The youth movement can make LIV Golf an attractive appearance

Cromwell, Connecticut (Associated Press) – Players ready to leave the PGA Tour in search of fortunes only Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund can provide, a move Rory McIlroy refers to as the “easy way.”

This is probably a very easy explanation.

However, it’s hard to dispute that the choice might be easier for some players if they consider the trend that’s been going on over the past decade, highlighted even more when Matt Fitzpatrick won the US Open.

Five different players in their twenties have now won the last five Grand Slam tournaments, the first time golf has experienced such an extension in the 162-year history of the Grand Slam.

Fitzpatrick (27) won his first major a month after Justin Thomas (29) won the PGA Championship for the second time. Prior to that, Scottie Scheffler (29) won the Masters title. Last year ended with John Ram (26) winning the US Open, and Colin Morikawa (24) winning the British Open for the second major.

There have been two more instances in the last decade of five majors in a row going to players in their 20s, but that included multiple winners. Brooks Koepka won the US Open in 2017 and 2018 with Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Patrick Reed winning between them. Martin Kaymer won the 2014 US Open, and McIlroy and Jordan Spieth combined to win the next four championships.

What remains unknown about LIV Golf is how the guaranteed fortunes and 54-hole events will affect the level of play in the long term, and how players will be motivated to practice.

Koepka joined the Saudi-backed group, along with Bryson DeChambeau and his fanatical search for revolutionary ways to play the game, taking a fresh look at the LIV lineup. Both are still in their early years, even if their world rankings have slipped amid injuries. Same for Reed and Abraham Anser, who only won one PGA Tour.

All four of them are between the ages of 28 and 32. This is no longer the “pre-champions tour” that McIlroy called back in February.

McIlroy says he can understand some of the older players, from Mickelson at 51 and Louis Oosthuizen, at 39, coming out a year exhausted from back-to-back World Cup finals in second place. Oosthuizen took home the Grand Slam silver medals for his career with a silver claret jug from St Andrews in 2010.

“A lot of these guys are in their late forties — in an elephant case, in their early 50s,” he said. “They used to tell you themselves that their best days are over. That’s why I don’t understand men of the same age going to me. Because I would like to believe that the best days of my life are still ahead of me, and I believe theirs are too.”

“This is where you feel like you’re taking the easy route.”

Speth, who has been through three years of a bad slump and is slowly coming out the other side with wins in each of the past two years, seems to agree.

“I think saying this is the easy way out is probably not the way they think,” Speth said Tuesday. “But it kind of seems to me.”

The lure of money is strong, especially if some of the ridiculous amounts of money mentioned in the various reports are true. The Daily Telegraph has set Johnson’s signing fee at $150 million, which will likely be even over four years with a dominant year on the PGA Tour, on and off the course.

“They don’t go there for a shape changer,” said Speth.

Everyone has a price, and everyone has a reason. Oosthuizen might be this generation’s version of Byron Nelson, who played golf to earn enough money to retire on his farm. Oosthuizen has moved to an 86-acre farm in Florida’s horse country near Ocala.

It’s never easy to tell DeChambeau but he’s all about being different. Name another player who can prepare for the Ryder Cup and World Long Drive (and does a good job on both).

easy money? yes. The easy way?

“Hmm, that idea just didn’t get into my head,” Patrick Cantlay said on Tuesday, suggesting he didn’t see it that way. “I think the reasons different men go or not go can vary widely. So I think including all of them all in the same decision-making process would be a mistake.

“I don’t necessarily think all the players who go there say they’ve given up trying to be the best player in the world or the best they can be.”

Golf has never been more difficult than it is now. A big part of that is Tiger Woods and the generation of players he inspired to train and work. Technology – and not just equipment – has allowed young players to develop great swings at a young age.

The competition is relentless, and so is the work ethic.

And this shows itself more than in the recent series of majors won by players in their twenties. Ten of the top 12 players in the world rankings are in their twenties. Their average age is 27.25.

McIlroy is the oldest. He is 33 years old. He believes that his best years are still ahead of him.


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