Monday, September 19, 2011

Is The Next Great American Player Just 16 Years Old?

   Checking out the golf scene between Cam Newton passes:

  -- Lexi Thompson's victory on the LPGA Tour was a beautiful bonus for a tour that needs all the newsmakers it can get.

    At 16, she became the tour's youngest-ever winner by two years and added more weight to the notion that she'll be the next great American player. She's almost that already.

   There is the pesky problem of not being eligible to play the LPGA Tour full-time because of its age guidelines but I'm guessing tour officials will find a way to work through the issue so that Thompson can get her tour card, given as how she's already better than almost everyone not named Yani Tseng.

   Her win has led to the inevitable comparisons with Michelle Wie, whose performance has not matched her stardom. From a distance, they seem very different. I've never sensed Wie had the burning desire to be the game's best player, something that Thompson seems to have.

   That's not a knock on Wie, only a recognition her world reaches far beyond golf, which explains why she's going the distance at Stanford. It may have impacted her professional career but I'm guessing she's thrilled by her college experience. There's plenty of time for her to play professional golf.

  -- Webb Simpson takes the FedEx Cup lead into the Tour Championship this weekend at East Lake, chasing a $10-million prize and putting a bigger stamp on his arrival as one of the game's best young guns.

   The way Simpson has been playing over the past couple of months, it's hard to argue against him being the player to beat. He's been in contention seemingly every week but finishing it off at East Lake will be a huge challenge.

   Dustin Johnson starts in second place but Luke Donald, the world No. 1, is lurking just behind. Donald is always there and this seems like a moment when he could cap a huge season.

   For Simpson, a good start seems critical.

  -- Fred Couples has one spot remaining on his Presidents Cup team and he will likely choose from Keegan Bradley, Rickie Fowler, Brandt Snedeker or Bill Haas.

   The popular choice is Bradley given his victory in the PGA Championship last month, though he followed it with a pair of missed cuts. Haas didn't help himself by coming apart at the end of the BMW Championship and Fowler hasn't done enough recently to warrant the pick.

   Snedeker has a good case but I'm betting it's Bradley who gets the call from Captain Couples. If it were me, I'd probably call Snedeker.



Anonymous said...

.....and next year she'll be 17, and the year after that she'll be 18.