Tiger Woods A- (1 Win, Masters. 4 top-10’s. FedEx Cup rank 42.) My grade for Tiger is high simply because the Masters was an incredible moment I will never forget. But Tiger’s season simply fizzled out after Augusta. Me missed the cut at the PGA and the British Open, with his best finish after April being his T-9 at the Memorial. His health wasn’t 100% and we now know that it will be hit-or-miss for the rest of his career. Talk about a comedown from an ultimate high.
Brooks Koepka A (3 Wins, PGA Championship, WGC St. Jude, CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges. 9 top-10’s. FedEx Cup rank 3.) Brooks was so close to becoming the first player ever to win 3 straight US Opens with a runner-up at Pebble. But he did get his 4th major with a wire-to-wire win at the PGA. Oh by the way, he also finished T2 at the Masters and T4 at the Open. To say he performs his best in the big events is an understatement. If he would have won the FedEx Cup, he would have been the only player on this list with an A+.
Rory McIlroy A- (3 Wins, The Players, Canadian Open, Tour Championship. FedEx Cup Champion. 14 top-10’s.) Player of the year candidate with Koepka. Incredibly consistent year but had some surprises. He missed the cut at Jack’s place then won the next week in Canada with a Sunday 61. Missing the cut at the Open in his hometown on his home-course was disappointing and keeps him from an A+ and potential POTY award. He’s also in the bottom 3rd on tour from 100 yards and in. He’ll need to sharpen up those wedges if he wants to win a green jacket any time soon.
Jordan Spieth D+ (0 Wins. 4 top-10’s. FedEx Cup rank 44) Jordan missed the Tour Championship for the 2nd season in a row, proving he’s quite far from the player he was in 2015 and 2016. His best round of the season was arguably his 2nd round 66 at the PGA helping him finish tied for 3rd. But his errant driver still leads him astray and his short putting is still a big question mark. His unorthodox swing and “chicken-wing” obviously works when it’s on; there’s 11 career wins and 3 majors that say so. But when he’s off, it obviously gives him fits. But his grit, determination, and attitude keep him a top-50 player in the world.
Phil Mickelson C- ( 1 Win, AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-am. 2 top -10’s. FedEx Cup rank 47.) Phil’s win at Pebble seemed like eons ago as the season went on. But there are courses for horses and the Monterrey Peninsula feels like a place Lefty will always play well at. He missed 8 cuts in 19 events played, including The Players and The Open Championship. Phil is on the backend of his career, and this is fine. He has spoiled and entertained us for years, but he performed horribly in the big events. I am totally looking forward to the teams he’ll be captaining for the US Ryder and Presidents’ Cup. Should be a lot of fun.
Dustin Johnson B (1 Win, WGC Mexico Championship. 7 top-10’s. FedEx Cup rank 29.)A solid year by DJ, and that gets you a solid grade. Still only one major to his credit; but he has to win more, right? Well he gave himself chances with runner-ups at The Masters and The PGA. But that’s what DJ always does; gives himself a chance in the big events.
Matt Kuchar A- (2 Wins, Sony Open in Hawaii, Mayakoba Classic. 8 top-10’s. FedEx Cup rank 16.) Caddygate aside, it was another fine consistent year for the human ATM machine. Kuch made over $6 million and finished top-16 in 4 of the 4 majors. It’s extremely difficult to win on the PGA Tour, so 2 victories get you an A.
Bubba Watson F (0 Wins. 3 top-10’s. FedEx Cup rank 81) Bubba rode the struggle-bus in 2019 after a 3-win 2018 season. Just 3 top10’s at Valspar, Phoenix, and St. Jude, and only $1.5 mil in earnings. Bubba was 120th in strokes gained approaches to the green, 124th in strokes gained around the green, and 167th in stroked gained putting. He is too good of a ball striker and too talented to not clean up the irons and wedges and bounce back with a better 2020 campaign. I know missing Tiger’s President’s Cup team stings him as well.
Justin Thomas B+ (1 Win, BMW Championship. 7 top-10’s. FedEx Cup rank 3) After battling a wrist injury early in the summer, JT scorched Medinah and won the BMW playoff event with rounds of 65-69-61-68. His Saturday 61 broke the course record that was set by Matsuyama the day before. He didn’t play in the PGA due to the wrist, and missed the cut at the US Open. But JT did finish T12 at Augusta and T11 at The Open. He was in the drivers’ seat heading to East Lake for the Tour Championship and was set to win his second FedEx Cup, but a solid week left him tied for 3rd and Rory waved as he passed.
Rickie Fowler B+ (1 Win, Waste Management Phoenix Open. 6 top-10’s. FedEx Cup rank 19) A nice season as usual for Rickie, as he finally won at a place he has come close many times; Scottsdale. He won just shy of $4 million and had top-10’s at The Masters and The Open. Fowler still unfortunately carries the burdened moniker of “best player without a major.” But he’s now 30 years old and entering the prime of his career.
Gary Woodland A- (1 Win, U.S. Open. 8 top-10’s. FedEx Cup rank 15) Woodland enjoyed his finest year on tour and won his first major at Pebble Beach. He did fizzle out a bit after that win, missing the cut in his next 2 starts, including The Open. But when you win a major, and have 8 top 10 finishes, you get an A. No doubt.
Enjoy the game and each other,
Written by Seth Zipay, Head Golf Professional
Published by Craig Walton