Thursday, May 07, 2009

O'Hair the best of twentysomethings

There are three regulars on the PGA Tour under the age of 30 with at least three wins on their resume – Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott and Sean O’Hair.

Of those three, the one mostly likely to win a major championship is O’Hair.

Not only does that say something about the sagging state of both Garcia and Scott’s golf games, it speaks to how good O’Hair is and is likely to become.

Garcia has a semi-major to his credit with his win at The Players Championship last year and he’s flirted with the real thing several times. His playoff loss to Padraig Harrington at Carnoustie in 2007 and another loss to Harrington at the PGA Championship last August have earned him the distinction of BPNTHWAM – best player never to have won a major.

But Garcia’s disposition, especially with a putter in his hands, makes me wonder if he has too many demons running around in his head. When he lashed out after the Masters about how he doesn’t care for Augusta National, it was a blend of frustration and immaturity.

Sergio believes the golf gods – and the media – are against him. Neither is true but if he believes it, he’s looking in the wrong places.

Scott also has a Players win to his credit but he’s typically a shadow in majors. He’s played 32 of them and has just four top-10 finishes, the best being a quiet tie for third at the 2006 PGA.

He seems to have it all – including a new $40-million jet – but his game has left him. Scott has missed four straight cuts while working on a swing adjustment in hopes it will click in by the U.S. Open.

Whereas Garcia has proven he can consistently challenge in majors, Scott has not. That’s his next step.

That leaves us with O’Hair, whose toughness and resiliency are as impressive as his golf swing. At this moment, he’s easily the best of the twentysomethings.

He’s a guy who could be paralyzed by scar tissue but he’s not. Instead, he’s emerging as America’s brightest young player. Just 26 but a pro for nearly a decade, O’Hair has steadily climbed the golf ladder to the point he’s now among the top players on tour.

There was nothing flukey about O’Hair’s victory at Quail Hollow last week.

He’s here to stay.