The PGA Tour’s West Coast Swing Report: The winners, the losers, and those in-between

The circuit heads to Florida this week, but who enjoyed the first two months of the year out west and who has problems?

A fortnight in Hawaii, a month in California and a quick trip to Arizona - the West Coast Swing for 2022 is done and the year is set in motion.

Who made a strong start to the new year? Who went backwards (or stayed that way)? And who is treading water?

Ahead of the start of the next month's Florida Swing let's take a look at the report card.

THE WINNERS

Scottie Scheffler

There was no doubting the Texas-resident's high quality heading into 2022. Since graduating from the Korn Ferry Tour he's proved himself with 31 top 20s in 60 starts at the top level, 17 of them top 10s.

He's landed top five finishes in high-class regular events, the WGC, FedExCup Playoffs and the Majors too. He also impressed on his Ryder Cup debut last September.

The win was proving elusive however, until he scrambled past Patrick Cantlay in extra holes at the WM Phoenix Open and he looked hungry for more last week in LA.

Cameron Smith

The Aussie continued his love affair with Hawaii, adding the Sentry Tournament of Champions to his Sony Open win two years ago. An early boost for a man who's landed three top 10s in his last four visits to Augusta National.

Seamus Power

Would the winter break stall the momentum of the Irishman who landed 10 top 25 finishes in his last 14 starts of 2021, including a breakthrough victory in July?

The answer was no. He opened the year with another four top 20s, including a run at the title in the Sony Open and a fast start at the AT&T Pebble Beach where he led by five at halfway.

Unfortunately, the Lord gives and he also takes away. Power shot 75-72 at the weekend to finish T9th, a first top 10 on Poa Annua in California, but two missed cuts followed the disappointment. He'll want to get back to his new high standard on Florida's Bermuda greens.

Will Zalatoris

After opening the new season with a pair of top 20s it all went a bit flat for Zalatoris ahead of Christmas.

But he opened the New Year with tied sixth in The American Express and then seemed set to win a first title when leading through most of the weekend at the Farmers Insurance Open. He didn't do a lot wrong in only tying the clubhouse lead and missing out in extra holes - and he proved again that he is an exceptional golfer on Major Championship quality courses.

Also

The new winners Tom Hoge and Luke List, the thrilling attacking game of Sahith Theegala, a second win for Joaquin Niemann, and the continued consistency of Talor Gooch.

THE LOSERS

Greg Norman, Phil Mickelson and the Saudi Golf League

All through the West Coast Swing it was ticking off the birdies and closing in on its rival, like a ruthless back nine pouncer. Then Phil Mickelson piped up prompting a sort of triple bogey-triple bogey lurch to the clubhouse.

What on earth will Norman be thinking of what Mickelson said? What will the Saudis think of them? What will Mickelson's next move be? The 72nd hole at Winged Foot in the 2006 US Open no longer looks like his biggest cock-up.

Dustin Johnson

Not only was DJ involved in the Saudi story (which he pulled out from last weekend), he is also struggling to pull himself out of the form hole he finds himself in.

The good news is that he has five top 10 finishes from his last 10 starts. The bad news is that last year he departed Riviera with 10 top 10s from his last 10 starts, including a Masters win and he sat top of the world rankings. He's now ninth.

Brooks Koepka

True, he spent all week in the top three at the Phoenix Open and was only one shot outside the play off, despite not playing that well.

But two things. Firstly, outside of the Majors and WGC, the Phoenix Open is pretty much the only event Koepka is relentlessly good in. Secondly, he bemoaned himself at the end of last year that he was poor outside those three parameters (Scottsdale, WGC, Majors).

And he has now missed four of his last six cuts on the PGA Tour and, other than Phoenix, the one time he did play four rounds (at the Tournament of Champions) there was no cut and he was T28th in a 38-man field.

Tony Finau

Between the 2019 Open and the 2021 PGA Championship Finau was relentless in landing 20 top 10 finishes in 46 starts. Famously, he was struggling to get the win, finishing second no less than four times in that run.

In his last 19 starts he has made just one top 10.

The good news is that it was a precious win, back in August last year, and were he to win again soon he might conclude that there's not a lot not be said for consistency. But it will be a worry that in 11 of those most recent 19 results he's ended the week outside the top 30 and had a best of T19th in his six West Coast Swing outings.

THOSE IN-BETWEEN

Patrick Cantlay

It seems a little churlish to wonder about a man who contended in his first three starts of the year. But Cantlay led The American Express at halfway before slipping back to tied ninth. He was top five all week at Pebble Beach but never top three. And he was bang in the hunt through all 72 holes at TPC Scottsdale, yet missed makeable birdie opportunities on the 71st and 72nd holes to win, and the same happened in extra holes before Scheffler bested him.

Perhaps the frustration of being so close explains the T33rd last week at Riviera.

Jon Rahm

A similar story to Cantlay. He thrashed the course at the Tournament of Champions, but Cam Smith thrashed it a bit better. He got grumpy when involved in another birdie-fest at The American Express and then played the Farmers Insurance Open like a man trying a bit too hard (he finished third).

The T10th and T21st at Scottsdale and Riviera suggest that he's playing well enough, but that mind game is still not quite flowing.

Justin Thomas

He was top six at some point in all four of his West Coast Swing starts, but he didn't win once. And it's an on-going pattern: he's been top six at the end of at least one round in 18 of his last 32 starts, but has won just the once. He's missing the ruthlessness that allowed him to win four times in 16 starts from the middle of 2019.

Xander Schauffele

Four top 20 finishes from five starts is typically Schauffele because he munches up the top 20s. In fact, he's landed 45 of them in 68 starts since the start of 2019. The weird thing is that only the first of them - in the Tournament of Champions - was an official PGA Tour win. As consolations so, the Olympic gold was magnificent, but the lack of another PGA win is probably getting quite irritating.

READ MORE: Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau reject the Saudi Golf League, huge blow for breakaway circuit

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