Everyone (or almost everyone) knows Matthew Wolffs, Scottie Scheffler’s, and Collin Morikawa’s of the world. These 20-somethings can be difficult to miss after they burned through the PGA Tour world in 2019 and 2020, setting themselves up for what should be a really intriguing 2021 in which they’ll now not be the plucky upstarts but rather the heavyweight favorites at the biggest events in the world.
Nevertheless, as 2021 creeps upon us, we should look past the obvious young studs at some lesser-known names that would make noise next year and past. A few of these golfers have already discovered success on the PGA Tour level, while others are barely execs. Not all of them will become stars, but they are names that solely the most hardcore golf followers will know that you should become familiar with before they hit the mainstream.
We’ll begin with the most obvious one — somebody who earned temporary PGA Tour membership within the fall while we have been all paying attention to the NBA playoffs and the heart of the NFL season.
1. Will Zalatoris
From Sept. 1 to the tip of 2020, Zalatoris was better than Scheffler, Wolff,, and Morikawa, not to point out also Daniel Berger, Sungjae I’m, Tommy Fleetwood, Adam Scott,, and Lee Westwood. Data Golf has him ranked as the 30th-best player in the world, and you’ve got most likely barely ever heard his title — in case you’ve heard it in any respect. He is almost certainly next in line to leap from main the Korn Ferry Tour (the place he started 2020) to becoming PGA Tour Rookie of the Yr in 2021.
2. Brandon Wu
The former Stanford stud finished the year with 4 prime 10s in his final seven occasions, together with a win on the Korn Ferry Tour. He went from No. 862 on the planet to No. 164 (and Data Golf has him even increased). He famously skipped commencement as a result of he made the minimize on the 2019 U.S. Open. Issues appeared to click into place for him on the finish of his first 12 months as a pro, and I would not be surprised if he made a Zalatoris-like leap in 2021.
3. Taylor Pendrith
Averaged 322 yards off the tee on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2020, which is fairly loopy and also the most important ability in skilled golf proper now. At age 29, he is the oldest participant on this listing, but his profession has been an intriguing series of ups and downs that have included myriad injuries. He completed runner-up 4 times on the KFT after golf restarted in June.
4. Austin Eckroat
Let’s talk about how Oklahoma State had Wolff, Hovland, and Eckroat (as well as world No. 176 on the identical staff). They went 183-6-1 and won the national championship on their residence course. Now, Eckroat is looking to be a part of his former teammates on the PGA Tour. He just lately finished T12 on the Mayakoba Golf Basic and is ranked No. 3 on the PGA Tour University Rankings. He is a little older than I might usually choose for any person coming out of faculty, but a few of that was unavoidable due to the pandemic. He ought to thrive immediately in the skilled ranks.
5. Kevin Yu
Solely Jon Rahm had a better scoring average as a freshman at Arizona State than Yu again when he was a freshman in 2017. Now a senior, Yu is the No. 1-ranked novice on the planet, according to Data Golf. The pandemic has additionally worked a bit in his favor as he now has a pretty strong path forward to getting his card on the Korn Ferry Tour.
6. Rasmus Hojgaard
The 19-year-old has already won twice on the European Tour and is into the highest 100 in the OWGR. Once more, he is 19. He also has a twin brother who plays professionally, and their dream is to someday play in the Ryder Cup together.
7. Justin Suh
Remember him? The fourth member of the Hovland-Wolff-Morikawa press conference on the Travelers Championship in 2019 has taken a bit longer to develop as a pro, but he came on sturdy at the end of the 12 months with a pair of top-15 finishes on the PGA Tour that bumped him to inside the top 500 in the OWGR. His pedigree is undeniable, and when in doubt in golf, you should always guess on pedigrees. He performed like a top-100 player in the world for most of his college career, and whereas turning pro can often break you down a bit, he is poised for a big 2021.
8. Davis Thompson
Former Georgia Bulldog Keith Mitchell recently mentioned Thompson on the “No Laying Up” podcast as somebody who is a professional golfer currently playing novice golf. He became the No. 1-ranked novice on the planet in November shortly after contending (and briefly main) in Spherical 1 of the U.S. Open at Winged Foot. Still looks impossibly younger (he was not alive for Tiger Woods’ first Master’s win), but his recreation will match nicely on the Korn Ferry Tour (or PGA Tour?) next year.
9. Takumi Kanaya
The former No. 1 novice in the world lastly turned pro in 2020, and his game continues to enhance. He absolutely destroys on the Japan circuits — he recently gained the Dunlop Phoenix for his second worldwide win — and though he is a bit older than you might think (he’ll flip 23 in Might), he has but to play a truly strong schedule worldwide. I am intrigued to see what occurs when he does.
10. Akshay Bhatia
Another name you probably got to know this fall as Bhatia turned pro in late 2019 at the tender age of 17 and rose 1,000 spots within the Official World Golf Rankings in 2020 after a prime 10 on the Safeway Open. He obviously has a long way to go to fulfill some of the hype around him, but making cuts and grabbing top 10s at the age of 18 on the PGA Tour is a massive (and underrated) deal. We often lump all the young guys together, but there is a chasm between being 18 and on the PGA Tour and being 23 or 24 out there. I am excited about his future.