By Paul Myers
Most players on the PGA Tour have to work their way up the ranks over time, usually with plenty of stops in smaller events along the way. That was not the case for Seung-yul Noh. This talented player from South Korea turned pro when he was just 16 years old, and recorded his first win on the European Tour when he was just 18. That is an incredible start to a career, and he has only continued to build on that early success.
Noh is currently ranked 118th in the Official World Golf Rankings. While that might not sound particularly notable, it is important to remember that he is still just 23 years of age. In addition to his young age, he just recorded his first PGA Tour victory in 2014, likely setting the stage for many more to come. He was the youngest event winner on Tour in 2014, taking the Zurich Classic of New Orleans as a 22 year old. There may still be some developing left to do for this young player, but Seung-yul Noh is already a force at the highest levels of the game.
Looking at the PGA Tour stats for Noh so far in the 2015 season reveals something of a mixed bag. There are certainly some statistical categories in which he excels, while there are other areas that could use work. Considering his young age, this should be expected. As he continues to grow and develop as a world class player, it seems likely that he will manage to improve his game in some of the areas that currently give him trouble.
For example, he is already a player with plenty of power off the tee, averaging 289.5 yards per drive. However, he is only hitting 53.83% of the fairways, which ranks him 188th on Tour. Keeping the ball in play is one of the most-important attributes for a golfer to possess, so this is something that Noh will certainly be working on. His relatively low greens in regulation percentage of 63.30% is likely tied to the fact that he is playing many approach shots from the rough.
One of the biggest strengths in the golf game of Seung-yul Noh to this point in 2015 is hit accuracy on long approach shots. When hitting an approach shot from more than 200 yards out, Noh averages a proximity to the hole of 43’8’’. That is an impressive number, and one that ranks 5th on the Tour in that category. Obviously Noh possesses a quality golf swing to be able to hit that many excellent shots from long range.
Knows How to Handle the Big Stage
Noh is yet to break through in a big way during a major championship, but he has already acquitted himself quite well in each of the four big events. Despite his young age, Noh has already made the cut in each of the four majors, with a T21 in the 2012 PGA Championship being his best finish to date. In his most recent major, Noh posted a T38 at Augusta in the 2015 Masters.
Simply put, it would seem that the sky is the limit for this talented young Korean player. Very few golfers can claim such lofty accomplishments at such a young age. With a win already under his belt and respectable finishes at each of the four majors, Noh can now set his sights on continued improvement. Golf fans would be wise to keep an eye on this accomplished and exciting young player.