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PGA Tour season recap: 10 winners and losers from an unforgettable year

The 2022-23 PGA Tour season came to an end, with Viktor Hovland claiming the FedEx Cup at East Lake Golf Club last Sunday.

Through the ups and downs, it was an unforgettable PGA Tour season from hole-in-ones to triple bogeys and the pressure of trying to win a golf tournament on a Sunday afternoon.

We had PGA Tour winners hoist a trophy for the first time in their career or even the first time in years in a bounce-back scenario.

Here are the winners and losers from the 2022-23 PGA Tour season.

Winner: Viktor Hovland

PGA: TOUR Championship - Final Round
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Viktor Hovland took a much-needed break, playing only two tournaments in between the Masters and the PGA Championship.

Hovland, who did not miss a cut this year, finished tied for second at the PGA Championship, two before getting his first win of the season in a playoff at the Memorial in early June.

Despite a three-tournament stretch of 19-T29-T25, at the U.S. Open, Travelers, and Scottish Open, respectively, Hovland made his final kick, finishing no worse than 13th in his final four events. In those final 16 rounds, Hovland only had one round higher than 72, en route to being this year’s FedEx Cup winner.

Earlier in the season, Hovland also tied for 10th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, tied for third at the Players Championship, and tied for fifth at the ZOZO Championship before his T7 finish at the Masters.

Winner: Scottie Scheffler

PGA: TOUR Championship - Final Round
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Although Scottie Scheffler only recorded two wins this season, the World No. 1 put together a historic campaign.

Scheffler had 17 top 10s, which tied 82-time PGA Tour winner Tiger Woods for fourth-most in a season, dating back to 1980.

In addition, his top 10s also coincided with the seventh-best scoring average of all time, only trailing Woods, who scored higher than Scheffler’s 68.63 scoring average this season. Woods recorded a lower average in 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2007 and 2009.

It tells you how efficient, but also how consistent Scheffler was this season, as 13 of his 17 top 10s were top 5s. At one point, from the AT&T Byron Nelson in May to the Genesis Scottish Open in July, Scheffler had seven straight top-five finishes.

Related: A look at the latest world golf rankings

Loser: Justin Thomas

PGA: Wyndham Championship - Final Round
David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Thomas had a down year despite getting the opportunity to represent the United at the Ryder Cup later this month.

In a more competitive leadup to the FedEx Cup Playoff race that cut the opening event of the playoff event by 55 spots, Thomas missed it by one spot.

It ended a streak of eight straight trips to the FedEx Cup Playoffs and seven consecutive opportunities in the Tour Championship.

Thomas missed the cut in five of his final eight events, including the Open Championship and the 3M Open in back-to-back weeks, which proved to be detrimental as the final push to the playoffs commenced.

In between: Rory McIlroy

PGA: TOUR Championship - Third Round
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Rory McIlroy is not quite a winner nor a loser, so he falls right in between.

McIlroy, who is one of the three best players in the world alongside Scheffler and Jon Rahm, won a couple of small events (The CJ Cup and the Genesis Scottish) but failed to win any of the biggest tournaments, the majors.

Especially knowing how much of an impact and a high-profile player that McIlroy is, he could not quite hoist the trophy at the big events.

However, what makes this also positive for McIlroy is the way he finished, finishing his final 10 events inside the top 10, including the victory at the Scottish Open that gave the opportunity to be the only player in history to claim the Irish Open, Scottish Open, and the Open Championship.  

Winner: Xander Schauffele

PGA: TOUR Championship - Final Round
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Although Xander Schauffele did not pull off a win this season, he did not miss a cut, which is a tough thing to accomplish.

In 22 events, Schauffele did not miss a cut, recorded 18 top 25s, 11 top 10s, and two runner-up finishes, including his first career withdrawal at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in January.

Schauffele, who was the runner-up at the Wells Fargo Championship in May, finished in the same position this past week at the Tour Championship to conclude the season, recording 22-under par at East Lake Golf Club.

He continued his stretch of good play at the Tour Championship with his seventh top-7 finish.

His consecutive cut streak dates back to the 2022 Masters, which is a span of 33 straight made cuts.  

Winner: Rickie Fowler & Jason Day make comebacks on the PGA Tour

PGA: TOUR Championship - First Round
Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

Making a historic comeback return to the PGA Tour with victories were both Rickie Fowler and Jason Day.

Fowler won the Rocket Mortgage Classic for his first PGA Tour win since the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open, which happened to be Super Bowl Weekend.

Day won the AT&T Byron Nelson for his first PGA Tour win since the 2018 Wells Fargo Championship.

The former PGA Tour stars from the mid-2010s were able to revitalize their careers and return to the winner’s circle this season.

In between: Jon Rahm

PGA: TOUR Championship - Final Round
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Jon Rahm had a superb start to the season, winning four times from January to April. He won the Sentry Tournament of Championship in comeback fashion. Two weeks later, he won The American Express in his next start. He followed that up with a win at The Genesis Invitational, capped off by his first green jacket with a victory at the Masters.

However, it felt like once May hit, Rahm hit a roadblock. He tied for 50th at the PGA Championship. He needed to have an excellent Sunday at the U.S. Open just to finish inside the top 10. He recorded a 63 in the third round at the Open Championship but was the runner-up.

It was one of those situations where Rahm was playing from behind and was unable to be in a better position after day one or day two for the rest of the tournament.    

Loser: Hideki Matsuyama

PGA: BMW Championship - First Round
Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

During the 2022-23 PGA Tour season, Hideki Matsuyama was limited by injuries throughout the year.

As a result, those injuries kept him from being in contention, having only two top 10s that came at the Farmers Insurance Open (T9) and a fifth-place finish at the Players Championship in March for his best finish at an event this season.

Coming off a season when he won twice last year, Matsuyama was unable to hoist a trophy this season as he was not able to be in the running on a Sunday afternoon.

If he can be injury-free in 2024, Matsuyama has the opportunity to be a better player next season with better off-the-tee play and on the putting surface.

Winner: Wyndham Clark & Brian Harman

PGA: TOUR Championship - Third Round
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Whenever a player wins their first major tournament, it is always special. This year, it happened twice with Wyndham Clark claiming the U.S. Open and Brian Harman winning the Claret Jug at the Open Championship.

Related: The 10 best performances in the history of the Open Championship

Both of those major wins were crucial because they were late in the season, which gave them those needed jumps ahead of the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

Speaking of the playoffs, this is where Clark continued to shine, finishing third behind Hovland and Schauffele.

This season marked Clark’s first two PGA Tour wins, with the other coming at the Wells Fargo Championship in May. It ended a stretch of four top-6 finishes in six straight events, which boosted his place in the standings, moving 31 spots after his win at the Wells Fargo.

For Harman, his Open Championship victory marked his first on the PGA Tour since the 2017 Wells Fargo Championship. The lefty played solid golf throughout the entirety of the season, as his best spot in the standings through the year was No. 5.

To top it off, both Harman and Clark are competing in the Ryder Cup for the first time in their careers.

The 2022-23 PGA Tour season, which goes back to a calendar-year format beginning in January, had one season to remember, especially going through the nuances and uniqueness this game brought.

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