It has been another rollercoaster year in the world of golf. There have been incredible performances in the men’s and women’s game, with the Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup in successive weeks in September providing the biggest highlights.

But again, events in clandestine meetings off the course have dominated the agenda with LIV Golf not going anywhere and eye-watering sums of money being at the front and centre of much of the discussion.

Here at AMERICAN GOLF, we have tried to sum up the events of a tumultuous season on the fairways.   



Rory McIlroy and Patrick Reed provided one of the most dramatic final rounds for years on the DP World Tour at the Dubai Desert Classic. With LIV golfer Reed still eligible for the European circuit, he had pitched up in the Middle East. In the warm-up to the event, he had approached McIlroy on the practise ground and been ignored at which point, he lobbed a tee in the Northern Irishman’s direction.

McIlroy’s animosity towards LIV is well known and that lit the fuse as the two old Ryder Cup rivals went head-to-head down the stretch. Reed’s closing 65 gave him the clubhouse lead, only for Rory’s 20-footer on the last green to snatch the title.     


Justin Rose ended a four-year drought by winning on the PGA Tour at Pebble Beach. That success took him back into the top-50 and was the platform for a return to Europe’s Ryder Cup team later in the year.

Jon Rahm’s fast start to 2023 continued as he lifted the Genesis Invitational at Riviera to go with victories in Hawaii and Palm Springs the previous month – ominous form ahead of The Masters from the Spaniard.

LIV Golf League’s first full season began in Mayakoba in Mexico. It was the first of 14 events played over 54 holes staged in seven different countries.      


None of the LIV players, including defending champion Cameron Smith, were eligible to compete in the Players’ Championship at Sawgrass given their ban from the PGA Tour. In a weaker field than previous years, Scottie Scheffler ran out a commanding five-shot winner.


All of men’s golf was reunited for the first time in 2023 for The Masters. LIV rebel Brooks Koepka set the pace after each of the first three days and he went to bed on Saturday with a four-stroke lead over Jon Rahm.

But unseasonal heavy rain on the pristine Augusta fairways had meant that 30 holes were left to play on Sunday and it was Rahm who comfortably won this survival of the fittest, as he came from two back with 18 to go, to triumph by four shots – becoming the fourth Spaniard to put on the Green Jacket as he emulated his golfing hero, the late Seve Ballesteros.  

An arbitration panel in London sided with the DP World Tour over their decision to fine 12 players £100,000 for playing in a LIV Golf event without their permission. Players such as Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood immediately resigned their membership of the Tour, ruling them out of any involvement in the Ryder Cup.


Brooks Koepka did not make the same mistake at the US PGA as he had done at Augusta. He got in front after 54 holes at Oak Hill and did not let up as a final round 67 saw him finish two ahead of Scottie Scheffler and Viktor Hovland.

It was a fifth Major for the man from Florida and a third US PGA – the first player since Tiger Woods to achieve that feat. Significantly, he also became the first active LIV golfer to land one of the Majors.   


After 12 months of arguments, a pending court case, and players criticising each other in public, the game was stunned by events of 6 June when the PGA Tour, the DP World Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), the financial backers of LIV Golf, announced that a ‘framework agreement’ had been reached for the rival Tours to work together.

Players on all sides were shocked by the surprise announcement – especially those on the PGA Tour, who felt that their loyalty had been comprised. As the year ends, golf fans are no closer to knowing how the future of men’s elite tournament golf will look. 

It was another case of so near but yet so far for Rory McIlroy at the US Open in his quest to end that nine-year gap since his fourth Major. This time, in the exclusive surrounds of the Los Angeles Country Club, he came up one shot short as American Wyndham Clark held his nerve for a maiden Major triumph, just a month after his first PGA Tour victory.   


Rory McIlroy tuned up for The Open in the best possible fashion as he pipped local favourite Bob MacIntyre with a birdie-birdie finish at the Scottish Open.

But despite huge support for Rory and another home hero in Tommy Fleetwood, there was no stopping American left-hander Brian Harman at Royal Liverpool.

The previously unheralded Harman performed a demolition job on the best in golf as he waltzed off with the Claret Jug by six strokes on an atrocious Sunday afternoon on the Wirral. The 36-year-old from South Carolina, a keen hunter, showed no mercy as he belied pre-tournament odds of 125-1 to become the Champion Golfer of the Year.   

The biggest tournament on the women’s calendar, the US Women’s Open, headed to one of the most famous courses in America, Pebble Beach, for the first time. Allisen Corpuz chose the perfect moment to secure her first pro win, picking up a cheque for a cool $2 million – the biggest prize in women’s golf.

In the Evian Championship, Frenchwoman Celine Boutier delighted the galleries up in the Alps as she claimed the Major in commanding style – a six-shot winner.

The over-50s were battered and bruised by the horrendous conditions at the Senior Open at Royal Porthcawl in South Wales. But German Alex Cejka was smiling at the end of it as he defeated Padraig Harrington in a play-off. Cejka’s winning score across the 72 holes – five over!


Charley Hull thrilled the home crowds for the first three rounds of the Women’s Open at Walton Heath. But the English golfer could not stop world number one Lilia Vu on the Sunday.

The American woman’s five-under 67 led her to a six-shot triumph and her second Major of 2023 after collecting the Chevron Championship in April.

Viktor Hovland chose the right time to hit a hot run of form in the PGA Tour play-offs to help his bank balance as the Norwegian won the BMW Championship and then the Tour Championship in successive weeks to pick up a whopping $18 million as the Fed-Ex Cup winner.

At the LIV Golf Greenbrier tournament, big-hitting Bryson DeChambeau posted an extraordinary final round of 58 to win by six strokes. His round was made up of 13 birdies and four pars after bogeying the first!     


All 12 of Europe’s Ryder Cup team assembled for the prestigious BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. All 12 made the cut but they could not stop New Zealand’s Ryan Fox taking the title after his back-nine heroics on the final day.

Europe retained the Solheim Cup after the match finished in a captivating 14-14 draw at Finca Cortesin near Marbella, the first tie in the event’s 18th staging.

The Americans performed a clean sweep on the opening morning to win the foursomes 4-0, before Suzann Pettersen’s Europeans fought back to make it 8-8 going into the singles.

With the match in the balance, Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall produced a stunning comeback to win before Spain’s Carlota Ciganda secured the point needed to reach the magical 14 in front of her home fans and the King of Spain.    

The Ryder Cup headed to Italy for the first time, at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club just outside Rome, and it did not disappoint.

Europe, led by the brilliant captaincy of Luke Donald off the course and inspired by Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm on it, were on a mission to regain the cup after their thrashing at Whistling Straits in 2021.

The Americans were favourites, but were hindered by poor preparation and rumours of a rift in the team-room attributed to Pattrick Cantlay, who refused to wear a cap with allegations that he was not doing so over not being paid to play.

Against this backdrop, Europe whitewashed the Friday morning foursomes and did not let up, leading 9.5-2.5 after three sessions. The Americans finally showed some fight on the Saturday afternoon with the final match of the session throwing up ‘Hat-gate’ as Cantlay holed the winning putt in his fourball encounter with McIlroy.

With Rory having a putt to halve, the Northern Irishman was enraged by the behaviour of Cantlay’s caddie Joe LaCava, who McIlroy believed to have been stood in his line before he could take his putt. He missed and the anger spilled over into a car-park confrontation between McIlroy and other members of the American entourage.

Europe began the final day with a five-point lead and despite a more resolute showing from the visitors, Tommy Fleetwood’s victory over Rickie Fowler in the penultimate match ensured that the Ryder Cup would be returning to Europe by an eventual scoreline of 16-5-11.5 amid glorious.scenes in the Italian sunshine.


The rain caused havoc for the pros and amateurs at the Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland wiping out two entire days of play. But when it relented enough for a Monday finish, Matt Fitzpatrick completed a spectacular double at St Andrews. The Sheffield golfer had a commanding three-shot win in the pro event, and combined with mother Susan to claim team glory – and an unforgettable family memory over the Old Course.

Talor Gooch may have lost in a play-off to Brooks Koepka in the LIV Jeddah event, but the American emerged as the winner of the individual standings for the LIV season, collecting an $18 million cheque for his efforts. The team standings were led by Crushers GC, captained by Bryson DeChambeau alongside Charles Howell III, England’s Paul Casey and Anirban Lahiri of India.   


Rory McIlroy won his fifth Race to Dubai on the DP World Tour with an event to spare after US Ryder Cup player Max Homa clinched the Nedbank Challenge at South Africa’s Sun City.

Denmark’s Nicolai Hojgaard rounded off the European season with an impressive victory at the Dubai World Tour Championship thanks to a blistering final day 64. It showed that the young Dane had kicked on from his Ryder Cup debut.

Another Ryder Cup debutant, young Swede Ludvig Aberg won the RSM Classic for his maiden PGA Tour title, just two months after victory in Switzerland on the DP World Tour. Having had a successful debut in the match against the Americans after only turning pro in June, Aberg underlined his credentials as the breakthrough star of 2023.   


Tiger Woods completed 72 holes of tournament golf for the first time all year at his own event - the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas as Scottie Scheffler won to confirm he would finish 2023 as World No.1.

After his inspired leadership in Rome, Luke Donald was confirmed as Europe’s captain for the next Ryder Cup at Bethpage Black on New York’s Long Island in 2025. The Englishman is the first captain to do the role for successive matches since Bernard Gallacher (1991-95).   

Jon Rahm stunned the world of golf when he announced that he would be joining LIV Golf for their 2024 season in a deal believed to be worth more than $500 million. The Spaniard represents the biggest signing for the breakaway circuit since Australian Cameron Smith jumped ship shortly after winning The Open at St Andrews in 2022.

The game’s two governing bodies, The R&A and the USGA announced plans to tackle the problem of long hitting in golf. From 2028 in professional golf, golf balls will have to be produced to satisfy certain criteria of ‘Overall Distance Standard’. It is expected that new golf balls will travel around 15 yards less for the longest hitters. However, the changes will not come into effect in amateur golf until 2030 – and players are only expected to lose five yards of distance.    

About the Author

Adam Lanigan - Golf Writer

Adam is a freelance news and sports journalist who has written for the BBC, The Sunday Post, The I, The Times, The Telegraph and more. He has been writing about golf for nearly two decades and has covered 13 Open Championships and two Ryder Cups. Not only does Adam cover golf, but he has played golf for as long as he can remember. He was a member at Northenden Golf Club for around 25 years until his children arrived and his last official handicap was 11, although on any given day his form fluctuates anywhere between eight and 18.