2014 Golf: Young Tour Pros Needing a Win


Jul 20, 2014; Wirral, GBR; Rickie Fowler tees off on the 4th hole during the final round at the 143rd Open Championship at The Royal Liverpool Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

I had great hopes for this golf season that some of our young pros would step up their games to offset the absence of Tiger Woods, and the poor season that Phil Mickelson has had. With Rickie Fowler getting some swing tips from Butch Harmon, it looked like the season that he would break out of the pack. Along with the success that Jordan Spieth had in 2013, they looked like a couple of candidates to have good years in 2014.

The problem is that with all the noise both have made, they haven’t won a tournament. Fowler hasn’t broken through since his win at Quail Hollow in 2012, and Spieth hasn’t tasted victory since the John Deere Classic last year.

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Both are fine young players who tend to carry a lot of  charisma around the course, and don’t get me wrong, they probably will win some more tournaments, the questions is just when?

Rickie had a horrible start to the season with three consecutive cuts at Torrey Pines, Phoenix, and Riveria before he got it going at Dove Mountain. He has played well on some pretty tough golf courses this year, and has top five finishes in all of the majors so far in 2014.

His worse finish was at Augusta back in April. He finished second at both of the Opens, but he missed a total of seven cuts on other easier venues including at Arnie’s Place, and Jack’s Place.

Fowler is currently ranked 18th in the world, and 22nd in FedEx Cup points. He is 1153 points behind leader, Jimmy Walker but should be a shoe-in for Captain Tom’s Ryder Cup team.

Although Rickie Fowler has increased his distance off the thee, he still has a negative average on the greens. As Sammy Snead used to say, “drive for show and putt for dough”, Rickie has a whopping -.192 Strokes Gained Putting.

Jordan Spieth has his game in a little better place. The just-turned-twenty-one year-old has approximately the same numbers, but the number that sticks out, are his missed cuts. Ranked 11th in the world, and 6th in FedEx Cup points, he has only missed two cuts all year.

His nine top ten finishes along with the steady play on Thursday and Friday has him in much better shape as we head into the PGA Championship, and the playoffs. He also is a shoe-in for the Ryder Cup, and should do well in the playoffs.

Jun 29, 2014; Bethesda, MD, USA; Jordan Spieth hits his tee shot fourth hole during the final round of the Quicken Loans National golf tournament at Congressional Country Club – Blue Course. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Golf fans in the US are hot for a new super-star to root for on the world stage. Rickie Fowler has a ton of charisma, especially with his clothes, and connection with young fans, an Jordan Spieth has the it factor that follows Tiger Woods around, but neither player have been able to put the W’s on the board at this point.

Rickie looks to have great control of the majors, and I think is close to winning one, but he needs to win a few regular tournaments here at home to really get the fans going.

Golf will continue to suffer as Tiger continues to play fewer tournaments, so it is important to get some of these youngsters going, and keep the momentum going. Rory McIlroy could have the appeal of  a Tiger Woods, but let’s face it. He’s not American, and although we love watching him play, he just isn’t Tiger.

Then no-one is unless Jack Nicklaus decides to play some tour events in the near future.