- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Suddenly, despite concern that no young Americans recently had come to the fore, the future of U.S. golf doesn't look so bleak. "The Ryder Cup skewed everything," says Howell, disputing the notion that the cupboard was bare. "When Europe beat us last year, [the public] saw some young guys on the European team who can really play. Without the Ryder Cup none of those comments would've been made." In fact, the Ryder Cup was something of a battle of the ages. The Euros had five players in their 20s ( Paul Casey, Luke Donald, Sergio Garc�a, David Howell and Ian Poulter) while the U.S. had only one (Woods) but had three in their 40s ( Fred Funk, Davis Love III and Kenny Perry) and one in his 50s ( Haas).
Patience doesn't come easily to members of Generation Z. Na was tested when he made bogey and lost the playoff in Tucson in February. " Tucson still pops into my head once in a while, and I'll think, What an idiot!" he says.
Like O'Hair, Na skipped college and turned pro right after high school. He won more than $900,000 last year and is 34th on the '05 money list. He has the game and the ambition to be a top player, as Azinger tried to explain at the pro-am draw party at this year's Houston Open. "I told those guys, 'The future of the game is on the board, and [none of the amateurs] is picking him [as a partner],'" Azinger says. "Kevin went, like, fourth from last. I couldn't believe it."
Clearly the Generation Z era is upon us. Says Azinger, "There's a bigger question than, Are any of the Americans in their 20s going to be stars? That is: Does anyone have the ability to beat Tiger when he's in his 30s?"
While we wait for Generation Z's response, we promise not to doze off.
TOP 10 GEN Z
Call them Generation Z, the American twentysomethings who are so talented that it's only a matter of time before they blossom. Jim Suttie, who teaches at Cog Hill in Lemont, Ill., and is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher, ranked the top 10 Gen Z players based on their potential, and he offered insight into their games.
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF]