Monday, May 24, 2010

The Kids Are All Right

It appears golf is going green.

Green as in young, fresh and unafraid.

At the Byron Nelson tournament, 22-year old Jason Day was the champion but 16-year old Jordan Spieth seemed the big winner with his 'looks like he belongs' performance that made him an instant star. Meanwhile, 16-year old Grayson Murray made the cut at the Nationwide Tour event in Raleigh last week.

Oh to be young, fearless and have a 28-inch waist.

Throw in what Rory McIlroy, Ryo Ishikawa, Rickie Fowler and a handful of other young 'uns have done this year and you get the sense that another youth movement has arrived. It happens from time to time, thankfully, and right now seems to be one of those times.

It doesn't mean they've reshuffled the world order but it does show encouraging signs about what comes after Tiger, Phil and Ernie. One week doesn't get it done and the trick is sustaining the good play and the momentum.

Consider Day. Yes, he's 22 but he's been around for a few years now and there were growing questions as to when he was going to finally win. It's the flip side of being a young dynamo, suddenly having to deal with the pressure that comes with the expectations. Day may win many more times but his struggle to win once is a reminder of how difficult it is to succeed on the PGA Tour.

At a tournament absent stars, Spieth became one with his play and his personality. He's still in high school but he acted like playing a tour event was no big deal. He's still young enough to believe every putt's going in, every shot's going to come off the way he envisions it. That's part of the fun of watching the young players. They haven't built up the layers of scar tissue that eventually factor in as years ago by, introducing a shade of doubt.

As good as this young group may be, the reality check comes at the majors. No player among the current under-30 group has won a major championship. It would be nice to see that change and it may next month at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

That's when we find out who's all grown up.