2019 PGA Tour Report Cards: Grading the seasons of the biggest stars in the game
The PGA Tour season has drawn to a close just as the school year is ramping up. Coincidence? We think not. It’s time for GOLF.com to issue our 2019 report card for 11 big names in the game.
Tiger Woods: A
In the words of Chumbawamba, Woods got knocked down but he got up again to produce a one-hit-wonder of a season unlike any the game had ever seen. That his epic Masters win was followed by a stretch of desultory play (and yet another knee surgery) is beside the point. His was a comeback for the ages, culminating in a mic-drop moment—an encore of encores, delivered on golf’s grandest stage.
Matt Kuchar: C+
To err his human. To deny it is lame. Such was the public sentiment surrounding Kuchar, who stingy-tipped his fill-in caddie after winning the Mayakoba Classic and then spent days insisting that everything was swell. When the blowback showed no sign of slowing, Kuchar delivered a belated mea culpa that only went so far in damage-control. Sport fans’ memories are famously short, but Kuchar’s 2019 season will be remembered as the year he won more than $6 million and lost something else.
Dustin Johnson B-
A season that got rolling with a first-place finish in Mexico ended with a first-world problem at East Lake, where DJ came in tied for last, earned a paltry $405,000 for his troubles and revealed that he was feeling mentally “worn out.”
Rory McIlroy: B
A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside one of golf’s most transcendent natural talents, McIlroy was especially hard to figure out this past year. Who was the real Rory? The bouncy-stepped stud who reeled off three wins, including the Players and the Tour Championship, or the deflated star who missed the weekend when the British Open returned to his native Northern Ireland? Perplexingly, it seemed that he was both.
Jordan Spieth: B+
Spieith hasn’t won a tournament since 2017, when he captured his third major at the age of 24. But this year, he pulled off something almost as impressive: he played the game with purpose, poise and persistence, even with gremlins dancing in his head.
Phil Mickelson: B
Based on recent shirtless sightings on social media, Mickelson has been busy getting ripped. Which is nice, since after his win at Pebble Beach, he spent much of his season getting cut.
Brooks Koepka: A
To cap off a 2019 campaign in which he went T2, 1, 2, T4 in the majors, Koepka posed nude in a national magazine. If not for his stumble down the stretch of the Tour Championship, a cry might have gone up to have his naked frame cut open to see if he was made of nuts and bolts.
Sergio Garcia: D-
If golf apparel-makers ever embrace baby-wear, they might release a line of commemorative diapers in honor of Garcia’s 2019 season. Over the course of a winless year, the Spaniard appeared to be aging backwards, a Benjamin Button-like regression that was low-lighted by a club-throwing fit at the British Open and a bunker-trashing tantrum in Saudi Arabia that called to mind a toddler going bonkers in the sand.
Bryson DeChambeau: B
In a 2019 season that featured one win, five top-10 finishes and more than $3 million in earnings, the former physics major proved beyond scientific doubt that his lab-built swing is ready for the game’s biggest moments. Too bad he also demonstrated Einstein’s special theory of relativety, which holds that time grinds to a halt when a nerd in a knit cap takes too long to putt.
Matt Wolff: A
Never mind the Rube Goldberg mechanics, one of many remarkable aspects of Wolff’s game. Let’s talk about the mental toughness required to win on Tour at age 20, only three tries after turning pro.
Max Homa: A
His breakout win at the Wells Fargo Championship brought to our attention another young talent. But the real revelation was his Twitter feed, a quirky compilation of Seinfeld-ian observations that have established Homa as the Tour’s most refreshing social media presence this side of Eddie Pepperell.
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