June 20, 2011
I spent some time today reading all of the wrap us from the U.S. Open. It is overwhelming how many comparisons came out between Rory and Tiger. I can’t say that I disagree with all of them, but I don’t want to brand him the “new” Tiger after one major win. I think he will win plenty more and be around for quite some time, but you never know. Golf is a funny game.
Even more surprising, to me, was the amount of people finally accepting the fact that the new younger crop of players are getting really really good. Jason Day hit his ball everywhere but the fairway on Sunday and managed to take home a solo second place. I feel confident saying that Day will figure out his driver and put together a heck of a career. He is talented beyond belief and he doesn’t get frazzled. No matter where he was on the course he was focused on his next shot. It was very impressive. It actually reminded me a lot of watching Phil play. His tee shots can get wayward, but you know he has some magic in his game that will get him to the green and in the hole safely.
The reason this surprised me so much was because outside of Rory, Chappel and Day there weren’t a ton of young guns playing that great at the Open. Let me re-phrase that; besides Chappel there weren’t any young American players playing well in the open. Davis Love III tied for 11th for crying out loud. Dustin Johnson was the only notable young American player on anywhere near the leader board and he finished T23 along with Gary Woodland and Bill Haas. Webb Simpson finished T14, but I don’t think we can consider him our next great hope for American golf.
Where was Mahan, Fowler, Bubba, Kim and Watney? Bubba was the only one to make the cut and he finished at +9 for the tournament. The rest of the contenders in the Open were older veteran American players and Europeans. Other that Rory and Day can we really sit back yet and say the younger players have taken over? I don’t think we can just yet, but Rory’s win certainly makes me feel confident that we will be able to say that with unwavering confidence very soon.
June 8, 2011
I have struggled with this question quite a bit ever since Tiger announced he won’t be playing in the U.S. Open next week. When I first heard the news I wasn’t that surprised that he was taking a tournament off to heal his leg. I was surprised he was taking the U.S. Open off though. The U.S. Open is what Tiger is all about. It is where he recorded the most iconic win of his career at Torrey Pines.
I am still very excited for the U.S. Open and plan to watch as much of it as I possibly can. I have been writing for a while now that people need to get over Tiger Woods and embrace the new winners out on Tour and give them their due. I still hold that stance, but part of me is having second thoughts about being super excited for the U.S. Open without Tiger playing. He adds an undeniable pulse of excitement to any tournament he plays in and even more excitement to tournaments he is in contention to win.
Does this mean I am back on the Tiger wagon? Not a chance, but I do think his in ability to insert himself into contention more has been a disappointment from a viewers standpoint. I do think Golf is evolving at the moment and we may never see the Tiger era of old again. What if we don’t? Will golf melt away into a nothing sport? I don’t think so and I think the face of the game is taking shape right here and now in the midst of Tigers decline. Young guys like Day, Scott, Johnson, McIlroy, Fowler, Kaymer and Manassero are taking the spotlight much more and are going through growing pains along the way that are going to shape them into major championship winners in the coming years.
I guess my main point here is that I am upset Tiger isn’t playing next week because I enjoy watching him play good golf. Face it, we all enjoy watching it. At the same time, I don’t think all is lost because there will be a new deserving U.S. Open champion next weekend that we will get to praise, knock down and dissect his game and longevity for another full year! I just hope the winner can hold a torch to the level of class and respect Graeme McDowell brought to the title of U.S. Open Champion!