Professional golf has entered a new era.
The days of Tiger Woods dominating the PGA Tour appear to have ended, and now four golfers in their 20s have risen to the top of the sport.
With Woods sidelined because of injuries and struggling when he is able to play, Jordan Spieth has climbed to the top of the world golf ranking at age 22 after winning the Masters and U.S. Open last year. He is being chased by Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Rickie Fowler.
“It’s a blessing for them to have had Tiger not being at the top because they’ve had an opportunity to not have to put up with being afraid of somebody dominating the game,” golf legend Jack Nicklaus told reporters in Orlando, Fla. “They can go play. As a result of that they’ve been able to go out and win and prove to themselves they are there and can be there.”
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CBS analyst Nick Faldo said having four players in their 20s on top of the game is good for golf.
“That gives us longevity,” Faldo said. “We have 10 more years of really good golf if those guys spearhead it.
“This is a new refreshing transition. The end of Tiger’s era and the start of a different style of golf again. It’s amazing. They’re mentally strong, technically strong, physically strong. It’s a great time.”
Fowler, the lowest ranked of the group at No. 5, said his goal is to be No. 1, but he knows the competition is tough. He is motivated by other young players doing well.
“When we play together I feel like it kind of pushes each other to elevate our games to the next level,” Fowler said. “I obviously have my own goals, but when those guys are playing well, it definitely, I think, kind of goes in full circle. We’re all motivating each other to become better players.”