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Golf Desperately Needs a Savior

June 23rd, 2009 · 2 Comments

It is possible that Lucas Glover has busted loose and is now poised to fulfill his destiny as the next big thing in golf, that long awaited challenger to Tiger Woods golf has so long needed to make his quest to unseat Jack Nicklaus more than a mere formality.

But the record books are filled with one hit wonders in the majors. So, unless Glover validates his victory and soon, he will go down as a mediocre player who had his one day in the sun, er, clouds.

Unfortunately his win, though popular in the Glover family, was not what golf needed. Not for the business of golf. And not for us fans who have been thirsting for another win from the Top Two or that gang of young phenoms we hope will emerge as the Watson or Trevino of the Woods Era.

So far this year we’ve been “treated” to Phil Mickelson’s twin collapses and to Tiger Woods’ poor putting in both majors when a win by either in either major would have provided the tonic golf so desperately needs.

Instead we first suffered through Kenny Perry’s demise at the Masters, which lead to Angle Cabrera’s second major. Cabrera could, of course, be the great Tiger Stopper as he did beat him by a shot at the 2007 US Open. But chances are that this erratic playing 39 year old has, like the late blooming Mark O’Meara, used up his major’s magic.

Then at the Open, when 95% of the gallery at Bethpage were rooting for Mickelson, we get stuck with Lucas Glover, who’s previous best in 12 majors was a 20t at last year’s Masters.

Which brings us to the supposedly emerging young and not so young potential superstars. A win by any of the following players would have been far more satisfying because their pedigrees suggest that more majors could be in the offing.
Henrik Stenson (6t – age 32) He should be in his prime as his PLAYERS win suggested.
Rory McIlroy (10t – age 20) His first top 10 in a major, he could be on course to matching Woods, who won his first at age 21, or Nicklaus, who won his first at 22.
Sergio Garcia (10t – age 29) This is his first top 10 of the year on American soil! Garcia has two more chances to win his first major before he turns 30.
Anthony Kim (16t – age 24) He’s rapidly losing his stature as golf’s next big superstar as he’s failed to capitalize on the momentum he established last season.
Sean O’Hair (23t – age 26) He has a swing to die for and he’s obsessed with becoming a champion like his buddy Tiger, but his best in a major was a 10t at this year’s Masters.
Camilo Villegas (33t – age 27) Like Kim, he’s failed to build on what appeared to be a breakout season last year.
Adam Scott (36t – age 28) I’m not sure he belongs on the emerging stars list any longer as he failed to contend in his tenth straight major.
Andres Romero (47t – age 28) He looked like a sure thing when blitzed Carnoustie with 11 birdies on 2007, but he’s slipped to 65th in the WGR.

Others Potential Stars at the Open
Luke Donald (MC)
Martin Kaymer (MC)
Nick Watney (MC)
Zach Johnson (MC)
Justin Rose (MC)
Paul Casey (MC)

Tags: Tiger vs. Jack

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 BD // Jun 23, 2009 at 11:50 am

    I share your sense of letdown over the outcome of the U.S. Open. In retrospect, it would have been a lot more interesting if the trophy had gone to Phil, Tiger, David Duval, Sergio, Paddy, or just any previous major winner like Zach Johnson or Mike Weir.

    In regard to the emergence of a young, serious rival to Tiger, while that would be great for the game, it just doesn’t seem very likely to happen, if by “serious rival” we mean a young player who can start winning majors by his mid-20s and rack up 4 or more by the time he’s 30. Obviously, nobody has done that since Tiger came on the scene and, before that, the list of young guns who have reached that level of success at such a young age is impressively short: Ballesteros, Watson, Nicklaus, Player, Palmer, Jones, Sarazen, and Hagen. In order for such a titan to emerge and really compete with (rather than follow in the footsteps of) Tiger, they are going to have to start pretty soon, as Tiger is already 33. Most of the guys on your list are already closing in on 30.

    Of course, guys like McIllroy and Kim are young enough to accomplish practically anything in their careers. However, I think it’s likely that Tiger will reach his 40s without having to share the limelight with any new steamrolling superstar. By that time, Tiger will be safely enshrined as a legend and it won’t make much difference to his stature in the game if Rory or Anthony happen to have reached the level of 5 careers majors.

  • 2 Phil // Jun 23, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    BD,
    You are right. I felt a serious loss in attitude towards the game right after the Open though I’ve quickly recovered. Still, I am very frustrated that such a long list of highly touted players has fired and fallen back.
    I would like to see one guy go toe to toe with Tiger and cost him a couple of majors while Tiger’s on his way to whatever – 18, 19+ – while they win their half dozen or so.

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