With football over, baseball not yet started and basketball in mid-season, it's time to catch up with the golf action on the PGA Tour. Since the beginning of the year, Patrick Reed, Jimmy Walker, Bill Hass and Brooks Koepka have posted victories. All of the names on that list are accomplished American golfers, with Reed and Walker coming off appearances on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Haas is a former FedEx Cup winner and Koepka has finished in the top ten in all three of his 2015 tournaments. Along with players like Bubba Watson, Ricky Fowler and Jordan Speith, they are all in a position to take over leadership of the pro game among Americans.
Aging American Stars: Despite the success of the young guns, most golf fans and viewers tend to be attracted to the performances, or lack thereof, by Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.Woods is attempting, at age 39, to resurrect both his swing and quest to match or surpass Jack Nicklaus' record eighteen major championships. If last week's finish at the bottom of the standings in Phoenix is any indication, he has a long way to go. As for Phil, five years older than Tiger, he's only a year and a half removed from his last major win, the 2013 Open Championship. But is it realistic to expect him to excel in his mid-forties against a young crop of American and international talent, which also includes Rory McIlroy, who at 25 is already a four-time major champion? Probably not.
Will There Be A New Tiger?: For several generations, we got a new golf star about ten years apart. Snead begat Hogan, who led us to Arnie, then came Jack, next we had Tom Watson. We really didn't have a standout in the mid-eighties and into the nineties in terms of major champions. Greg Norman was popular, but flamed out on Sundays. Nick Faldo was a tremendous finisher, but didn't really attract an audience. Davis Love III and Fred Couples emerged, but ended up with two majors between them. Phil hardly had a chance to get going before Tiger erupted onto the scene. Since then, we've been waiting, at least from a media perspective, for that next guy. So far, not much luck, thus the continued fascination and focus on Tiger and Phil.
Caddies Sue Over Bibs: A number of PGA Tour caddies have filed a class action lawsuit against the Tour for requiring that they bibs with tournament sponsor logos, limiting the ability of the caddies to display logos for any sponsor relationships that they have personally negotiated. Their primary point is that while the Tour benefits from the bib sponsorship, the caddies don't. That may be true from a direct perspective, but indirectly any revenue the Tour finds it way to purses, which ultimately ends up in players' pockets and should get to the caddies in increased pay. I understand that the caddies want the opportunity to make more revenue and a judge may rule that there's merit to their case. Unfortunately, the men and women carrying the bags aren't exactly at the top of the talent totem pole when it comes to professional golf.
Don't forget to check out my new book, "Roughing the Passer - A PK
Frazier Novel" and my first, "Illegal Procedure - A PK Frazier Novel",
available in print and e-formats at Amazon.com, iBooks and Smashwords.