Nigel's Top 10 Professionals to follow in 2020

Nigel's Top 10 Professionals to follow in 2020

Golf Planet Holidays’ resident pro Nigel Burch spent many years playing golf around the world, especially in South Africa. Now, when he’s not crafting golf holidays for our clients he enjoys following the successes of his fellow professionals.  As a qualified golf instructor he keeps his eyes open for the stars for the future. There were 16 first-time winners on Tour in 2019, which heralds an exciting golf year ahead.

As we start another action-packed golfing year,  Nigel picks his Top 10 professional golfers to follow on the European Tour 2020.

The season kicks off on 9 January with the South African Open at Randpark Golf Club, Johannesburg. Lucky Nigel will be in South Africa looking after our golfers who are either on personalised golf tours put together  by Golf Planet Holidays or joining Nigel at the end of January for this hosted golf tour around Cape Town.

As it’s a Ryder Cup year, with the match taking place on the Straits Course at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin from September 22-27, the competition is even more intense as the players bid for coveted places on Team Europe and Team USA. The 12-man European team is made up of the first four players from the European Points List, followed by the leading five players from the World Points List. Captain Padraig Harrington will make three Wild Card picks.

Will any of Nigel’s choices make the list?

Nigel says:

  1. Jon Rahm. He’s a dead cert for Team Europe, currently topping the European points list. He also pocketed five million dollars after securing both the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai and the top prize from the Race to Dubai bonus pool. He made his first appearance for Team Europe at the 2018 Ryder Cup held at Golf National in France, memorably beating Tiger Woods on the 17th hole in his singles match. This popular Spaniard deserves his first Major win in 2020  - could it be the Masters…?
  2. Robert “Bob” MacIntyre had an incredible 2019 winning the Italian Open and being named as Rookie of the year. He was the first Scot since 1879 to have a top 10 finish in his Open debut and I predict that in 2020 he will become the best left-handed golfer in the world. He’s teetering on the edge of Team Europe, let’s hope he makes it.
  3. Eric “Fred” Van Rooyen. This tall South African from Johannesburg looks set to build on his steady progress in 2019, winning his first European tour title at the Scandinavian Invitation. He made a staggering 451 birdies on Tour during 2019 over 103 rounds. Could he start 2020 with a win on home soil?
  4. Benjamin Hebert. From south-west France, Benjamin came joint second in the recent Turkish Open at the Montgomerie Maxx after a six man play off under floodlights. This is deservedly a very popular course with our clients on golf holidays to Turkey. He also came second in the French Open at Golf National. Surely deserves to reach the top of the podium in 2020?
  5. Adri Arnaus. This young Spaniard turned professional in 2017. He has won the Alps tour Order of Merit, finished second on the European Challenge Tour rankings and already has three runner-up finishes on the European Tour in his rookie year. As a young player he used to room with his buddy Jon Rahm and they share the same mental coach. Adri is a wizard around the greens like most Spanish golfers.
  6. Lucas Bjerregard. - This Danish player had his first win on the European Tour at the Portuguese Masters held at the Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course in 2019, which is very popular for golf holidays in Portugal. He held off a star-studded field including Padraig Harrington and Matt Wallace to recover the trophy he won in 2017. It should mark the start of something exciting.
  7. Matthew Southgate. I’ll admit to a bias here as Matthew was a member of my home club, Thorpe Hall, Southend. He should have won the Dunhill Links but I am confident he will get his maiden victory in 2020. As someone who grew up next to the sea, he loves links golf!
  8. Kalle Samooja. There must be something in the Scandinavian water as four of my Top Ten picks are from this part of the world. Kalle is an exciting Finnish player with great potential, one of the best ball strikers on tour.
  9. Mikko Korhonen. A relatively late starter, turning pro at the age of 24. Now aged 39 he has had his struggles along the way. He achieved his first win on the European Tour in June 2018 at the Shot Clock Masters. 2019 saw him winning the Volvo China Open. Will 2020 finally see him becoming a regular contender?
  10. Rasmus Hojgaard – only 18 years old this outstanding Danish player just scooped top prize at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open at Heritage Golf Club – in only his fifth European tour event. He showed an extremely steady hand in the three-way play off, going birdie-birdie-eagle and sealing the deal with a 12 foot putt on the third extra hole. He turned professional earlier in 2019 and is the first player born this century to make it through Qualifying School. He’s my tip for Rookie of the Year.


When the year is over, I’ll look back and see how well my crystal (golf) ball worked!