American young guns eye Major domination
Post by Sports Writer, Derek Clements
WHAT a year this has been for American golf. In despair after another hammering in the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles last year, the powers-that-be announced a task force to look at the reasons for their systematic failure in the world of golf's premier team event.
To those of us in Europe, it seemed a rather over-the-top reaction to a problem with an obvious answer. Boys, you keep losing because you aren't good enough and because you keep fielding golfers with dreadful Ryder Cup records - Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk may have won a bucketful of tournaments between them, but their Ryder Cup records are embarrassingly poor.
And now, maybe, they have reason to look forward with optimism. It has nothing to do with any miracles performed by the task force either. Sport is cyclical and, just when America needed them, a group of fabulous young players, unaffected by failure, has emerged in the nick of time.
Jordan Spieth, aged 21, has already won The Masters in fabulous style, and it would be no surprise if another of his contemporaries were to finish first at the US Open. Patrick Reed, 24, and Rickie Fowler, 26, were members of that Ryder Cup team at Gleneagles, along with Spieth, but no blame can possibly be attached to them.
Jordan Spieth leads the way as the new American super star!
Reed has already won this season, and Fowler produced a stunning finish to claim the so-called fifth major, the Players Championship, at Sawgrass.
Spieth, Fowler, Reed - not a bad start for any Ryder Cup team. But those three are simply the tip of the iceberg. Ben Martin, 27, Robert Streb, 28, and Brooks Koepka, 25, are all in their twenties and have all won this season. Chris Kirk has just turned 30 and Billy Horschel, the FedEx Playoff champion, is 28. Throw in Tony Finau, 25, and Daniel Berger, 22, and you begin to see just how bright the future could really be.
Personally, I think two of the best are men who are still looking for their maiden wins - Justin Thomas, 22, and Kevin Kisner, who has just turned 31. In the 15 events in which Thomas has made the cut this season, he has finished inside the top 25 on each occasion, amassing almost $1.5m.
Kisner's run of form is even more remarkable. He has finished runner-up twice, has five top-10 finishes and six top 25 finishes, earning well over $2m. This is all the more remarkable when you learn that he missed four successive cuts.
So, yes, the future of the PGA Tour, and American golf looks to be in very good hands indeed.
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