TOP 30 PLAYERS TO WATCH
No. 23: Jhonattan Vegas
Pretty easy to identify the early favorite of the RBC Canadian Open – it’s the two-time defending champ
December 08, 2017
Jhonattan Vegas successfully defends his title at RBC Canadian
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Viva Jhonny Vegas ... Viva Jhonny Vegas ... Viva … Viva … Jhonny Vegas!
It was a memorable chant at the Presidents Cup in 2017 as the International Team representative from Venezuela became a crowd favorite.
The experience garnered from the event – he bounced back from an 0-4-0 result in the first three days to beat Jordan Spieth in Sunday singles, albeit in an American rout -- could prove a catalyst for the three-time PGA TOUR winner to jump ahead another level in class this season.
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And just what would that level be? It is consistency of performance and stepping up in the bigger events. It is playing like his International teammates Adam Scott, Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama – almost always in contention when in a field.
Leading into his defense of the RBC Canadian Open last summer, Vegas had missed five straight cuts. He missed 10 on the year – not good enough for the high standards he wants to meet.
He missed the weekend at THE PLAYERS Championship and all four major championships and it has him working harder than ever on his game.
Already he has climbed one of his mini mountains by making the cut in all four of his fall starts. While he failed to contend in any of them, it was a step towards his consistency goals.
Vegas is the type of player you can’t help but be drawn to. The emotion of his game is there for all to see. He plays with power, and usually precision.
For his game to take the ultimate leap, his putter will need to cooperate. His best rank in Strokes Gained: Putting over the last five seasons in 77th; last season, it was 171st.
If he can get the flat stick singing like his Presidents Cup fans, he will be a force.
BY THE NUMBERS
How Jhonattan Vegas ranked in Strokes Gained statistics during his last full season on the PGA TOUR.
Current 2017-18 position: 92nd
Playoff appearances: 4
TOUR Championship appearances: 2
Best result: 23rd (2017)
INSIGHTS FROM THE INSIDERS
PGATOUR.COM’s Insiders offer their expert views on what to expect from Jhonattan Vegas in 2018.
TOUR INSIDER by Cameron Morfit
Vegas is a superstar when he's on but continues to search for ever-elusive consistency. Last season, after missing five straight cuts, he successfully defended his title at the RBC Canadian Open. He went 0-4 in team play in his first Presidents Cup at Liberty National, then beat Jordan Spieth in singles. Vegas will likely look to improve his long game in 2018, as he was 134th in driving accuracy and 153rd in greens in regulation last season.
FANTASY INSIDER by Rob Bolton
The Venezuelan sustained the kind of form to warrant attention here, but he doesn't sniff a fantasy top 30. He's too inconsistent amid a busy schedule. His value is in unexpected punches that have proven timely to yield sudden perks, which is one way of endorsing him primarily in longer-term formats. He grants that faith with a knack of lacing it tee to green often enough to wonder how he slumps from such a repeatable approach in the first place.
EQUIPMENT INSIDER by Jonathan Wall
Signed an equipment deal with Mizuno in 2017 after Nike exited the equipment industry last year. Was the first player on TOUR to use Mizuno's MP-18 irons. Won the RBC Canadian Open for the second year in a row with an old set of MP-4 irons that replaced his MP-18's in Canada. Scotty Cameron Newport 2 putter is made from a high-end German Stainless Steel reserved for Tour-only putters.
STYLE INSIDER by Greg Monteforte
Vegas’ sporty looks are examples of the state of golf apparel as we move into 2018. He is one of the few players who can dial up vibrant hues and pull them off with well-balanced setups. Expect him to be outfitted in the freshest styles and colors from Nike in the New Year.