I’m not sure that it’s accurate to say that he improved his game over the past year. He was 169th in scrambling for the year coming into the Open and 1st for the week of the Open. Does that constitute an improvement or just a hot week? The coming months will determine if he has made a lasting improvement to his game or if he just had a “hot hand” last week.
Either way, he seems like a very nice guy who certainly deserved to win last week but only time will tell where he belongs in the pantheon of golf greats.