As the calendar year comes to an end, it is the perfect time to step back and take a look at just who the best golfers were in 2018.
In 2018, two ‘new faces’ reached the pinnacle of the sport as the best ranked golfer in the world, two of the four majors ended up in the same trophy cabinet and arguably the great player of all-time made his comeback.
We’ve picked out our top five best golfers of 2018:
Having won his first major last year when lifting the U.S. Open, Koepka’s 2018 campaign started in the worst possible way…on the sidelines with an injury.
A wrist injury picked up at the Tournament of Champions at the start of January kept him out until the end of April, resulting in the 28-year-old missing the Masters Tournament at Augusta in the process.
But it didn’t do him too much harm, because Koepka came out and won two of the remaining three majors—the U.S. Open and PGA Championship—and became world number one, too. What a year.
The 14-time major winner is back. Few predicted it would happen, but Woods is a winner again. His goal might have just been to play competitively once again after four years of injury, but Woods outperformed even his own expectations. He also threatened to add to his major haul—he placed sixth in the Open Championship and was a close runner-up at the PGA Championship.
Ultimately Woods won by dominating the season-ending Tour Championship. The scenes at the 18th green at East Lake underline just what Woods means to the game of golf…and it is great to have him back.
The Italian golfer reached the big time when winning the Open Championship at Carnoustie, but it was a memorable year for Molinari all around—he performed better than ever on both sides of the Atlantic on both the PGA TOUR and European Tour, and won the BMW PGA Championship.
His almost metronomic consistency was what stood out, as did his partnership with Tommy Fleetwood at the Ryder Cup as they led Europe to victory.
Justin Rose’s talent has been known for some time—his inclusion in our list of the year’s best golfers shouldn’t come as a surprise. A major winner and the inaugural Olympic champion, Rose ticked off another lifelong goal when hitting the top of the world rankings and becoming world number one.
It was short-lived, as Koepka quickly replaced him, but Rose had added another accolade to his glittering CV. He got there after winning the Fort Worth Invitational, reeling off top-10 finish after top-10 finish and ending runner-up to Molinari in the Open Championship.
The long-haired Fleetwood emerged from European Tour talent—and was the winner of the Race to Dubai—to world stardom in 2018. His second-place finish to Brooks Koepka really made U.S. golf lovers stand up and notice him.
That form continued throughout another consistent season. His exploits alongside Molinari inspired the European Ryder Cup victory in Paris—Fleetwood was definitely one of the best golfers this year, and certainly one to watch next season too.