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review of 2019

2019 in golf: NCG’s biggest underachiever on tour

Hopes were high for all of these brave hombres but, for a variety of reasons, things didn't quite work out as planned
 

Like Misteltoe and pigs in blankets, it just wouldn’t be Christmas without a considered look back at what’s happened over the past 12 months. So, to kick us off, our Fourball team nominate the players who failed to hit the expected heights in tour land this year…

Dan: It’s tempting to say Jordan Spieth but my feeling is that he was over-achieving previously. It’s also tempting to say Rory McIlroy given it will be almost six years since he won a major come next spring.

I’ll settle for Justin Thomas though – he was so good last year and culminating at the Ryder Cup that I fully expected him to win another major this year. I know injuries haven’t helped, in mitigation.

Steve: I know he changed clubs, and shirts too, but winning the Farmers Insurance Open is hardly the return Justin Rose would have been expecting.

More worryingly, he showed quite a bit of frailty in closing the deal at various points in 2019 – consider his final round at the US Open as exhibit A. For the rest, a PGA Tour win constitutes a very good year. But Rose isn’t the rest.

Mark: Given how highly I rate and like Frankie Molinari I’d go with him. I, and my turf accountant, was convinced that he would run away with the Masters and, aside from his brilliance at Bay Hill, that was his sole victory this year.

I wish he could just hit that tee shot at the 12th all over and that he’d beaten Tiger and he was still with his caddie. I always loved how they used to converse in Spanish.

Joe: Tony Finau – the guy has World No. 1 potential but just cannot get over the line. He’s a confusing player, perhaps only surpassed by Spieth in that category at the moment.

Why is he only 16th in the world rankings with just one PGA Tour win to his name from 2016? I predicted big things for him this year and realistically we could have been looking back on a multiple-win season, perhaps even including a major. Maybe next year.

Do you agree with our panel or care to nominate someone else as 2019’s biggest underachiever? Let us know in the comments below or you can tweet us.

Mark Townsend

Been watching and playing golf since the early 80s and generally still stuck in this period. Huge fan of all things Robert Rock, less so white belts. Handicap of 8, fragile mind and short game

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