The Follow-Through: Youth on the rise in PGA
02/27/2014 3:15 PM
02/27/2014 3:21 PM
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - There is a youth movement in full effect throughout the PGA Tour at the moment, and these kids have come to play.
With the 26-year-old Jason Day winning the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship title this past weekend, seven of the 15 winners this season are under 30 years of age.
Day's victory was his second of the season after also winning the ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf. Harris English, 24, also has two titles, collecting victories at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba and the Franklin Templeton Shootout along with teammate Matt Kuchar.
Twenty-nine-year-old Dustin Johnson has one title this season at the WGC-HSBC Champions as well as a pair of runner-up finishes at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and the Northern Trust Open.
A good deal of the wins could be attributed to the fact many of the longer- tenured players have taken the beginning of the new wrap-around season off, but it appears more about the skill of the next generation of golfers.
And these youngsters could not have come a better time.
We have grown accustomed to seeing traditional names like Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson atop the weekly leaderboards in recent memory, but they are slowly climbing in age and it will soon be time to pass the torch.
Those two in particular have proven it is not quite time to hang up their golf shoes yet, as they are both coming off more than productive campaigns, but when that day comes, they will leave the future of the sport in plenty capable hands.
First in line of the youth movement is reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Jordan Spieth. The 20-year-old burst on the scene last year with seven top-10 finishes between the PGA and Web.com tours before earning his first career win at the John Deere Classic.
He had zero status on the PGA Tour prior to that victory and has carried his momentum into the 2013-14 campaign. Aside from missing the cut at the Sony Open in Hawaii, he has not finished worse than a share of 19th in seven starts this season.
Another name to watch out for is 24-year-old Patrick Reed, who earned his second career victory this season at the Humana Challenge. His first PGA Tour title came last year at the Wyndham Championship, where he defeated Spieth in a playoff.
Also not to be forgotten in the mix of newcomers is former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy.
The 24-year-old Northern Irishman has fallen off the radar recently following his tumultuous 2013 season that saw him miss four cuts and fail to post a victory.
But McIlroy has shown some promise of returning to form this season, as he started the year with three straight top-10 finishes before being eliminated in the second round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
It would not be a surprise to see one of these names emerge from the crowd to claim at least one of the major championships this season.
That would further solidify the threat these under-30 golfers pose to the elder statesman of the game.
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