It was a thrilling year on the European Tour in 2018, with veterans such as Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia winning again, Matt Wallace picking up three trophies and the Tour’s first ever 59 from Oliver Fisher.
With the 2019 season just around the corner, europeantour.com have made their predictions ahead of what promises to be another exciting year on the European Tour.
Jon Rahm to end the year as World Number One
Jon Rahm continued his trending form in 2018, winning the Open de España on the European Tour and the CareerBuilder Challenge on the US PGA Tour, as well as his most recent victory at Tiger Wood’s event, the Hero World Challenge.
The Spaniard finished the year in sixth in the Official World Golf Ranking, two spots below his 2017 ranking, but fuelled by his victory in Tiger’s event, and memories of winning The 2018 Ryder Cup on his debut for Team Europe, the 24 year old’s confidence is sure to be sky high heading into 2019. However, with so many incredible players battling for the same position, it is sure to be an exciting race to the top.
Rory McIlroy to win The Open Championship?
Rory McIlroy’s form at The Open cannot be questioned. Since winning the event in 2014, the former World Number One has finished no worse than fifth, including a share of second in 2018. In 2019 The Open will also visit a course where McIlroy has great memories – Royal Portrush. As a 16 year old in 2005, the Northern Irishman shot a course record 61 in the North of Ireland Championship, taming the difficult Dunluce links.
His most recent win on the European Tour also came in Ireland at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in 2016 – another good omen for the four-time Major champion.
Francesco Molinari to maintain 2018 form
Francesco Molinari had the year of his career in 2018. The Italian won his first Rolex Series title at the BMW PGA Championship, his first PGA Tour title at the Quicken Loans National, and – memorably – his first Major championship at The Open at Carnoustie, as well as a perfect 5-0 record at The Ryder Cup.
The remarkable consistency he showed in 2018 landed him the Race to Dubai title for the first time in his career too, and if this form continues it could be another fantastic year for the Italian.
Second 59 on Tour
Oliver Fisher created history this year by becoming the first golfer to shoot 59 on the European Tour, when he signed for a staggering 12 under par round at the Portugal Masters.
Following that landmark round, will we see a trend similar to that of the four-minute mile on the European Tour?
When Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile mark, everybody saw it could be possible. Just 46 days later Australian John Landy also broke the barrier, followed by three further runners in a single race just a year later. In fact, over the last half century, more than a thousand runners have conquered the barrier that was initially thought to be out of reach.
Now, we aren’t predicting 59s every week, but at least players know it is in fact possible on the European Tour.
Matt Wallace to continue his winning trend
England’s Matt Wallace had some year in 2018, picking up three victories in just his second full season on the European Tour. That trio of triumphs came at the Hero Indian Open, the BMW International Open and the Made in Denmark.
He ended the 2018 campaign in fine form, finishing tied fifth at the Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player, and as a runner-up at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai. After starting the year in 127th position in the Official World Golf Ranking, Wallace finished the year inside the top 50. If his form continues into 2019, Wallace could well break into the top 25, or even further.
Victor Perez to impress
After graduating from the Challenge Tour at the end of 2018, Victor Perez has made a blistering start to his European Tour career. At the season-opening Honma Hong Kong Open presented by Amundi, Perez finished in a tie for third place, then followed that up with a top-15 finish at the Afrasia Bank Mauritius Open at Anahita.
The Frenchman certainly could be one to watch in 2019, as well as other Challenge Tour graduates such as Adri Arnaus and Kim Koivu.