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Five things we learned this PGA Tour season

Norway’s Viktor Hovland claimed the $18million first prize when he won the FedEx Cup in August to end another thrilling season of action on the PGA Tour.

Here are five things we learned from the memorable 2022-23 campaign.

Scheffler’s great season not a one-off

There were plenty of people who thought Scottie Scheffler might not stay at the top of the tour after he catapulted up the world rankings at the start of 2022, but they were proved wrong.

If anything, the Texan got even better.

He won four early tournaments in 2022 - including the Masters - and he started 2023 impressively too, successfully defending his title at the Phoenix Open and then adding the Players Championship to his resumé.

Scheffler’s consistency was phenomenal, as he posted nine top-five finishes in his next 12 regular-season tournaments and his statistics were even more impressive.

No player gained more strokes off the tee, on approach and from tee to green, and if he could sort his putting out, he would be almost unbeatable.

It seems hard to believe that he still has just six titles to his name, but that looks sure to grow substantially in 2024 and beyond, with a second Masters title next year priced at +900.

Major glory not far away for Hovland

This was the year when Viktor Hovland showed what a class operator he is.

The Norwegian won the Memorial Tournament, which always attracts a strong field, when he beat Denny McCarthy in a playoff and then ended the campaign in steaming fashion.

He carded a closing 61 to win the BMW Championship, before claiming the biggest cheque at the Tour Championship.

The next step for the FedEx Cup winner is to claim his first Major and he is +250 to win one in 2024.

He claimed top-20 finishes in all four of the biggest competitions this year, including seventh spot at Augusta, while he found only Brooks Koepka too good for him at the PGA Championship.

Hovland is expected to have a huge role to play in the European Ryder Cup challenge and there is every chance that could be the start of a very memorable 12 months when he joins the game’s elite.

PGA Tour glory on horizon for Fleetwood

It seems difficult to comprehend how England’s Tommy Fleetwood has yet to claim a PGA Tour title, but that wait can surely not go on for much longer.

Fleetwood demonstrated in 2023 that he deserves to be considered among the world’s best players and has had seven top-ten finishes since the turn of the year.

The closest he came to breaking his duck was a playoff defeat to local favourite Nick Taylor at the Canadian Open, but he was still tied for sixth in the final FedEx Cup standings and was the ninth best tee-to-green player on Tour.

Fifth in the US Open was his best Major performance, but maybe he will follow the example of his fellow countryman, 2022 US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick, and claim his first Stateside win in America.

He proved in 2023 that he is definitely good enough to do so and is +750 to win a Major during 2024.

Old guard still fighting for titles

A couple of players who could no longer describe themselves as up and coming made strong comebacks in 2023 and they can build on those performances in the new season.

Keegan Bradley won the Zozo Championship early in the season and went on to good things after breaking his four-year title drought, including winning the Travelers Championship.

Rickie Fowler also bounced back.

He had fallen to 173rd in the world rankings by the end of the 2021-22 campaign, but he got back into the swing of things with a couple of decent performances at the Zozo and the Fortinet Championship in the autumn.

Spring saw him become a top-20 regular and his consistency was finally rewarded with a win at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in July.

He did enough to earn a spot in the Ryder Cup team, which seemed highly unlikely 12 months ago, and he is now +650 to win his first Major in 2024.

New generation of Europeans make their mark

While Hovland and Rory McIlroy spearheaded the European challenge on the PGA Tour this year, there were a few more kids on the block who look set to continue making their mark.

Belgium’s Thomas Detry made his first nine cuts as a rookie and was runner-up at the Bermuda Championship, while Sweden’s Vincent Normann got into the winner’s circle with victory at the Barbasol Championship.

Ludvig Aberg grabbed all the headlines after turning professional in June and taking fourth spot at the John Deere Classic.

He earned a European Ryder Cup call-up after some strong performances back in Europe and it should not be forgotten that Austrian Sepp Straka won the John Deere.

The future is definitely bright for a new breed of European talent and Aberg is +1000 to claim a Major title in 2024.

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