Year of the Comeback
Golf Digest Middle East|June 2021
Tour pros of all ages are rediscovering their mojo
John Feinstein

WE HAVE WITNESSED tournaments without fans—which gave us, if nothing else, a break from screams of, “Get in the hole!” Perhaps in an act of karmic grace, we have witnessed what can best be described as “The Year of the Comeback.” They are familiar names to anyone who follows golf: Lydia Ko, Jordan Spieth, Stewart Cink, Sergio Garcia, Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy, Mike Weir, Hideki Matsuyama, Ariya Jutanugarn. And Lefty.

All are major champions. All have endured droughts, some bad enough to draw whispers—loud ones in a few cases—that they might not win again. Cink’s last victory had been the 2009 Open Championship (which is best remembered for Tom Watson not winning at 59), and Weir, the 2003 Masters champion, had not won in 13 years.

Ko and Spieth were the biggest mysteries to those who think they understand golf. Ko won on the LPGA Tour in 2012 at age 15. She won two majors by age 17 and was No. 1 in the world for 84 weeks. When she won the LPGA Medheal Championship in April 2018—five days after turning 21—she had 15 LPGA Tour victories. Then her game—shockingly—went south.

She went through the usual changes that players often make when they struggle: She changed swing coaches and caddies. She bottomed in August of last year when her World Ranking fell to 55. But then something started to click. She had nine top-10s in 15 starts. Finally, in April she shot 65 in the final round of the Lotte Championship to win by seven shots.

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