 PGA Season

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We’re heading towards the end of the year now so what better way to finish by taking a look at what we learned from the 2023 PGA season. We saw plenty of highs, from Jon Rahm’s incredible form at the beginning of the year, huge underdog winners in the majors, to Viktor Hovland winning the FedEx Cup. 

There was controversy in abundance, too, with LIV Golf causing plenty of issues for the PGA Tour. The merger was announced back in June and I am sure we will see a lot of impacts that it will have on golf in 2024 and the years to come. 

The 2024 PGA Tour kicks off in January as it returns to its calendar-based format. January 7th sees the regular season start with The Sentry from Hawaii. Sports Hub will continue to provide you with coverage across the new season. However, first things first, let’s end the year by looking back at the 2023 PGA season. 

Highlights of the 2023 PGA Season 

We’ll kick things off with our highlights of the 2023 PGA season by looking at Viktor Hovland’s triumph in the FedEx Cup. He was able to win the FedEx Cup playoffs after being crowned victor in the final two playoff events. The Norwegian won the BMW Championship and the Tour Championship in order to secure the title and become the champion. 

It truly was a magnificent year for Hovland as he showcased his world-class ability to the golfing world. The 26-year-old won the BMW Championship by two strokes and the Tour Championship by five strokes, even though he started two shots behind Scottie Scheffler in the final playoff event of the season. That proves just how good Hovland was when it mattered most. The epitome of clutch. 

At such a young age, Hovland has a big and bright future ahead of him. Of course, he will be the major contender to watch throughout the 2024 season. It’s likely we’ll be seeing him win a few more titles next year. 

2023 PGA Season – Major Champions

The majors are, of course, the main highlights during the golfing calendar. Rahm had an outrageous opening to 2023 and was on fire to start the year. The Spaniard won the Sentry Tournament of Champions, The American Express and Genesis Invitational all before March. He then capped that off by winning the Masters in April. Rahm would fail to win any tournaments after that, but we simply can’t forget about his blistering form at the beginning of the 2023 PGA season. 

Brooks Koepka became the first LIV golfer to win a major tournament on the PGA Tour when he won the PGA Championship in New York. He was able to beat Hovland and Scottie Scheffler by two strokes in order to lift his fifth major title. I guess this is a slightly more controversial contender for a highlight. I’m sure many golf fans who do not support LIV Golf will not see Koepka’s win as a highlight for the 2023 PGA season. 

However, what should definitely been seen as highlights of the campaign is the underdog triumphs in the U.S. Open and the Open Championship. Wyndham Clark and Brian Harman won the two tournaments respectively to secure their first-ever major wins. 

It was a breakout year for Clark who was able to secure his first win on the PGA Tour just a month earlier after winning the Wells Fargo Championship. Nevertheless, it will be his victory in the U.S. Open that will be remembered most. He defeated 2011 champion Rory McIlroy by just one stroke. 

Harman was also a huge underdog heading into the Open Championship as he secured his maiden major title. He ended up dominating the tournament held in Liverpool, UK, winning by six strokes ahead of Jason Day, Tom Kim, Jon Rahm and Sepp Straka. 

Comeback Year

There were a couple of golfers during the 2023 PGA season that fought back from disappointing years in the past. 2021 was a down year for Rickie Fowler as he missed the cut at the Players Championship and the Masters. He also missed the cut in a number of smaller tournaments across the PGA Tour that year and would play in just one major tournament in 2022. 

However, 2023 saw him make his comeback. He won the Rocket Mortgage Classic in July in order to secure his first triumph on the PGA Tour since 2019. It was a playoff victory as well, with Fowler defeating Collin Morikawa and Adam Hadwin to win the tournament. He has been fairly average since the win but, clearly, Fowler can still compete amongst the best. 

Lowlights of the 2023 PGA Season

Golf fans were able to experience plenty of highlights during the 2023 PGA season. However, there were also some lowlights. Not everybody can come out on top. 

It was a big down year for two-time PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas who failed to reach the FedEx Cup playoffs. He also missed the cut in three out of four majors and clearly was not in good form last season. Nevertheless, JT has bounced back during the FedEx Cup Fall Series and could be on track for a bounce back year in 2024. 

Tiger Woods struggled with more injury issues in 2023 and had to withdraw from the Masters due to an ankle injury. He underwent surgery two weeks after which kept him out of action until the Hero World Challenge at the beginning of December. Nevertheless, the legend is back and is set to compete yet again next year. Could he win on the PGA Tour in 2024? 

Golfers to Look Out For in 2024

What did we learn from the 2023 PGA season? Well, Hovland is the golfer to beat next year and he will almost certainly be the favorite for the majority of tournaments. However, we also learned that underdogs will always have a chance at success.

Plus, success is never guaranteed on the PGA Tour. The best can struggle and have down years, but there is always room for a comeback. That’s exactly why we love golf. 

Next up, we take a look at which golfers to look out for in 2024. There are a number of new contenders who impressed during the 2023 PGA season. Could any of these guys find success next year? 

Sports Hub will continue with its coverage across the 2024 PGA season. That includes sports betting picks from all of the popular golf betting markets. Previews, predictions and tips for all of the key events can be found here with us so make sure you are tracking our content and handicappers in 2024! Let’s take a look at the top golfers to look out for next year. 

Ludvig Aberg

The young Swede has impressed throughout 2023 and that has ensured his status on the PGA Tour for 2024. After turning professional in June 2023, Aberg has done nothing but excite golf fans after his displays on the PGA Tour. 

He finished T25 at the 2023 RBC Canadian Open before finishing T4 at the John Deere Classic. Aberg also shone at the 2023 Ryder Cup, aiding Team Europe in their victory. He capped off a magnificent year by winning the RSM Classic – his first victory on the PGA Tour. 

After securing his invitation to the 2024 Masters, Aberg will be hoping to show to the rest of the world his talent when he competes in his first major. He is definitely one to watch for next season. 

Nicolai Hojgaard

Another Scandinavian golfer who impressed during the 2023 PGA season, Nicolai Hojgaard will be expected to impress again in 2024. Despite turning professional in 2019, the Dane is just 22-years-old. 

He is yet to win on the PGA Tour, but has had success on the European Tour, winning the 2023 DP World Tour Championship in November. He was able to beat Matt Wallace and Hovland by two strokes, proving his ability to compete with top players. 

Like Aberg, Hojgaard helped Europe to win the 2023 Ryder Cup and he will be another man to watch next season. He will be looking to better his best ever major finish – T23 at the 2023 Open Championship. 

Akshay Bhatia 

There are a host of top golfers that will be hitting the scene next year. However, the final golfer I will be looking out for is 21-year-old Akshay Bhatia. He earned his first victory on the PGA Tour back in July as he won the Barracuda Championship. He had to do so via a playoff, too, beating Patrick Rodgers. 

Bhatia was extremely solid across the FedEx Cup Fall Series and will be looking to carry that momentum into the 2024 PGA season. His best ever major finish is T57 at the 2021 U.S. Open and so he will be looking for improved performances on the big stage next year. 

LIV Golf

Everyone across the world of sport would have heard about LIV Golf this year. Even more golfers are set to join the LIV Golf league next year which gets underway in February of 2024. Jon Rahm is the biggest name set to join of late after it was confirmed earlier this month. 

Whether you like it or not, LIV Golf is here to stay and its prominence across the world of golf is set to be even bigger in the next few years. The PGA Tour is also soon to agree to a $3 billion investment package with a host of billionaire US sports team owners. 

The deal would complement a separate deal with Public Invest Fund (PIF) – the Saudi Arabian government. The deadline for the completion of the merger between PGA Tour and LIV Golf is December 31st, but that could be extended if needed. It was first announced back in June that the PGA Tour, European Tour and LIV Golf would merge. 

The new investment package will be between the PGA Tour and owners of the Boston Red Sox, Atlanta Falcons and Boston Celtics, known as Strategic Sports Group (SSG). It will welcome investments from PIF as the PGA Tour, European Tour and LIV Golf attempt to complete their merger. PIF also appears to be comfortable with the SSG investment as they would become minority owners alongside SSG, with the PGA Tour retaining control.