Keep an eye on these men’s pro golfers in 2024

Keep an eye on these men’s pro golfers in 2024
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There will be several outlets, including this one, that will attempt to predict what’s going to happen next year in professional golf. Most everyone will be wrong (raising hand), and those who aren’t, well, they just got lucky.

But what’s the fun in turning the calendar without making a few projections? So, let’s give this another try after going 3-9 in this exercise a year ago.

Who will win their first major, their first PGA Tour title and more:

ST SIMONS ISLAND, GEORGIA – NOVEMBER 19: Ludvig Aberg of Sweden reacts to winning The RSM Classic on the Seaside Course at Sea Island Resort on November 19, 2023 in St Simons Island, Georgia. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Watch them win their first major

Viktor Hovland: Second times a charm. I went with Hovland in this category a year ago, and he came close, cracking the top 20 in each of the four majors, including a T-2 at the PGA at Oak Hill. His play around the greens improved greatly (No. 191 strokes gained in 2021-22 to No. 86 last season). All that’s left is for a bounce or two to go his way on Sunday afternoon.

Xander Schauffele: Another player who should have one of these by now. Now 30 years old, Schauffele enters 2024 with 11 top-10s in majors, including two last season when, like Hovland, he didn’t finish outside the top 20. He got off to a scorching start at LACC with an opening 62, though he couldn’t get anything going after that, slipping to T-10, which was still his sixth career U.S. Open top-10 in seven tries. Pinehurst is already calling his name.

Ludvig Åberg: The Swedish star will be playing in his first majors next year, so it may be a bit premature to already list him here considering his lack of experience. But as Åberg has shown us time and again, he’s a trailblazer. It would not shock me in the least to see him win the U.S. Open or the PGA, where his driver will be a major separator.

2023 predictions: 0-3 (Viktor Hovland, Sungjae Im, Will Zalatoris)

Hero World Challenge - Round Three

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – DECEMBER 02: Cameron Young of The United States plays his second shot on the 18th hole during the third round of the Hero World Challenge at Albany Golf Course on December 02, 2023 in Nassau, . (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Watch them win their first PGA Tour event

Cameron Young: Last season wasn’t the encore Young or anyone expected after the Wake Forest product won PGA Tour Rookie of the Year the previous season on the backs of a slew of runner-up showings. He made the final of the WGC-Dell Match Play and notched top-8s at the Masters and Open Championship, but he never really was in conversation on Sunday, and he was ultimately left off the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Young is too talented to be denied again, and I’m banking on that Ryder snub motivating Young to grab a win and a Presidents Cup ticket in 2024.

Min Woo Lee: Speaking of Presidents Cup, International captain Mike Weir has another superstar-in-the-making in Lee. The flashy Aussie, who can both split the fairway with mammoth drives and get red-hot on the greens, enters the new year No. 33 in the world rankings after a 2023 in which he won twice and totaled seven other worldwide top-10s. He should keep his world ranking good enough to get into all the signature events, and if his approach play improves, he has the talent to be a top-10 player in the world by the end of 2024.

Eric Cole: This is a volume play. The 35-year-old Cole, who should win PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, played 40 times last season with two runners-up among his seven top-10s. The former mini-tour legend knows how to win, he just hasn’t done it yet on the big tour. Assuming he gives himself several chances again next year, it’s very possible that Cole picks off a non-signature event or two when most of the other elite Tour pros are resting.

2023 predictions: 2-1 (Taylor Montgomery, Davis Riley, Sahith Theegala)

The RSM Classic - Round Two

ST SIMONS ISLAND, GEORGIA – NOVEMBER 17: Justin Suh of the United States hits a tee shot on the 14th hole during the second round of The RSM Classic on the Seaside Course at Sea Island Resort on November 17, 2023 in St Simons Island, Georgia. (Photo by Alex Slitz/Getty Images)

Watch them crack the OWGR’s top 50

Justin Suh (currently No. 69): It took the Korn Ferry Tour Player of the Year a while to get going as a PGA Tour rookie. He missed his first three cuts and didn’t crack the top 20 until the Farmers in January. But he posted top-6s at Honda and The Players, and though he didn’t notch another top-10 until the fall, he was around for most weekends, only missing two cuts in 2023. He’s not guaranteed all the signature events in 2024, but he’s got as good a chance as anyone to play his way into both the world and FedEx top-50s by the end of next year.

Ryo Hisatsune (currently No. 76): The 21-year-old won the French Open this past season on the DP World Tour and was a top-20 machine to earn his PGA Tour card. We’ll see how he does playing the PGA Tour, but it won’t be shocking to see Hisatsune in Montreal next fall.

Alejandro Tosti (currently No. 106): The passionate Argentine can do things with the golf ball that most can’t, and if he can keep his emotions in check, Tosti will prove a lot of people wrong this year. He might not win, but he’s going to be on that first page of the leaderboard a lot – and will probably lead the Tour in strokes gained: expletives, but who cares! Mark it down.

2023 predictions: 0-3 (Thomas Detry, Will Gordon, Alex Smalley)

GOLF: JUN 25 PGA - Travelers Championship

CROMWELL, CT – JUNE 25: Nick Hardy tees off at the first hole during the 3rd round of the Travelers Championship on June 25, 2022 at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell Connecticut. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Watch them crack the OWGR’s top 100

Nick Hardy (currently No. 150): It was refreshing to see Hardy find some consistency this year after starting 2023 with five MCs in his first eight starts. He teamed up with Davis Riley to win Zurich and closed his PGA Tour season by making 11 of his last 12 cuts. He’s in the first three signature events, so he’s got early opportunity to nab some points. He’s a way better driver of the ball than No. 80 in strokes gained: off-the-tee, too, so if he is a top-50 driver, he’s easily jumping into the top 100 in the world. He just needs to stay healthy.

Jacob Bridgeman (currently No. 198): One of the 30 KFT grads, Bridgeman has a wicked short game and doesn’t even need to use it much (No. 15 in GIR on KFT last season). He’s one of the best all-around players that almost no one knows much about. He’s going to collect a bunch of top-25s next year.

Casey Jarvis (currently No. 288): The 20-year-old South African was the Sunshine Tour Rookie of the Year two years ago, and this past season he won on the Challenge Tour while also firing a 59 in a Sunshine event. He’s now on the DP World Tour full-time and poised to keep piling up the impressive performances – perhaps enough to warrant some Presidents Cup consideration.

2023 predictions: 1-2 (Chris Gotterup, Davis Thompson, Kevin Yu)

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