TOP 30 PLAYERS TO WATCH
No. 21: Daniel Berger
Full of confidence as well as talent, he’s ready to start challenging good buddies Spieth and Thomas
December 10, 2017
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- December 10, 2017
Daniel Berger goes back-to-back at FedEx St. Jude
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Professional golfers have to be sure of themselves to compete with the elite and Daniel Berger is among the most confident players on the PGA TOUR.
Just ask him.
This is not a slight at Berger -- he has the talent to back up his bravado, as evidenced by his back-to-back wins at the FedEx St. Jude Classic and his big efforts in the Presidents Cup.
He was unlucky not to win twice last season with only an epic Jordan Spieth bunker hole-out in the playoff at the Travelers Championship cutting him down.
“I played great,” Berger said afterwards. “I mean, I'm here to win tournaments. I'm not here to finish second place, so it's disappointing.”
Berger grew up around sporting excellence with his father heavily involved in elite tennis and it certainly rubbed off.
He spent basically all of last season inside the top 30 of the FedExCup race, making it to the TOUR Championship for the third straight season since coming on as a rookie standout.
His goals now? Make it back to Atlanta but in a better position to contend for the FedExCup. He also wants to pick up his performances in major championships.
In 10 major starts as a professional, Berger has just one top-25 result -- a T10 at the 2016 Masters.
He also knows he needs to lift his chipping and pitching game. While he’s more than adequate off the tee and on approach to the green, it’s when he misses the dancefloor that he needs to sharpen up.
In his three seasons on TOUR, his best rank in Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green was last year’s T-128.
Expect all goals to be checked off in 2018 as the now 24-year-old leverages his experience and also controls the fiery nature and competitive drive within.
Seeing friends like Spieth and Justin Thomas getting it done has lit a fuse in Berger that won’t be quenched until he matches their exploits.
BY THE NUMBERS
How Daniel Berger ranked in Strokes Gained statistics during his last full season on the PGA TOUR.
Current 2017-18 position: 127
Playoff appearances: 3
TOUR Championship appearances: 3
Best result: 11th (2015)
INSIGHTS FROM THE INSIDERS
PGATOUR.COM’s Insiders offer their expert views on what to expect from Daniel Berger in 2018.
TOUR INSIDER by Cameron Morfit
A superb iron player, Berger proved last season he is almost the equal of Jordan Spieth when he's on. In one electrifying summer stretch, Berger successfully defended his title at the FedEx St. Jude Classic; lost to Spieth in a sudden-death playoff at the Travelers Championship; and finished T-5 at the John Deere Classic. That he also made his first Presidents Cup team, going 2-1-0 with a well-played singles victory over Si Woo Kim, should further bolster Berger's confidence going into 2018.
FANTASY INSIDER by Rob Bolton
Just like No. 24 Kevin Kisner, Berger's fantasy value exceeds his placement in this series. He enters his fourth consecutive season on the PGA TOUR having qualified for the last 10 majors and nine World Golf Championships, streaks that will be extended in 2018. He's also 3-for-3 in advancing to the TOUR Championship. Book him for six top 10s, another half-dozen top 25s and your One & Done at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. And go ahead and cross off the angle about him having success only on Bermuda greens. He's cited comfort on them over northern grasses, but the results prove that he's adapted to all types.
EQUIPMENT INSIDER by Jonathan Wall
Berger was one of the first players to start using an Odyssey O-Works Red putter. The prototype has a single black circle that gives it a similar look to his old TaylorMade Ghost Corza putter. Carries three different iron models, including a single Callaway Apex Pro '16 5-iron that offers a better distance and offset transition between game-improvement Apex CF '16 and better-player MB1.
STYLE INSIDER by Greg Monteforte
Berger has established himself as one of the best dressed players on TOUR. Round after round, he gives us modern interpretations of classic sporting looks from bygone eras. The keys to his success are pinpoint tailoring, wide stripes, and traditional colors.