Patrick Reed’s win at Augusta National on Sunday was the latest in a scintillating run of success for American golf.
The 26-year-old’s triumph means all four majors are currently held by American players, and all under the age of 27 – with six of the world’s top 11 players also coming from across the pond.
American golf is certainly making a splash.
Brooks Koepka (27), Jordan Spieth (24) and Justin Thomas (24) hold the US Open, The Open Championship and PGA Championship trophies – with world number six Rickie Fowler yet to win but consistently proving he can challenge at the top of the leaderboard.
At 29, Fowler may be the oldest of the five players but has shown he has the quality, nerve and skillset to win a major – shooting a final round 67 at the Masters to finish one shot behind eventual winner Reed on 15-under-par.
If you contrast America’s rise to Europe’s, no big player has kicked in the same way, apart from world number three Jon Rahm who sealed a fourth place finish at Augusta and won the CareerBuilder Challenge in January.
Of course, there are stars like Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton and Matt Fitzpatrick continuing to shine on the European Tour, but none have really thrived at a major.
Maybe it’s the college and amateur tour in America that has instilled this strength and talent in youngsters, with players like Bryson DeChambeau (24) and Thomas coming straight out of university and competing against marquee names.
Although DeChambeau may not have placed inside the top-10 at Majors – with two top-25 finishes at the Masters and US Open – he is still a thrilling prospect who has the chance to light up the world stage for the next decade.
In Dustin Johnson, America have the best player in the word. Despite not winning a major since the US Open in 2016, DJ has had the rest of the field dancing to his own tune for over 60 weeks – holding a grip on top spot since February 2017.
Johnson may be an elder lemon at 33 but has proven his consistency week in week out – with Rahm and Thomas coming closest to dethroning his long run.
There’s no doubt that Fowler, Thomas, Koepka and Reed will continue to win tournaments and challenge at Majors, with hope of other youngsters stepping up at various points of the year.
On talent alone, Spieth is the driving force of golf in the States for the foreseeable future.
Putting may not be his strongest suit at the moment (he is currently ranked 185th on strokes gained: putting on the PGA Tour), but the Texan has the composure, confidence and in-game intelligence to be a menace at the big events.
In a time where golf seems to be relying on the much-heralded and hoped for ‘return of Tiger Woods’ to bail them out of the general disinterest shown towards the sport, they need to look at a figure like Spieth as their true saviour.
He may not be the most exciting character to listen to in post-round interviews but he’s 24, consistent and has already won three majors in three years – with another five top-5 finishes to add to that since 2014.
It’s a healthy argument to have and definitely adds to the interest ahead of not only the other three Major championships over the next four months but the Ryder Cup at the end of September in Paris.
American golf is in a dominant place.
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