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Underrated golfer

Who’s the most underrated golfer in the world?

The world's top 10 is full of future Hall of Famers but who do we think is the least underestimated. Our writers have differing views in Alternate Shot
 

The world’s current top 10 has a very distinctive look about it with seven Americans filling it out. Webb Simpson re-entered this elite bracket with his win at the Phoenix Open so we discuss who we think is the most underrated player here.

 

‘Schauffele is a major winner waiting to happen’

General conversations with those in golf circles about who might win the majors this year and one name pops up more than most: Xander Schauffele, writes Alex Perry.

Everyone fancies the Californian to break his duck in 2020, which is astonishing when you consider that Brooks Koepka is obviously going to win one, Rory McIlroy is DEFINITELY getting back among the majors this year, Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson are too good to only have one major win, while Jon Rahm and Tommy Fleetwood are also getting off the mark in 2020.

Oh, and then there’s some bloke called Tiger Woods.

Ask any casual golf fan where Schauffele is in the world rankings, I bet most would do what I do – try and recall his handful of PGA Tour wins, oh yeah and I think he did alright at the Masters last year… 16th? 17th?

He’s 9th?! Goodness. He started the 2018-19 season with wins either side of Christmas and since then has had eight top 10s, including a T2 at Augusta and T3 at the US Open.

He’s sneaky good, and he’ll be in the mix going down the stretch in at least one major this year.

‘There’s nobody more consistent on the planet than Simpson’

If that was Tiger or Brooksy, or basically anyone else holing those putts down the stretch at Scottsdale, then we’d all be falling over one another to praise him, writes Mark Townsend.

Given it was Webb Simpson then we just nodded and thought ‘that was good’ and carried on with our lives.

He’s now got six wins on the PGA Tour, one fewer than Koepka, he’s back inside the top 10 for the first time in eight years and this was the sixth time he has finished in the top three since June. On a bigger scale he hasn’t finished outside the top 30 in the last two years of majors. Speaking of which people barely recognise him as a major champion. The 2012 US Open, if you’d forgotten.

He doesn’t bomb it, we all wrote his putting off when the long putter ban came in, and most of us get a bit sniffy about him due to the fact that he hit the shortest opening drive in Ryder Cup history having shanked one against Ian Poulter in the singles two years before.

But he’s worked on his distance and his putting, having made himself persist with the (slightly) shorter version, and his short irons might be the best in the game. His 2020 season to date shows a record of 7-2-10-3-1 along with a Presidents Cup win where he had to babysit Patrick Reed.

So how does the 2012 Webb Simpson compare to the one of today?

“A couple years ago I was just a little bit tired of being inconsistent. I started looking at the weaknesses and really learning from tournaments, whether I finished second or 30th or missed the cut. And so I think just becoming more a student of the game and a student of myself has helped.”

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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