When Harry Vardon left the scene, undoubtedly there were those who said that golf would never be the same, that no one could replace him.
Enter Bobby Jones.
And surely, the same thing was said after Jones departed competitive golf, and also after the departures of Byron Nelson, Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, and Jack Nicklaus. Each time, though, new blood has infused the game and created new interest.
The year 2010 was quite a year for majors and European Tour golf. Three out of the four majors winners are exclusive members of that tour across the pond, and all are relatively young. In years past, European-based players were probably at a disadvantage at the majors because three out of the four (except for the British Open) are played on American soil. Today, being at a disadvantage is no longer the case, because the European Tour has grown from an insular entity that rarely strayed from the Old Continent to one that is truly THE worldwide tour. European Tour players are used to playing around the world in different conditions, so they are quicker to adapt today to the conditions they face in America. You also have the case of Graeme McDowell, who played four years of college golf in the USA at Alabama-Birmingham, so he is very comfortable in playing over here.
Some sports fans decry the fact that the old-line favorites like Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, etc., did not win the last three majors and that three relative unknowns water down the value and interest of the majors. Well, what can one say to that, other than, while these people may be sports fans, they are definitely not golf fans. No, the game not only is more interesting when new faces emerge, but the game thrives on it and requires it. If we only had a handful of players winning all the time, the game would quickly become stale. Even with the dominance of Woods, he wins “only” about 1/4 of the time, so 3/4 of the time someone else takes home the prize. Now, if Woods were to win 90 percent of the time, let’s say, the game would definitely be less interesting.
So let’s revel in the new faces that we see hoisting golf’s most important trophies. And, you never know who’s next…which is the beauty of it.