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After a nearly two-month holiday hiatus, the PGA Tour returns to action with the 2022 Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.
The last time we saw the boys in action, Talor Gooch earned his first-ever win on Tour at the RSM Classic in November. Three weeks prior Lucas Herbert did the same at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship. As the new year approaches, with the depth and level of talent on Tour at seemingly an all-time high these days, your friends at Golfweek got to thinking — who might be next to earn that first big Tour win?
From veterans to rising stars from the amateur ranks, here are 10 players who we predict will hoist a trophy for the first time in 2022.
This one shouldn’t take too much convincing. Let’s start with his major finishes last season: T-18 at the Masters, T-8 at the PGA Championship, T-7 at the U.S. Open and T-8 at the British Open. Still not impressed? How about his 2-0-1 record as a rookie on the U.S. Ryder Cup team, you know, when he beat world No. 1 Jon Rahm in Sunday singles?
In the early goings of the 2021-22 season, the Tour’s 2020 Rookie of the Year already has a T-2 at the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open, as well as a solo fourth-place finish at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba.
With Scheffler it’s when, not if, in regard to his first win on Tour, and 2022 will be the year.
Scottie Scheffler reacts on the 5th hole during the third round of The RSM Classic on the Seaside Course at Sea Island Resort on November 20, 2021 in St Simons Island, Georgia. (Photo: Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)
Harold Varner III
Back in September Varner was in great form and even better position to get that elusive first win on Tour at the Sanderson Farms Championship (with a baby on the way at the time), but said he didn’t feel any pressure.
“No, the media’s the only thing that adds pressure because I’m going to answer that question after every day. And it’s just, it is what it is,” explained Varner. “And I’m learning how to deal with it and I hate when people, not ask you, but I hate when people are just always like, ‘When you going to win?’ It’s not like I’m not trying. It’s not easy.”
Now a father – shoutout HV4 – Varner is bringing that newfound perspective, and more importantly another full year of experience on Tour, into 2022 with his signature swag. Mix all that together and you’ve got a great story in the near future.
Harold Varner III walks along the course during the final round of the Sanderson Farms Championship at Country Club of Jackson on October 3, 2021 in Jackson, Mississippi. (Photo: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
McNealy is too talented to not win, simple as that.
After tying Tiger Woods and Patrick Rodgers for most wins in Stanford history with 11, success at the next level has been few and far between (with a lot of cuts in the middle). That said, he started the new season with a runner-up finish at the Fortinet Championship and has made his last four cuts with three top-25 finishes.
Maverick McNealy follows his approach shot from the first fairway of the Silverado Resort North Course during the final round of the Fortinet Championship on Sept. 19, 2021, in Napa, California. (Photo: Eric Risberg/Associated Press)
Winless since the 2019 Nedbank Golf Challenge on the DP World Tour, Fleetwood is 2-2 in made cuts during the new season and honestly doesn’t he just feel due to win on Tour at some point? Why not 2022.
Tommy Fleetwood at the 2021 Arnold Palmer Invitational. (Photo: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports)
The guy won PGA Tour Rookie of the Year honors without PGA Tour membership last season after earning eight top-10 finishes amid 21 made cuts in 25 starts. Need I say more? Next.
Will Zalatoris pumps his fist after making a birdie on the ninth hole of his second round of the 2021 Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Mississippi. (Photo: Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press)
Please, golf gods, let this happen. The 30-year-old is a growing fan favorite on Tour and a Higgs victory celebration is something we could all use right now.
Harry Higgs waves after his putt on the third green during the third round of the 2021 Honda Classic. (Photo: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)
College golf’s undisputed player of the year in the shortened 2020 season also had a shot to win at the Sanderson Farms earlier this year before finishing T-8. Theegala has the distance and short game to compete on Tour, and if he can keep his mental game in play he’ll be winning sooner rather than later.
Sahith Theegala chips onto the 17th green during the third round of the 2021 Sanderson Farms Championship at the Country Club of Jackson. (Photo: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports)
If Tommy Fleetwood is due, what’s Cameron Tringale?
Since he turned pro in 2009, Tringale has earned $15,742,717, as well as the dubious distinction as the Tour’s top earner without a victory. So far this season Tringale has finished T-2 at the Zozo Championship and T-7 at the Houston Open, so the game is in form. He’s just got to keep it together for four rounds.
Winless winners: Players who have earned more than $10 million without a win
Cameron Tringale hits his tee shot on the fourth hole during the final round of the 2021 Zozo Championship at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba, Japan. (Photo: Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)
Currently ranked No. 2 in the world amateur rankings, it’s crazy to expect Coody to storm onto the professional scene and win as early as the likes of Matthew Wolff and Collin Morikawa. But if anyone is going to do it from this Class of 2021, it’s Coody.
Pierceson Coody lines up a putt on the second green during the first round of the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. (Photo: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports)
Chacarra has what it takes to be the next Oklahoma State product to hit the Tour running. Talent? You bet. Swagger? Almost too much at times. If you’re looking for a young, fun future player to root for, look no further.
Oklahoma State’s Eugenio Lopez-Chacarra hits a tee shot on the first hole in Olympia Fields, Illinois. (Photo: Kamil Krzaczynski/Associated Press)