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DP World Tour: Pieters can prove himself again in 2022

The 2022 season marks a watershed moment in the history of the European Tour, with the circuit having been rebranded as the DP World Tour from last month's Joburg Open onwards.

DP World, a Dubai-based brand already well known in the sport due to their continued association with the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, have lent their name to the Tour, providing a cash boost which will tempt the big names back across the Atlantic.

There are 46 tournaments scheduled for the 2022 DP World Tour season including the four Majors, two World Golf Championships and five money-spinning Rolex Series events, all of which can be followed on the bet365 Live Golf Tracker.

After Joburg, the DP World Tour restarts in January at the Abu Dhabi Championship. Below, we've detailed five players who could make a significant impact this season.

Thomas Pieters

The most identifiable name on this list, Thomas Pieters, is yet to fulfil his immense potential on the global stage but the big-hitting Belgian has offered hope that the best is yet to come with an excellent ending to the 2021 season.

Pieters, who famously scored four points from five matches to top score as a rookie at the 2016 Ryder Cup, had slipped to 131st in the Official World Golf Rankings in August 2021 before an excellent autumn campaign which featured six top-20 finishes from eight tournaments, including victory at the Portugal Masters.

Now back to 65th in the world, Pieters was ranked as high as 23rd in 2017 - the same year in which he produced his best Major finish when fourth behind Sergio Garcia at the Masters.

The Antwerp powerhouse, still only 29 and a five-time DP World Tour winner, will be looking to return to the world's top 50 before too long and will be aiming to work his way back into the Ryder Cup reckoning. There's still time for him to become a force in European golf and he is 150/1 to win the Race to Dubai.

Rasmus Hojgaard

Both Rasmus Hojgaard and twin brother Nicolai are worthy of a spot on any list of DP World Tour up-and-comers but it's Rasmus' three victories that has given him the edge over his sibling to this point in their careers.

The dangerous Dane made an immediate impact on the European Tour when he won the 2019 Mauritius Open and he's now a three-time champion, having claimed the 2020 UK Championship and the 2021 European Masters at two iconic venues - the Belfry and Crans-sur-Sierre.

While Hojgaard, 80/1 to win the Race to Dubai, didn't quite kick on in 2021, his Crans win offered a reminder of his immense talent and the next step for the 20-year-old will be to contend on a regular basis in bigger DP World Tour tournaments before he turns his attention to securing a PGA Tour card.

Hojgaard, part of a rising contingent of Danish players, will be looking to solidify his top-100 spot as he bids for more Major appearances.

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Matti Schmid

One of the most promising talents in the game, Matti Schmid followed in the footsteps of fellow German Martin Kaymer when he received the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award despite a handful of European Tour appearances.

Schmid did not turn professional until halfway through the 2021 campaign, retaining his amateur status long enough to compete in the Open, where he made the weekend and finished a respectable 59th behind Collin Morikawa.

A two-time European amateur champion who, like European stars Jon Rahm and Viktor Hovland, came through the US collegiate system, Schmid ended the year in fine form, finishing runner-up at the Dutch Open, ninth at the Dunhill Links and 11th in Mallorca.

His limited appearances were strong enough to see Schmid finish 114th on the Race to Dubai, earning him full 2022 DP World Tour status, and much more is expected as he embarks on a first full season on the circuit.

Marcus Helligkilde

Another Danish dude poised to make an impact, Marcus Helligkilde secured his 2022 DP World Tour playing rights courtesy of an electric run of form, which saw him capture three Challenge Tour titles in as many months.

The 25-year-old claimed titles at the Finnish and Swiss Challenge events before capping off a wonderful 2021 campaign at the lower level by winning the Challenge Tour Grand Final, finishing as top dog on the season-long Road to Mallorca points list.

Helligkilde had previously kicked off the year by winning the ECCO Spanish Masters on the Nordic Golf League and he's no stranger to being in contention, having chalked up three runners-up finishes on the Challenge Tour in addition to his victories.

The Dane will have to step up again on the DP World Tour but his brief appearances so far - 25th in front of a home crowd at Made in Himmerland and 12th in the Dutch Open - have been packed with promise.

Santiago Tarrio

Late-blooming Santiago Tarrio is the oldest player on this list at 31, but the Spaniard will be aiming to make up for lost time now he can tee it up with full DP World Tour playing rights.

Like Helligkilde, Tarrio is another Challenge Tour graduate who was a dominant force on the feeder circuit throughout the summer, winning events in the Czech Republic and his native Spain and chalking up form figures of 1-3-1-4-5-16-4-15-3-15-2 in 11 appearances from June to September.

That sublime run of results, which included a third-placed finish at the European Tour's Hero Open, saw Tarrio crack the world's top 100 and he goes into the 2022 season ranked 97th in the world.

Tarrio, a former Alps Tour player who was only 63rd on the 2019 Road to Mallorca, looks to have a solid all-round game which has been the secret to his rapid improvement. That should stand him in good stead as he embarks on a first full DP World Tour season.

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