2015 Preview: Victor Dubuisson

Victor Dubuisson at the Junior Ryder Cup.

Victor Dubuisson at the Junior Ryder Cup.

Welcome to the 2015 Golf Preview, where I’ll take a look at selected golfers and examine what to expect over the next twelve months. Today, we look at Victor Dubuisson.

The History

Dubuisson first really appeared on the radar of golf fans late in 2013 when he won in Turkey against a loaded field, but it was at the WGC-Match Play back in February when he really exploded in the finals against Jason Day, turning himself into Victor Duballesteros with some of the shots he hit to extend the match. He would eventually go on to lose to Day, but the 23-year old from France had made his mark and even though the rest of his season wasn’t the best, thanks in part to a shoulder injury that sidelined him for a decent chunk of the year, he sneaked inside the top-10 in the final two majors of the year and was able to qualify for his first Ryder Cup.

Teaming up with Graeme McDowell, Dubuisson went 2-0 in the foursome portion of the event before halving his singles match on Sunday against Zach Johnson and bringing his overall match play record in 2014 to a very solid 10-5-1. Post-Ryder Cup, he had a very nice run as well with a pair of runner-up finishes in Australia and Dubai.

ESPN’s Victor Dubuisson Headshot

ESPN.com has a lot of great golf content, but their player headshots are, shall we say, a little outdated, with Ryan Moore leading the way. As such, I’m introducing the Ryan Moore headshot ranking system. Each player will get a ranking from 1-10, with 10 being the most outdated possible.

dubuisson espn headshot

Dubuisson looks like he should be giving me lessons on the bunny hill instead of with a 6-iron, but this is probably the least outdated photo we’re going to find here from ESPN.

1/10.

1-moore-head

Why You Should Watch

2014 really seemed like the year that the next generation of golfers took over. Rory climbed to the top of the heap again, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed, Hideki Matsuyama and Jason Day all won tournaments, and Rickie Fowler was in contention to win all four majors. With all of that going on, combined with the fact that he plays a lot in Europe, it seemed like Dubuisson kind of got lost in the shuffle, which might actually be the way that he wants it to happen. Throughout 2014 and into the Ryder Cup, a lot was made of the fact that no one really seems to know much about the native of Cannes, and not just because he hasn’t been on the scene for very long either.

Words like enigmatic and unconventional were used and even McDowell, who has played frequently with Dubuisson over the past 18 months, suggested that he was a “man of mystery.” With the prevalence of social media and other factors, it’s almost impossible for someone to exist these days in the same way that Ben Hogan did over 50 years ago, hidden and living a life of privacy with letting few people in. Adam Scott has managed this to some level, but for the most part, we just don’t see it very often and it’s a little refreshing, at least to me. Maybe we don’t know much about the guy, but do we really need to know? What should matter is that he’s a great player, who clearly has a flair for the dramatic, and he should be around for the foreseeable future.

Dubuisson in one two GIFs

Ridiculous save number one by Dubuisson at the first playoff hole.

Ridiculous save number one by Dubuisson at the first playoff hole.

And the second save.

And the second save.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I get the feeling that these two shots are going to be what defines Dubuisson for the next little while, partially because this is when a lot of people were first introduced to the guy. Sure, there was some measure of luck involved with the result and he hit two pretty horrible shots to get to those spots in the first place, but to do it twice and on back to back holes, shows that there just might be something extra special with Dubuisson’s game.

The Question

What’s the ceiling?

In the piece linked above, McDowell is very high on Dubuisson and what the future holds:

‘This kid is the next superstar in Europe.’

‘It’s been such a pleasure to play with him. He might be the best kid I’ve played with since Rory McIlroy, and that says a lot.’

Obviously, nothing in golf is ever certain and the list of players who have either underachieved or never really done much of anything at the pro level is much longer than the list of real success stories, but the praise being given to Dubuisson from the other players is noticeable and I would be shocked if we didn’t see Dubuisson win at least once in 2015 and contend in all four majors.

We may not know much about the guy, but he’s definitely here to stay.

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