For most folks, the new year is a time of reflection and renewal, taking stock of the past year and making new commitments and goals for the coming one. But for golf lovers, the turn of the new year means the promise of even more great golf. And 2022 is already shaping up to be a fantastic year in terms of professional golfing.
At Totally Driven, we love watching promising up-and-comers show the world what they’re made of as they break through to the top echelon of the golfing world. That’s why we’re sharing this list of the top pro golfers to keep an eye out for in 2022 after looking over some of the top predictions from golf watchers. To talk golf and work on your own golf fitness, call our Minnesota golf store today.
1. Sahith Theegala
23-year-old California native Sahith Theegala has been making a name for himself since his three-time NCAA All-American status at Pepperdine. Theegala has been playing most of his young life and won golf awards at ages six, eight, and ten. Like many of the young up-and-comers right now, Theegala’s college golf days were interrupted by the COVID pandemic. But before it did, Theegala had already won the Australian Master of the Amateurs, Alister MacKenzie Invitational, and Southwestern Invitational in addition to his Pepperdine team earning first rank in the nation.
Theegala would also become the fifth person to win three prestigious awards in the same year: the Jack Nicklaus Award, the Haskins Award, and the Ben Hogan Award. With those wins, he joined the ranks of Bill Haas, Patrick Rodgers, Hunter Mahan, and Ryan Moore. Since his June 2020 professional debut, he has racked up his share of accomplishments including T-9 at MGM Resorts Championship, T-4 at Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, and T-14 at the Safeway Open on the PGA Tour.
2. Lucas Herbert
Lucas Herbert is a 25-year-old Aussie who has been playing the European Tour since 2018 and enjoyed his first PGA win in October 2021 at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship. Herbert hails from Bendigo, Australia, and has been racking up wins globally for a few years now.
Despite losing a playoff at the 2013 Lexus of Blackburn Heritage Classic on the Australasia PGA Tour, he would go on to turn professional in 2015. In 2018, Herbert would come in 47th on the Race to Dubai, placing him in the world’s top 100. He later defeated Christiaan Bezuidenhout in a 2020 playoff for the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Herbert also finished in the top 25 at the Korn Ferry Tour Finals before earning that Halloween 2021 PGA win.
3. Rickie Fowler
California native and current Florida resident Rickie Fowler has been golfing since he was three years old, and his commitment to the sport shows. After a very successful amateur golfing career, Fowler went through a few rough seasons but is back in 2021 showing everyone he’s willing to put the work in to be the best.
Although Fowler has been playing since he was a preschooler, he primarily learned to play on his own on a driving range. But his commitment to golf was always there. He even dressed up as Fred Couples one year for Halloween as a kid.
Despite being self-taught, he would lead his team to the state final as a senior in high school before attending Oklahoma State University. He can be seen wearing orange on the final day of each tournament to honor OSU. In college, he won the Fighting Illini Invitational at the University of Illinois by one stroke with a 70-63-70. And in 2007 and 2008, he held the rank of number one ranked amateur golfer in the world for 36 weeks.
Fowler turned pro in 2009 and would earn 2010 Rookie of the Year as well as five PGA wins over the next decade. Although he’s had some spotty years, his performance since the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open has been solid.
4. Mito Pereira
Hailing from Chile, Guillermo Pereira Hinke, who goes by the nickname “Mito,” earned his automatic promotion from the Korn Ferry Tour after already killing it on the 2016 PGA Tour Latinoamérica. As a youth, the now-26-year-old golfer won the 2008 Optimist International Junior Golf Championship in the 12-13 category and would come in as a runner-up in the 2010 Junior Open Championship in Fife, Scotland.
At only 17, Pereira won the Abierto Internacional de Las Brisas de Chicureo, winning a single stroke over Cristián León and Nico Geyger with a 70-70-70. After a year of college golf with Texas Tech in 2014-15, Pereira went pro.
At the 2016 PGA Latinoamérica, he would become the youngest player to rack up a number one win at the Roberto De Vicenzo Punta del Este Open Copa NEC. His numerous other wins would include T3 at the Nashville Golf Open, Bronze at the 2019 Pan American Games, and back-to-back wins on the Korn Ferry Tour.
5. Lydia Ko
Any discussion about pro golfers would be remiss without covering some of the fantastic women in golf today. A New Zealander born in Korea, Bo-Gyung Lydia Ko MNZM (New Zealand Order of Merit) has been a serious contender since she was a teenager. That’s when she became the youngest male or female player to be top-ranked in professional golf and the youngest person to win the LPGA tour.
Born in Seoul, Ko immigrated to New Zealand as a baby and took up golf at age five. She would draw her first media attention for her golfing at only seven years old. By age 14, Ko won the Bing/Lee Samsung Women’s NSW Open, kicking Ryo Ishikawa out of his spot as the youngest person to win a pro golf tournament. By the time she turned pro, Ko had been leading for 130 weeks as the top-ranked woman amateur golfer.
At only 24 years old today, Ko has been killing it on the LPGA since she turned pro in 2014. That same year, Time named the champion as one of the world’s 100 most influential people. 2021 would see Ko win the Vare Trophy for lowest LPGA tour scoring average and an Olympic bronze medal.
6. Atthaya Thitikul
Yet another outstanding young female golfer, at only 18 years old, Atthaya “Jeeno” Thitikul has already been busy knocking out records with four Ladies European Tour wins. Born in Ban Pong, Thailand, Thitikul picked up her first golf clubs at six years old. Only a few days after she turned 14, Thitikul finished 37th at the Honda LPGA Thailand out of 66 golfers. Her win at the Ladies European Thailand Championship on the Ladies European Tour would make her the youngest person to win a professional golf event, joining the ranks of Lydia Ko.
Later, Thitikul would compete in the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics, taking the mixed team gold medal with Thai teammate Vanchai Luangnitikul, and would later win a bronze at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. After Thitikul’s second win in three years at the Ladies European Thailand Championship in 2019, Jeeno would be ranked first globally in women’s amateur golf. She turned pro in 2020 when she joined the women’s LPGA.
7. Pauline Roussin-Bouchard
21-year-old French golfer Roussin-Bouchard is a relative newcomer to professional golf after ranking number one for 34 weeks in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. According to the LPGA, Roussin-Bouchard has developed a reputation for her lighthearted personality and hardcore beast-mode fitness ethic.
At 14 years old, Roussin-Bouchard won the 2015 European Young Masters with her team and as an individual golfer. In 2019, she enrolled in USC, where she joined the South Carolina Gamecocks, taking a number of wins with the team. Her WAGR rank put her in the U.S. Women’s Open in 2020, where she finished T46. She would go on to win the Didrikson Skaftö Open on the Ladies European Tour. Coaches who know her have predicted a consistent pro career with plenty more early successes, so be sure to watch her performance in 2022.
8. Jon Rahm
Spanish-born golfer Jon Rahm Rodriguez first gained notoriety as an Arizona State student, where he earned his B.A. in Communications while attending college on a golf scholarship. While in college, Rahm would win 11 college golf tournaments, coming in second only to Phil Mickelson, who earned 16 wins in college.
After winning the Eisenhower Trophy, in 2015-1016 Rahm would become the first player to win the Ben Hogan Award twice. That same year, he would become the number one ranked golfer in the WAGR, which he held for 25 weeks and again later for 35 at a grand total of 60 weeks. By 2017, Rahm would be racking up wins globally after turning pro in 2016. These include seven European Tour wins and the U.S. Open, among others.
Your Edina, Minnesota Source for Professional Golf Fitness
No matter who you’re watching, 2022 holds plenty of promise for professional golf. And with a new calendar kicking off, it’s a great time to make some personal commitments as a golfer as well.
If all this talk about the PGA has you feeling inspired to work on your golf fitness and form, we’ve got you covered at Totally Driven in Edina, MN. From professional golf coaching to personalized club fitting, we have everything you need to get your swing in shape in 2022. To schedule your custom golf club fitting or spend some time working on golf fitness, give us a call at (952) 681-2728 or send a message online today. We hope you have a safe and healthy new year!