Well, it’s getting to be about that time. Golf is always on the lookout for its next big star. The talk started in the early 1980s when Jack Nicklaus began to decline after dominating the PGA for nearly 20 years. It took almost another two decades before Tiger Woods emerged. Now, while golf has been waiting for Woods to return to form after injuries and personal issues, we wait for someone to break the mold. So who’s next?
Rory started showing some signs of brilliance at Royal Aberdeen in The Scottish Open, posting a brilliant opening round of 64. But like in recent past, he struggled in his second round, shooting a 78 which landed him with a T-14 result. Many wondered if he could ever put four rounds of championship golf together in one week. Seemingly hearing his critics, Rory dominated the field at Royal Liverpool in the Open Championship for a wire-to-wire win. McIlroy proved that if the young Irish talent can keep it together for four rounds, he is a force to be reckoned with.
A name that has been picking up steam as of late is the young and flashy athlete Rickie Fowler (see our post on Fowler). While Fowler immediately showed signs of greatness at the 2010 Ryder Cup, he failed to follow it up with the success. He’s only managed to win a single PGA title, but the Puma Golf spokesman has been on fire as of late, with runner-up finishes in both of the latest majors, the U.S. Open and the Open Championship. It seems like it’s only a matter of time for Fowler to mesh his winning style with winning trophies.
Adam Scott would seem to be pressed right out of the mold of his fellow countryman Greg Norman. He may also have the finest golf swing since Byron Nelson. However, the easy-going Scott does not seem to have the mindset required to dominate his opponents. In his early thirties, Scott reached a #1 World Ranking and has just recently begun to play his best golf. If he dominates for several years, it will be on sheer talent that catapults this Titleist spokesperson to greatness rather than ruthless drive.
Patrick Reed, 23, and Jordan Spieth, 20, have been young contenders but still seem giant leaps away from being so-called dominant players. They appear to be budding stars, but again, let’s not jump the gun.
In fact, if there were one player to bet on being dominant for the next ten years, it’s still hart to bet against Tiger Woods. Golf’s biggest debate of recent history has been whether Woods, with 14 major titles, will still catch Jack’s record of 18. Perhaps Tiger will figure out what has been ailing him. Or maybe he will adapt his game to his changing body. Either way, it’s just too hard to believe one of the most dominant players of the game won’t have a large impact on the Tour in the coming years.
Only time will tell who will show us new levels of superior golf, but until then we are left to converse amongst ourselves in the clubhouse.