The 2016 PGA Tour season came to a thrilling close on Sunday night when Rory McIlroy overcame Ryan Moore and Kevin Chappell in a tense playoff at the Tour Championship.
And as the sun sets over East Lake for another year, now is the perfect opportunity to reflect on how some of the tour’s top players performed this year. Here are my grades:
Rory McIlroy: A
The Northern Irishman may have had an indifferent start to the season, and been plagued by putting woes throughout, but when the time came he was more than up to the task.
A win at the Deutsche Bank Championship put to bed any doubts of Rory not qualifying for the season finale, and although he needed some help from Dustin Johnson on Sunday at East Lake, McIlroy’s first ever Fed Ex Cup win marks an excellent season – despite extending his major drought to two years.
Dustin Johnson: A
DJ won his first major championship at Oakmont in June (credit: AP)
Johnson will still be kicking himself for losing the Tour Championship after being in ideal position for most of the tournament. However, that still doesn’t lessen the South Carolinian’s achievements this season, which include a maiden major title at the U.S. Open, two other tournament wins, over $9million in tournament earnings and a career-high world ranking of second.
Jason Day: A
Day on his way to victory at the 2016 Players Championship (credit: Getty)
The Australian may have been forced to withdraw from the last two events of the season due to a back injury, but it has still been one of his most successful seasons on tour.
Day recorded top-10 finishes in three out of the four majors, as well as winning three prestigious events – The Players Championship, Arnold Palmer Invitational and WGC-Dell Match Play. In addition, he has maintained his position at the top of the world rankings for 26 weeks and counting.
Jordan Spieth: B
Spieth distraught after throwing away a big lead at the Masters (credit: Getty)
It was always going to be difficult for Spieth to live up to a 2015 that included two major titles and a Fed Ex Cup. Unfortunately for Jordan, despite two tour wins in 2016, most people will remember it for his Masters meltdown – where he threw away a five-shot lead with nine holes to play. The tournament was won by England’s Danny Willett.
Adam Scott: B
Adam Scott during the final round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship in March (Credit: Getty)
Scott had a roaring start to the 2015/2016 season with two wins and two runner-up finishes in his first seven events. The 13-time PGA Tour winner struggled throughout the summer though, especially with the putter, and his best performance in a major was T-18th. However, four consecutive top-10’s in the Fed Ex Cup playoffs saw the Aussie recapture some of his best form and complete a more than satisfactory year.
Bubba Watson: C
Watson at the 2016 Northern Trust Open (credit: USA Today Sports)
Bubba won early in the season at the Northern Trust Open in February, and backed it up with a second at the WGC-Cadillac his next outing. Despite this, he could only manage two top-10’s in his next 14 PGA Tour starts, and finished outside the top-35 in all four majors. This disappointing record culminated in Watson missing out on selection for the Ryder Cup.
Rickie Fowler: C-
Fowler at the 2016 U.S. Open, where he missed the cut (credit: Getty)
Five of Fowler’s eight top-10 finishes on Tour this season were in his first ten starts, after which he struggled – missing cuts in two of the four majors. The 2015 Players champion looked like getting his season back on track when he led after 54 holes at the Barclays, but dropped to T-7th with a final round 74 and missed the Tour Championship by one spot. Even with a below-par season by his standards, Rickie received a Ryder Cup wildcard pick from Davis Love III.