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2021 PGA Recap: New Leagues & Stars Emerge

PGA, the lead governing body for golf around the world, is one of the most deceptively entertaining sports groups to follow. The organization oversees separate tours around the world, with the most popular being the PGA Tour (North America) and the European Tour (now the DP World Tour). 

Tiger Woods
Photo: Tiger Woods

With professionals traveling around the world, fans have nearly limitless options when looking for a player to back. Additionally, golf betting odds are available for the PGA and LPGA (women’s golf) and cover senior tournaments as well as amateur events. And though media tends to portray the sport as a quiet, serious affair, anyone who’s followed the PGA knows it’s deceptively dramatic.

This year, fans were treated to the same type of wild speculation that surrounds the biggest major events—as well as plenty of action off the greens. 2021 saw another serious crisis for Tiger Woods, as well as an announcement of his comeback at the 2022 PNC Championship. Bryson DeChambeau continued to rack up enemies and inspire a discussion around science in golf, and even a conversation about heckling.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Keep reading for the top updates and events from 2021, which includes a new rivalry, up-and-coming stars, and a brand new version of the European Tour.

DP World Tour Starts in 2022

As mentioned above, one of the most popular PGA branches is the European Tour. For half a century, the European Tour has organized a circuit of tournaments around Europe and, more recently, the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

However, the PGA recently changed the European Tour into the DP World Tour. The number of events will expand to include 47 tournaments in 27 countries. The new tour will kick off in 2022 in South Africa and will add new locations in places like Japan and the US.

Most notably, however, Saudi Arabia will be left off this list. The Tour will be avoiding Abu Dhabi’s sporting influence and attempts to create a Golf Super League after pushback from h rights groups.

A Rivalry Unfolds in LPGA

Golf is full of rivalries; this year, the LPGA fostered competition between two of its greats, Nelly Korda and Jin Young Ko, with the same gusto as the PGA’s Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka.

Korda and Ko faced off at the CME Group Tour Championship, which Ko successfully defended. Both are at the height of their careers and are expected to provide a fruitful rivalry for fans in the next decade.

Colin Morikawa & Jon Rahm Take Center Stage

The US seems to have developed one of golf’s greatest new premier talents: Collin Morikawa. This year, he nabbed the Open Championship, along with the Race to Dubai title in the European Tour. In particular, his performance at the Open was enough to earn him respect from pundits… as well as fellow stars like Jordan Spieth and Rahm.

Speaking of Rahm, the Spanish pro delivered on an entertaining battle to take home the US Open. Until nearly the last shot, Rahm was in close contention with Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa, when he delivered a killer one-two combination.

Mickelson Triumphs at PGA Championship

Along with Korda and Ko, Morikawa and Rahm provided audiences with a master class in poise, accuracy, and creativity. But none managed to nab the hearts of pundits and fans quite like Phil Mickelson. Lefty’s performance at the PGA Championship was notable for a few reasons. 

First, the course at Kiawah Island, USA is one of the greatest major setups; it challenges pros to innovate while punishing them for the slightest missteps. Second, Mickelson entered the tournament as one of the oldest competitors and left as the oldest major champion.

Third, he faced off against Brooks Koepka to nab the title. This proved a spectacular faceoff, as golf doesn’t often see two champions with multiple major wins under their belt advance to a final pairing. Even better, Mickelson and Koepka had to fend off Oosthuizen to do so.

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