It has officially been 5 years since an American last won the US Open, and while most expect Tiger and Phil to contend this year against the big boys, I am ready for another US born stud to emerge. Tiger and Phil are easily the top 2, but the next group of world class golfers doesn't include many Americans. The group of Ogilvy, Singh, Cabrera, Weir, Goosen, Els, Choi, Immelman, and Harrington were certainly not born in Eastern Missouri. You could include Stewart Cink in this group, but he doesn't have a major title yet. Jim Furyk and Davis Love III do, but age is starting to catch up with them. Justin Leonard Rich Beem, and Zach Johnson have majors, but are in their 30's and don't appear to ever be consistent major championship contenders like Tiger and Phil are.
Where is the next young phenom American golfer? I am tired of waiting on the class of the new millenium (Charles Howell III, Matt Kuchar, Bubba Watson, Boo Weekley), as they have yet to step up on the big stage after several major championship appearances. Maybe we need to look to the guys at the top of the leaderboard after day 1.
Rickie Fowler, a 19 year old from Oklahoma St is -1 and tied for 7th after day one. Kyle Stanley is a 20 year old rookie from Clemson tied for 19th at +1. Casey Wittenburg and DJ Trahan also are under 23 years of age and are in the top 20 after the 1st round was completed. Maybe one of these guys will step up and be in contention Sunday.
We saw a run of young Americans winning the Open in the 90's but all of them ended up being one hit wonders for one reason or another. Corey Pavin and Steve Jones were never a threat to be multi-major winners. Lee Janzen won two but injury issues kept him from winning much else. Finally, the late, great Payne Stewart won his only major in the US Open in 1999.
Wouldn't it make a great story if a smooth, young American made a run in the 2008 US Open and built of that success to become a staple on the leaderboard in 2 or 3 majors each year? For my money, DJ Trahan looks the part. Hopefully he can keep playing well and earn a solid finish in 2008.
Off to Macon this weekend, see everyone on Monday...