Letter | Winning youth surge symbolic for future of golf

08/17/2014 12:00 AM

08/15/2014 6:02 PM

Now well into the 2014 PGA and LPGA seasons, just in case you haven’t already noticed, we are witnessing a sensational talented era of American and global youth playing exceptional weekly winning golf on both major tours. It’s become a TV-weekend occurrence, watching the play of this accelerated new generation of unheralded, but talented, 20-something phenoms.

Star rookies, all possess a winning force at the game’s two highest levels of professional golf competition. They don’t just think about being in contention on Sunday, but winning and going to the pay window.

And because of this, there exist ceaseless “hot button” youth story lines in both TV and professional golf print. Unheralded American and global rookies, who usually occupy the back of the field just hoping to make the 36-hole cut, have now moved up to the front on Sunday’s final day of play and are winning regular and major events. That speaks to the current state of golf.

When referring to today’s rookies, age has become part of their names, starting with a low number. Surprisingly so, final results show that numerous winners haven’t even been in the top 100 in the world. This boy wonder youth surge has also revealed that there is a current slight erosion and Sunday meltdowns among numerous high profile aging veterans, long recognized for their dominating years of being consistent winners.

Any sport predictions, especially in golf, are difficult, but at the risk of being wrong, it’s my judgment that the winning dominance held by PGA and LPGA Americans is over. For instance, for those still in the camp of Tiger Woods, now 38, going on something much older, he now has more surgeries (five) than green jackets (four). And Phil Mikelson is closer to 50 and soon eligible for the Senior Champions Tour. All things, after all, must end but both, without a doubt, utterly dominated as dynamically as any golfer in the game’s long professional history. I don’t see it happening again unless somebody comes along who has perfected the unperfectable.

Today, the pro golf winning theme has changed; and that is: parity has arrived and now no longer are there dominant winners, and one thing has become very evident — anyone can win. Now, the whole field chases the leaders. And no one fears the man wearing black and red on Sunday’s final round to clinch victory from the field.

Final thought: “Who” has now become the tours’ new symbolic shout-out buzz word among PGA and LPGA players and fan base when making reference to tournament leaders, pairings or winners? Names like Hideki Matsuyama or Victor Dubuisson on the PGA tour, or Shanshan Feng or Erina Hara on the LPGA tour. Who did you say?

The writer lives in Myrtle Beach.

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