2022 SEASON IN REVIEW: HY FLYERS GC
Written by MIKE MCALLISTER
For both captain Phil Mickelson and his Hy Flyers GC, it took longer than expected to find their rhythm in 2022. Mickelson struggled with his own game in the first half of the season; collectively, the Hy Flyers didn't get dialed in until Cameron Tringale's arrival prior to the fourth event completed a lineup that would stay intact the rest of the way.
With Mickelson playing better in the second half, Tringale and Bernd Wiesberger offering experience and stability, and 23-year-old Matthew Wolff tapping into his potential as one of the sport's youngest and brightest stars, the Hy Flyers raised their game and became much more consistently competitive.
Always an interesting team to follow because of their 52-year-old World Golf Hall of Fame captain, the Hy Flyers eventually turned into an interesting team to watch.
For the inaugural event in London, Mickelson drafted a 30-something (Justin Harding), a 20-something (Chase Koepka) and a teenager (15-year-old amateur Ratchanon Chantananuwat). For the next event in Portland, three new faces joined Mickelson – Bernd Wiesberger (tranferring from Niblicks GC), Itthipat Buranatanyarat (transferring from Smash GC) and new LIV Golf member Matthew Wolff. Harding replaced Buranatanyarat at Bedminster. Cameron Tringale then joined LIV Golf prior to Boston, taking Harding's spot. The Mickelson-Wolff-Wiesberger-Tringale lineup remained in place the rest of the season.
Hy Flyers GC starts
TEAM: The only regular season event in which Hy Flyers GC earned team money came in Chicago. With Mickelson posting his lowest score of the year, a 6-under 66, supported by Tringale's 68 and Wolff's 72, the Hy Flyers were a collective 10 under in the final round, tying for the lowest team score of the day. Tringale birdied the par-3 13th at Rich Harvest Farms on his last hole to elevate the Hy Flyers into third place, and the club ultimately shared the third-place winnings with Punch GC.
INDIVIDUAL: Matthew Wolff's final-round 7-under 64 in Bedminster wasn't his lowest score of the season, as he posted a 63 (also 7 under, and with an ace) in the opening round of his next start in Boston. But his sizzling finish at Trump National Bedminster moved him from T11 to start the day onto the podium after the final putt dropped. His final total matched Dustin Johnson's, and thanks to the tiebreaker rules with Wolff having the better final round, he took second place in points ahead of Johnson. It was the only time all season that a Hy Flyers player finished on the podium.
MATTHEW WOLFF. Looking to reset a career that seemed to be in a holding pattern, Wolff eagerly embraced LIV Golf's team concept and used it as motivation to show off the big-hitting talent that made him one of golf's biggest attractions right out of college. In his first start in Portland, he was the only Hy Flyer to finish under par, and in the next event at Bedminster, he finished second to winner Henrik Stenson. The fireworks continued in Boston, as his opening-round 63 included arguably the biggest shot of the entire LIV Golf season – a hole-in-one at the 178-yard par-3 second hole. Wolff eventually finished sixth in the season-long Individual Champion race, the highest placement of any Hy Flyers member.
Others considered: Phil Mickelson had a two-tournament stretch late in the season in which he led the Hy Flyers in scoring, and he also battled Cameron Smith in the Team Championship quarterfinals before losing 1 up. From a LIV Golf standpoint, he also was a key proponent of the rule allowing players to wear shorts during competition, and was impressive as an analyst on the live broadcasts from Miami.
Regular Season Counting Scores
LONDON (+12), 10th place
Rd. 1: Harding 68, Mickelson 69
Rd. 2: Chantananuwat 70, C. Koepka 72
Rd. 3: Harding 69, Mickelson 76, C. Koepka 78
PORTLAND (+5), 11th place
Rd. 1: Wolff 72, Mickelson 75
Rd. 2: Wolff 71, Wiesberger 74
Rd. 3: Wolff 70, Wiesberger 73, Buranatanyarat 74
BEDMINSTER (-9), 4th place
Rd. 1: Wolff 70, Harding 70
Rd. 2: Wolff 70, Mickelson 73
Rd. 3: Wolff 64, Harding 70, Mickelson 71
BOSTON (-22), 8th place
Rd. 1: Wolff 63, Wiesberger 66
Rd. 2: Wiesberger 66, Tringale 66
Rd. 3: Tringale 68, Mickelson 69, Wolff 70
CHICAGO (-17), 3rd place
Rd. 1: Wolff 67, Mickelson 70
Rd. 2: Wiesberger 72, Tringale 72
Rd. 3: Mickelson 66, Tringale 68, Wolff 72
Prize earnings: $250,000
BANGKOK (-24), 10th place
Rd. 1: Mickelson 69, Tringale 70, Wiesberger 73
Rd. 2: Wolff 66, Tringale 68, Wiesberger 69
Rd. 3: Wiesberger 68, Mickelson 69, Tringale 72
JEDDAH (-25), 5th place
Rd. 1: Mickelson 67, Wiesberger 68, Wolff 68
Rd. 2: Wolff 66, Tringale 67, Wiesberger 68
Rd. 3: Wiesberger 65, Wolff 66, Tringale 70
QUARTERFINALS: Lost to Punch GC, 2-1
Mickelson lost to Smith, 1 up
Wolff lost to Leishman, 4 & 2
Wiesberger/Tringale def. Jones/Ormsby, 3 & 2
Prize earnings: $1,000,000
By The Numbers
4 – Top 10 individual finishes by Hy Flyers players (Wolff 2nd in Bedminster; Mickelson 8th in Chicago; Wolff 5th, Wiesberger 8th in Jeddah)
4 – Rounds during the regular season in which Hy Flyers posted (or tied for) the lowest team score
8 – Total players appearing in the Hy Flyers lineup for 2022
16 – Cumulative under par for Phil Mickelson in the last three regular season events
28 – Cumulative over par for Mickelson in the first four regular season events
63 – Lowest score shot by any Hy Flyers player during the regular season (Wolff, Rd. 1 in Boston)
69.05 – Matthew Wolff's scoring average for his 18 regular season rounds
69.83 – Cameron Tringale's scoring average for his 12 regular season rounds
70.89 – Bernd Wiesberger's scoring average for his 18 regular season rounds for Hy Flyers
71.57 – Phil Mickelson's scoring average for his 21 regular season rounds
71.869 – Scoring average for all Hy Flyers GC players during the seven regular season events (course average was 71.0)
129 – Cumulative team total for Hy Flyers in Rd. 1 at Boston (Wolff 63, Wiesberger 66). It was the only time a team shot sub-130 for two counting scores in the first round during the first five tournaments
323.45 – Average in yards of all measured drives by Matthew Wolff in his six regular season starts
389 – Yardage of one of Wolff's measured drives in the first round in Bangkok, his longest drive of the season
The Final Word
MATTHEW WOLFF ON THE APPEAL OF TEAM GOLF
In college, I feel like I really thrived. In every other sport, every other organization, you're on a team, and I think there's something to be said about playing hard for yourself and your caddie, but when you have other people relying on you, it's different. And you give everything you've got ... I just feel like there was a dynamic there that just really suited me. And that was a big decision why I wanted to come be a part of LIV.