Since the emergence and continued excellence of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, golf fans have asked – where are the next great American golfers?
Many names have been floated through the years – including Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan and even Anthony Kim (who?). Yet since 2000, Bubba Watson (2012, 2014 Masters Champion) is the only American golfer to collect two Major Championships not named Tiger or Phil.
Across the pond, they’ve found their next star. Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, 25, already has four Major championships to his name. America, your rebuttal?
Finally, in 2014, the next young American stars have arrived. Who are they? Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler.
While neither has a Major (yet), Spieth, 21, and Fowler, 25, are already ranked 9 and 10 in the world respectively, according to the Official World Golf Rankings.
Spieth, who won the U.S. Junior Amateur in 2009 and 2011, just completed a record breaking performance at the Hero World Challenge, which he won by 10 strokes at 26 under par. The week before, he shot a course record 63 to capture the Australian Open title by 6 shots. Earlier this year, Spieth played in his first Masters Tournament. The Dallas, Texas native finished runner up behind Watson.
As for Fowler, the charismatic Californian had a breakout 2014. Fowler became only the third player behind Jack Nicklaus and Woods to have finished in the top 5 in all four majors in one calendar year.
“There’s a bunch of young guys that could break through and become legends of this game – Rickie Fowler being one of them,” McIlroy said after a few months ago after adding his second straight major. “You just have to look at how he’s played the majors this year.”
Are Spieth and Fowler ready to carry the torch for Tiger and Phil, after so many before them failed to live up to expectations? As the old adage goes, only time will tell. But if we had to bet, our money’s on these two.