Wednesday, 5 June 2013

The Next Francis Quimet......the future of American golf

Gavin Hall  next US Open low am

With the US Open right around the corner and the stories from qualifying Monday the American media is looking for the next great American, the second coming of Tiger Woods. If  you aren't ready to call a Gavin Hall, Rickie Fowler or say Dustin Johnson, that (full disclosure we all want it to be Dustin so we can keep posting Pauline Gretzky pics). Truth be told it's going to be a long time before we have another Tiger Woods. Just like after Jack we had to wait a while. But if interested in future Ryder Cup stars and top ranking Americans; Here's the top five.

First Ill start with honourable mentions: Rickie Fowler although he was once the worlds #1 amateur, and has one win to date on the PGA Tour. Rickie has yet to live up too his potential and he may never, until his focus is only on golf. Billy Horschel If you ever read The.Frozen.Predictions you'd know I'm a Horschel fan, its hard not to be, after his stellar April. But he's the opposite of a Fowler he could be too focused on golf and his temper will hold him back. Stranger things have happened we do call John Daly a two-time major champion. On to the list:

Number Five: Bud Cauley
Born: March 17, 1992 in Daytona Beach, Florida

Bud Cauley was home schooled so unlike most the guys on this list he was a golf phenom going to a golf academy or drilled by a world class teacher, he was taught by his father until he made the decision to attend The University of Alabama. Where he went on to be the SEC Player of the Year and be named and All-American for his three years he was enrolled. His break out year though was 2009 he played on both the Palmer Cup & Walker Cup (3-0-1) walker cup record, he would also beat the then #1 Rickie Fowler in the US Amateur. The great year was capped off with being named top Amateur in US by Golf Digest.

  And Bud would stay in school until  after the 2011 season where like most amateurs turned professional, he would try to earn his tour card by avoiding Q-school. History has showed that thousands have tried and only Gary Hallberg, Scott Verplank, Phil Mickelson, Justin Leonard, Ryan Moore and Tiger Woods, were able to accomplish. Bud Cauley would go on to earn $735,150 in just 8 starts and join the wonder kid group. And in his rookie season on tour he would earn $1,774,479 and finish 35th in the FedEx Cup. This year has started slow but there's to much upside for this kid.

Number Four: Russell Henley
Born: April 12, 1989 in Macon, Georgia 

Russell Henley didn't just graduate from the Tour to make cuts and hope to keep his card for the following year, he came out to win. And did so in his first event winning the season opener in Hawaii the Sony Open. Although Henley's win was a surprise to all of us, like most of this list he had quiet a bit of amateur success. Being a Georgia boy he played for the University of Georgia with young tour stars like Harris English. 2010 was his break out year with winning the Haskins Award for outstanding collegiate golfer, low amateur honours at the US Open and a Palmer Cup appearance. He followed that act up with and even more impressive 2012 he made the Walker and Palmer Cups and won as an amateur on the Tour, Stadion Classic at UGA.

When he did turn professional the following year he continued to win with two more victories in the minor leagues the Chiquita Classic and the Jacksonville Open both in playoffs, one which included Patrick Cantlay.
The strong showing on the propelled him to a third place finish on the money list and his PGA Tour card. Now we know it seems he won`t be heading back anytime soon with this two year exemption on the big boy tour.

Number Three: Peter Uihlien 
Born Aug. 29,1989 in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

Peter Uihlien may walk a different path then most young phenom's no he went to IMG Academy, has Butch Harmon as a coach, played for the Oklahoma State with Rickie Fowler. Has a U.S Amateur title plus Walker Cup success 4-0 actually, was even the number one raked amateur in the world. His father is Wally Uihlien CEO of Acushnet (that's Titliest folks), I doubt your first set was hand ground by Bob Vokey.

  At 23 he's earned the right to be on this list, but what sets him apart was his earlier failures, Peter didn't make it through Q-School for European and PGA tour in 2011, he made a decision most young pros wouldn't even consider, European Challenge Tour. Obliviously he could stayed state side and maybe played the tour and some PGA invites. As I said he's walking a different path, which has recently paid off in May he won the Madeira Island Open, on the European Tour. If your young rich and travelling Europe to earn respect, you will find it and look a lot better than say Bubba Watson.

Number Two: Patrick Cantlay
Born: March 17, 1992 in Long Beach, California 

Remember the summer of Patrick Cantlay well for most of you it was just 2011, I'm sure you heard his name and saw his face. That was his freshman year at UCLA, and he was winning everything like PAC-10 and NCAA freshman & player of year honours, low amateur in the US Open, he shot 60 on tour at the Travellers Championship and would go on to the have a 2-1-1 record in his first Walker Cup. The US Amateur might have been the only thing he didn't win, though he was the runner-up to Kelly Kraft (he didn't make the list).

Following his amazing 2011 Cantlay decided to stay at school normally you would say that was a good choice but Cantlay had a number of high finishes and had he been a pro may have earned a card for 2012. Although he made the choice I'm sure his mother liked, when he did leave school early the next year he didn't earn a card from exemptions or the final Q-school for that matter. Now he finds himself ninth on the money list with $135,105 and had his first professional win at the Colombia Championship in March. It looks likely that we'll see Cantlay living up to expectations next year on the PGA Tour.

Number One: Jordan Spieth
Born: July 27, 1993 in Dallas, Texas

It`s possible he might only be number one cause he`s the new "it" kid on tour, but like the rest of this list has the amateur pedigree to be a worthy member of the elite. Not only is he the youngest of the bunch, he been on the radar since most of these guys were still in University. He first started making headlines when he made his first appearance on tour as a 16 year old, finishing 16th at the HP Bryon Nelson in 2010. The next year still in high school he joined Tiger as the only players to win multiple Jr. US amateur titles (09,11). Spieth went on to play college golf for the University of Texas where he won the NCAA in 2012. He followed that with Low Amateur at the US Open also in 2012.

Jordan would go on to turn pro in December of 2012, after not earning a card through Q school and having relatively no status on the PGA or tours, he was forced to make the most of sponsor invites and he would. By March 2013 he had special temporary member which means he can receive unlimited sponsors exemptions ( non-members are limited to seven). Currently he has 919,079 in earnings which is good enough to be 55th on the official money list. His current scoring average of 70.64 is good enough for 24th on tour. Unfortunately for him he wont be able to win the rookie of the year award as he isn't an official tour member but Russell Henley seems to have that wrapped up. Jordan going to be fine since Brandel Chamblee thinks he going to win the US Open, for the record the last HOF to win the US Open as his first tour victory was Jack Nicklaus. We're not expecting to much right??

Alright that's my list all your comments are welcome.


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