Hey, 2022. You’re up. Good luck.

The big task of every new year is to top the year before, and it’s a tough road for 2022. Maybe like an uphill par 4.

Golf in 2021 brought us these, among other marvels:

  • The United States was solid gold at the Olympics, with Americans Xander Schauffele and Nelly Korda returning home as Olympic champions.
  • The Ryder Cup was an American stampede, and the U.S. victory was so vivid that it made friends, at least temporarily, of Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka. Remarkable.
  • Hideki Matsuyama won the Masters on an emotional final day, his caddie capping the victory by bowing to the course.
  • Phil Mickelson took time off from dominating television golf to dominate the PGA Championship, scoring an unlikely victory at the age of 50.
  • Jon Rahm made long-range putting look easy at the U.S. Open, dropping in a pair of tough ones in the closing holes to become the first Spaniard to claim the Open.
  • Greg Norman, the sport’s new mystery man, stood front and center of the movement to create a tour to compete with the PGA.
  • Tiger Woods returned to the game after recovery from horrific injuries, hitting crisp shots, and almost winning the PNC Championship with son Charlie, a 12-year-old whose future seems boundless.
  • Nelly Korda zoomed to the top of the women’s game, scoring her first major in the Women’s PGA Championship, winning Olympic gold, posting three other tournament victories, and climbing to the world No. 1 ranking.


There you go, 2022. Now, what have you got?

As new years go, you have loads of potential.

First, there’s the question that will be on the minds of many as the season heats up: Whither Tiger? 

He showed at the PNC that he still can play the game at a high level, but it also was evident that his badly injured right leg will continue to impact his strength and endurance. He used a golf cart during the PNC; walking four rounds (plus probable practice rounds) in one week will test his ability to hit Tiger-like shots while negotiating the ups and downs of hilly courses. Will he try the Masters, or maybe wait until the Open, a major with a flatter course (St. Andrews Old Course)? It seems unlikely that he will return to anything like a full-tour schedule, but the majors will be calling.

Stay tuned.

The new year also will put a bit of pressure on names like Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, and the aforementioned Koepka and DeChambeau. The one thing they had in common in 2021 is that none won a major. 2022 offers redemption.

Some of 2022’s big news is likely to happen off the course as Norman and the Saudis push forward, millions of dollars in tow, in their attempt to change the very face of professional golf. Money talks, but how loud will it be? Will any of golf’s big names risk the comfort of the PGA Tour to follow the Saudi carrot?

Will Korda, whose play in major moments in 2021 was stellar, continue up the ladder that could make her a force for years to come? And will Lexi Thompson end her puzzling winless string?


You’re up, 2022. Give us a good one.

Mike Hembree

Mike Hembree is a veteran journalist who has covered a variety of sports for numerous publications and websites, including USA Today, Fox Sports, TV Guide and The Greenville (S.C.) News. He has written 14 books and has won numerous writing awards at the national, regional and state levels. He is a seven-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.