Now that 2014 has officially come to a close, it’s time to start thinking about what’s in store this year.
Here we take a look a few of the golfers we’re planning to watch in 2015.
Obviously, we’re going to be paying attention to the reigning U.S. Women’s Open Champion. She won the Lotte Championship in April before claiming her first major win here in June. Wie’s Open victory seems to have given the golfer a new energy. We’re excited to see how she’ll use it in 2015.
Kaymer dominated the U.S. Open in June, handily winning by eight strokes. Last May, he edged Jim Furyk by a shot to win the Players Championship, the PGA Tour’s biggest event. Look for Kaymer to carry that momentum into 2015.
Lydia Ko had one heck of a rookie season, raking in 1.9 million — the single biggest payday in LPGA history. The 17-year-old New Zealander won three LPGA tournaments in 2014 and took over the No. 2 spot in the world late in December. The LPGA Rookie of the Year is poised to win a major in 2015.
Although he tied for 23rd at the U.S. Open in Pinehurst, Rory McIlroy had an outstanding 2014. McIlroy is currently rank No. 1 in the world and in the hunt for his third consecutive major win. Named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year for the second time in three seasons, McIlroy seems to be unstoppable right now.
Stacy Lewis didn’t win a major in 2014, but she did sweep three prestigious LPGA awards. She won the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy and the official money title, becoming the first American to do so since Betsy King in 1993. Lewis finished second in the U.S. Women’s Open here in Pinehurst, but she was the No. 1 player in the world until Inbee Park took back the top spot in October. We expect Lewis to be hungry for a major win in 2015.
Fowler captured our attention early during the U.S. Open here in June when he wore knickers to pay tribute to his golf idol, Payne Stewart. He kept our attention when he tied Erik Compton for second place behind Martin Kaymer. Fowler recorded a top-5 finish in each of the four majors, but fell short of winning any. We expect that to change in 2015.
The 11-year-old won our hearts when she came to Pinehurst in June as the youngest qualifer in U.S. Women’s Open history. She showed her age when she slurped ice cream during a press conference, but her golf game showed no sign of her tweenness. We haven’t heard much about her since the Open, but we have no doubt Lucy will be charming us again in 2015.
Injuries kept Tiger Woods from traveling to Pinehurst last June to play in the U.S. Open, but he likely won’t miss the championship in 2015. He played in just a handful of tournaments in 2014 before deciding to sit out the rest of the season. Woods hasn’t won a major since 2008, but now that he’s healthy again he may have a shot.
We knew Alison Lee was destined for greatness when she won the Women’s North & South Amateur in Pinehurst last July, and she hasn’t disappointed. Lee went on to win the inaugural Annika Award, which is given to the top women’s college golfer in the country. As the reigning Pac-12 Conference Champion, Lee earned a spot on the 2015 LPGA tour. We’re excited to see what 2015 has in store for Lee as she leaves UCLA to turn pro.
Phil Mickelson finished the year strong as runner-up at the PGA Championship. We expect to see Mickelson, who finished 28th at the U.S. Open at Pinehurst, to be hungry for a major win in 2015. He’s just shy of completing a career Grand Slam. He just needs a U.S. Open victory, but that may prove difficult considering Mickelson has had six runner-up finishes in the championship.