Tag: Cameron Smith

LIV Golf: 2022 Power Ratings

Dustin Johnson: Dominates in 2022

Now that the first LIV season has been completed, we’ve taken a look at which players had the greatest success heading into 2023. Players have been rated and ranked on the basis of events played, average finish, wins, runner up, top five and top ten’s–as well as performance at the 2022 major championships (LIV Player Rankings).

While sixty-eight players participated at various events throughout the year, we’ve included only the top forty-eight, using finishes in the individual portion of each tournament.

Not surprisingly, Dustin Johnson dominated pretty much from start to finish. Cameron Smith had an immediate impact following his jump to LIV after winning The Open Championship, and Joaquin Niemann played superb golf—at 24 years old, the young gun that LIV hopes will attract other talented PGA stars in their twenty’s.

Top 5

No. 1 Dustin Johnson: 80.9 Rating

After opening with an 8th place finish at the initial event in London, Dustin recorded a T3 at Pumkin Ridge in Portland, a T2 in Bedminster and then won the fourth event in Boston. In the seven stroke play tournaments on the schedule, Johnson recorded four top 5’s, a top 10 and a win—with his worst finish being a T15 in Bangkok. For the season, Dustin’s average finish was 5.1. When you add a T6 at the Open Championship, Johnson is at the top of the LIV power rankings by a wide margin.

Cameron Smith

No. 2 Cameron Smith: 62.2 Rating

Following his brilliant performance at St. Andrews, Cam came up a shot shy of joining the playoff in his first LIV event at The International Club in Boston, settling for a T4 at 14 under par. He kicked it up a notch by winning in his second event at Rich Harvest Farms in Chicago, so in the four events he played, Cameron recorded a win and top 5.

With his Open Championship victory and a T3 at The Masters, Smith is second on the LIV power rankings.

Joaquin Niemann: Young Gun

No. 3 Joaquin Niemann: 58.7 Rating

At 24 years old, Joaquin Niemann is one of the brightest young stars in golf. After joining the PGA Tour at 19, Niemann recorded 22 Top-10’s including 2 wins in 5 years–making the cut in just under 80% of the events he entered while reaching the Tour Championship in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

Joaquin joined LIV prior to the fourth event in Boston, and immediately recorded a runner-up finish (losing to DJ in a playoff). With a T4 at Rich Harvest Farms in Chicago and a T3 at the final regular event in Jeddah, Nieman recorder three Top 5 finishes in the four events he played, with an average finish of 7.3–just behind Johnson.

Pat Reed

No. 4 Patrick Reed: 57.2 Rating

Patrick recorded a T3 in his first LIV event in Portland, and finished among the top 5 in three of the five events he played (including a runner-up at Bangkok and a 5th at Trump National Bedminster).

Reed also ended the season with a 10.8 average finish (3rd behind DJ and Niemann).

Charl Schwartzel
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No. 5 Charl Schwartzel: 54.3 Rating

After winning the first LIV event in London, Charl recorded two additional Top 10’s (Chicago and Jeddah.). When you add his Top 10 at The Masters in April, Schwartzel comes in at number 5.    

Notables

Sergio Garcia (No. 6–54.1 Rating)

Garcia got off to a slow start in his first two LIV events, but recorded four Top 10’s in his last five tournaments (including Top-5’s in Chicago and Jeddah). Garcia’s average finish for the year was 12.9 (the 6th highest of the top 48 players who competed in the 2022 LIV events)

Talor Gooch (No. 8–52.4 Rating)

Gooch finished among the Top 10 in each of the first four LIV events in 2022, but dropped off significantly in the final 3 (although he recorded a T12 at the final regular event in Jeddah).

Only seven players were better than Talor’s average finish of 13.6.

Brooks Koepka

Brooks Koepka (No. 9–52.2 Rating)

Brooks’ mediocre play in his first four LIV events is likely due to lingering pain from the knee injury he suffered in 2021, but he finished strong with a T8 at Bangkok and a win at the final regular LIV tournament in Jeddah.

Look for Koepka to make his presence felt in a big way when the 2023 season gets going—particularly at the major championships.

Phil: Poised for a run in 2023

Phil (No. 38—27.6 Rating)

Mickelson’s LIV season was not memorable to say the least, but he showed signs of the old Phil with a T8 at Rich Harvest in Chicago and a T15 in Bangkok.

While the media swarm undoubtedly took a toll in 2022, look for Phil to shake it off and come out strong at the first LIV event in February (Mayakoba).

Should Phil win at Mayakoba, it will difficult for the powers that be at Augusta National to keep him out again (although they did it last year when he was the reigning PGA champion).

Trump National Doral

Team Championship-Miami

Dustin Johnson, Pat Reed, Talor Gooch and Pat Perez (the Aces) took home the team championship at Trump National Doral with a composite score of -7, one shot clear of Punch GC (Cameron Smith, Marc Leishman, Matt Jones and Wade Ormsby).

Smash GC (Brooks Koepka, Jason Kokrak, Peter Uhlein and Chase Koepka) finished a distant third with a composite score of +4.

Mayakoba: Greg Norman Design, Mexico

2023 Upcoming LIV Schedule

Mayakoba El Camaleon, Mexico (February 23-26)

Adelaide The Grange Golf Club, Australia (April 21-23)

Singapore Sentosa Golf Club (April 28-30)

Valderrama Real Club, Spain (June 30-July 2)

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LIV Golf: Top 5 Through Boston

DJ and Cam Smith Lead the Field
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Now that the first four LIV events have been completed, it’s a good time to take a look at which players have had the greatest success heading to Rich Harvest Farms in Chicago (September 16-18). We’ve rated and ranked players based on events played, average finish, wins, Top-10 finishes (including runner-up, top-5 and top-10) as well as performance at the 2022 major championships (LIV Player Rankings). To date, 68 players have competed in one or more of the LIV tournaments played thus far, and each has been rated on the performance criteria outlined above to provide a basis for our rankings.

Rich Harvest Farms, Chicago IL

The Leaders

Dustin Johnson: No. 1 / 72.5 Rating

Late Sunday afternoon at The International in Boston, DJ found himself in a sudden death playoff with newly minted LIV players Joaquin Niemann and Anirban Lahiri. When DJ rammed in a lengthy putt for eagle on the opening playoff hole, he raised the trophy for his first LIV tournament win. Having already recorded top 10’s at each of the first 3 events (T2 at Trump National Bedminster, a T3 in Portland and 8th place finish in London), along with a T6 at the Open Championship, Johnson is at the top of the LIV player rankings.

Cameron Smith: No. 2 / 64.0 Rating

Although Cam came up one shot shy of joining the playoff in Boston, a T4 (14 under) along with his Open Championship victory in July and T3 at The Masters back in April vaulted him all the way to Number 2, just behind Dustin.

Talor Gooch, Henrik Stenson and Brandon Grace
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Talor Gooch: No. 3 / 56.0 Rating (Tie)

While Talor has yet to record an LIV win, he has finished among the top 10 in all four events (9th in London, 7th in Portland, T6 at Bedminster and a 6th place finish in Boston). Gooch also made the cut in 3 of the 4 majors he played in 2022 (including a T14 at Augusta), which places him in a tie for No. 3 with Henrik Stenson.

Henrik Stenson: No. 3 / 56.0 Rating (Tie)

Stenson held off Matt Wolff and DJ at Bedminster to win the only LIV event he’s played thus far. Unfortunately, Henrik had to withdraw from the field in Boston last weekend—but all indications are that he will be ready to go in Chicago.

Brandon Grace: No. 5 / 55.7 Rating (Tie)

Brandon recorded a T3 in the first LIV event in London, and followed that up by winning at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in Portland. With his T13 at Bedminster and a 12th last week in Boston, Grace has the 3rd highest average finish (7.3) of any player who has competed at all four LIV tournaments (behind DJ at 3.5 and Taylor Gooch at 7.0).  

Louie Oosthuizen and Patrick Reed: LIV Top 10
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Notables

Louis Oosthuizen: No. 9 / 49.2 Rating

Louie is among the Top 10 on the strength of a T10 in London, 5th place finish in Portland, and a T9 last week in Boston. With one of the great golf swings in history, it’s a pretty good bet that Oosthuizen will record his first LIV win before the final event of the season at Trump Doral in October.

Patrick Reed: No. 10 / 48 Rating

Reed has recorded 2 top-5 finishes in the 3 events he’s played thus far (T3 in Portland and 5th at Bedminster). Patrick also made the cut at all four of the major championships in 2022.

Brooks and Bryson: Need to Kick it in Gear
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Treading Water

Brook Koepka: No. 25 / 35.3 Rating

While Koepka puts the most stock in major championships, it’s still a surprise that Brooks hasn’t made a bigger showing in his first three LIV events (a T16 in Portland, T11 at Bedminster and a T26 last week in Boston). 2022 has also been Koepka’s worst season in memory at the majors with missed cuts at The Masters and The Open Championship, along with a 55th place finish at the U.S. Open and a T55 at the PGA.

Although Brooks hasn’t made any excuses, it looks like the knee injury he suffered back in 2021 is a likely a factor in his mediocre performance thus far in 2022.

Bryson DeChambeau: No. 26 / 34.7 Rating

Bryson recorded a T8 at The Open Championship and a T10 in his first LIV event in Portland, but followed that up with a T31 at Bedminster and a T17 last week in Boston. Given his tremendous length from the tee, those performances are significantly below what most would expect.

I’m guessing that “The Scientist” will be heading for the lab, however, and will soon come up with a potion to improve his average finish number (currently at 19.3).

Phil: Missing in Action
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Missing in Action

Phil Mickelson: No. 60 / 15 Rating 

To say Phil’s first four LIV tournaments have been a struggle is an understatement. In twelve rounds, Mickelson has carded only two under 70 (a first round 69 in London and a second round 69 last Saturday in Boston). At the first event in London, he finished at T33 (+10). In Portland he came in at T40 (+10), and then followed that up with a 35th place finish at Trump National Bedminster (+6).

Unfortunately, it didn’t get any better in Boston where he finished with a T40 (+2). When you throw in missed cuts at the two major championships he played this year, it’s hard to believe this is the same Phil who won the PGA only last year—perhaps he’s waiting for the big stage at Trump Doral in October.  

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2022 Open Championship: Cam Smith unleashes the Wand

Cameron Smith: 2022 Champion Golfer
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As The Open headed into the back nine on Sunday at St. Andrews, the engraver prepared to etch Rory McIlroy’s name on the Claret Jug. McIlroy stood at 17 under par, having opened up a 3 shot lead over young Victor Hoveland, and he was in complete control of his game. Rory had already recorded a runner-up at the Masters, T8 at the PGA and a T5 at the U.S. Open—and it seemed a certainty that his long awaited fifth major championship was at hand.

Anything can happen, however, on the back-nine of an Open Championship on Sunday, particularly at St. Andrews.

St. Andrews: The Old Course

When a thunderous cheer suddenly erupted from the 11th green, the name to be inscribed on the oldest Trophy in golf would have to wait a bit. Cameron Smith had just rolled in another putt, making consecutive birdies to get within 2 shots of McIlroy. Rory was on cruise control, bombing drives and hitting greens—but making no putts (his only birdie on the back nine came when he drove the green on 10, and 2-putted for a 3). Cam Smith, on the other hand, was making everything. At the 12th hole he drove it to the very front of the green, leaving a difficult eagle putt from over 70 feet—and drained an 11-footer for birdie to pull within 1 shot of Rory. On the 13th, Cam rolled in another birdie, this time from nearly 20-feet, to pull even with McIlroy at 18 under par. And on the Par 5 14th hole Smith completed a stretch of 5 consecutive birdie’s by knocking in a 5-footer that brought him to 19 under par, and the outright lead.

Rory: Top 10 at Four Majors in 2022

The Magic

The championship hung in the balance as Smith reached number 17, the famous “Road Hole,” still clinging to a 1 shot lead. A poor approach left him just under the steep faced bunker guarding the front left of the green, and the pin was tucked just behind it. With brilliant touch and steel nerve Cam pulled the putter once again, and using the contour surrounding the bunker, was able to give himself an opportunity to save par from 10 feet—and then calmly knocked it in.

 The 18th hole of the Old Course at St. Andrews is reachable with a well-struck tee shot, and one of the most exciting finishing holes in golf. While all eyes were on Rory, however, a powerful young phenom, 25-year-old Cameron Young, had quietly moved back into contention, pulling within 2 shots of Smith’s lead—and they were playing together in the second to last pairing.

Cam Smith: Unleashes the Wand
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After Smith hit a solid tee shot just short of the green, Young unleashed a bomb that settled pin-high with a very makeable eagle opportunity from just 17 feet—a putt that would draw him even with Smith at 19 under and force a playoff. Cam was also fully aware that Rory, still only a shot back at 18 under, was likely to reach the green at 18 and have an opportunity for eagle, or a 2- putt birdie that would move him to 19 under as well.

Facing a 75-foot putt up the slope with a sharp right to left break and maximum Open pressure, Cam smoothly rolled his ball to within 3 feet, where he tapped in to finish at 20 under par, a shot ahead of Cameron Young (who indeed made his eagle putt to finish at 19 under). When Rory failed to eagle the last, Cam added his name to the illustrious group who have won The Open on the Old Course, while setting a new scoring record at St. Andrews.

Cam Smith

His Open Championship victory is the latest in a breakout year for Cam. He won the Players back in March, and followed that up with a T3 at the Masters, a T13 at the PGA and a T13 at the Memorial. Ranked 7th on Tour in putting, I suppose it should not have been much of a surprise to see him roll it so beautifully at St. Andrews, but when you consider the venue and the pressure of closing at a major, it was a truly spectacular performance.

At 28 years of age, Smith has always carried himself with the confidence and swagger of a PGA Tour veteran. And with 5 Tour wins, including a major championship and Player’s Championship under his belt, Cam is in position to secure a place in the World Golf Hall of Fame—and the putter to make it happen.

Cameron Young

At 25-years old, in only his first season on Tour, Cameron Young will be a force on the PGA Tour for many years to come. In addition to his gutsy runner-up finish at The Open, Young recorded a T3 at the PGA back in May, runner-up finishes at The Genesis and Wells Fargo Championships, and T3’s at both the RBC Heritage and Sanderson Farms Championships.

Cameron Young: Power and Putting

While Young’s primary weapon is the driver (currently ranked 6th in distance from the tee at 318 yards), Cameron is lethal on the greens as well (8th on Tour in putting). That’s a powerhouse combination, and will make him a man to keep an eye on as the season rolls toward the FedEx Cup playoffs.

LIV

The LIV contingent made their presence felt at The Open, erasing a mediocre performance at the U.S Open, and no doubt bringing a smile to Greg Norman’s face. 10 of the 23 LIV players who competed at The Open made the cut, with Dustin Johnson (-13) and Bryson DeChambeau (-12) recording Top 10’s. Abraham Ancer and Sadom Kaewkanjana both finished at -11, among the Top 20.

Their play on Sunday was particularly impressive, as both Ancer and Kaewkanjana fired closing rounds of 65, with Bryson carding a 66.

The third LIV event is scheduled for July 29-31 at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, NJ.

Trump National, Bedminster NJ
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