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5 key talking points from the 2020-21 PGA Tour

As the dust settles on the longest PGA TOUR Championship season in history, its time to check out who were the biggest success stories

By LLM Reporters  |  September 23, 2021
justin rose golf
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After a long, demanding 2020-21 PGA Tour season, which included a record-breaking, gruelling 50 tournaments, it’s fair to say that this season has been a slog for many golfers, and some have certainly reaped the rewards more than others.

However, it has finally reached its pinnacle, with the Tour Championship at East Lake concluding the season, before the Ryder Cup, which Team USA are heavily backed to win in the golf betting odds, provides a thrilling end to the year at Whistling Straits this weekend.

So, as we look ahead to the last remaining golf tournaments of the season, let’s take a look back at five talking points from the 2020-21 PGA Tour. Read on to find out more.

Hideki Matsuyama major victory – a first for a Japanese golfer

Going into this year’s Masters, with Augusta National back to its spring-time best after the 2020 renewal was held late last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, few would have expected Hideki Matsuyama to win the sought-after Green Jacket. But, after establishing a four-shot lead heading into the final round, it was the 29-year-old’s to lose, and whilst the chasing pack chipped away at his lead, he held on to beat American Will Zalatoris by a single stroke — becoming the first Japanese professional to win a major, and where better to break that duck than at Augusta?

Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson lifted the PGA Championship’s Wanamaker Trophy for the second time in his long career. Image credit: dleindec/

Phil Mickelson’s historic PGA Championship victory – one for the ages

Phil Mickelson may be one of the most successful male golfers of all time, but at the ripe old age of 50, not many punters would have backed him in the golf betting tips to rock up at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course and lift the PGA Championship’s Wanamaker Trophy for the second time in his long career. Not only was it Mickelson’s first major triumph since he won The Open’s Claret Jug at Muirfield Golf Links in Gullane in 2013, but he became the oldest ever player to win one of golf’s majors. Form is temporary, but class is permanent!

Jon Rahm finally gets his hands on a major title

It has been an unbelievable year for Jon Rahm. Twice the Spaniard tested positive for Covid-19, including when boasting a six-shot lead at The Memorial, whilst he also missed the Olympics golf tournament in Japan. His build-up to the Masters was significantly reduced due the birth of his first child, yet he still finished an impressive T5 at Augusta.

In the midst of the topsy-turvy season though, the 26-year-old shrugged off his ‘nearly man’ status and won the US Open, turning over Louis Oosthuizen’s one-shot lead with successive birdies on the 17th and 18th holes to win by a single stroke in a dramatic ending. It’s definitely been a year that Rahm will never forget, and a Ryder Cup victory would be the cherry on top.

Jon Rahm
Jon Rahm won this year’s US Open. Image credit:

Mickelson wasn’t the only ‘golden oldie’

Mickelson may have stolen the headlines with his USPGA victory, but he wasn’t the only ‘older’ player to have a good season this year, with Stewart Cink, Sergio García and Lee Westwood all kicking a new lease of life into their careers. 48-year-old Cink picked up two tour victories, whilst Spaniard García won the Sanderson Farms Championship.

Westwood came close with back-to-back second-place finishes at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and THE PLAYERS, and he’s now forced his way back in to the Team Europe fold after missing out on a place in 2018 – a big absentee after playing in 10 consecutive renewals of the tournament.

A tour victory for Rory McIlroy, but still no major win

Rory McIlroy’s fall from the top of the golfing world is well documented, and seven years on from his USPGA victory at Valhalla Gold Club, which was his fourth major triumph in three years, it’s somewhat hard to fathom that the Northern Irishman’s career has derailed in such a manner, and he is yet to add another major title to his CV.

It’s not for the want of trying though, the 32-year-old has played a lot of golf over the course of the last year, and his victory at the Wells Fargo Championship, his first title since 2019, was certainly one to savour. McIlroy’s best finish at this year’s majors was T7 at the US Open, and here’s hoping he can build on that next year.