That is gratifying to Freddy Couples. Couples is 45 now, but he can recall the days 15 years ago when there was a decided undercurrent of resentment amongst the U.S. players against anyone who was an international. Greg Norman, for example, battled this resentment forever. The lower-echelon players did not take kindly to a foreigner coming here and taking up their spots on the PGA Tour ranking.
Those days, thank goodness, have just about ended. Everyone is welcome now. And what has evolved has been the world tour where the best players play, regardless of nationality. Couples couldnt be more pleased.
Our tour is the strongest tour. It has the best golfers, he says simply. There are almost as many foreign players as there are American players in the top 125.
Singh is No. 1 in money earned, but Americans hold down the next seven slots. From No. 8 to No. 18, though, there is a very wide latitude of players from around the world.
Number 9 is Irelands Padraig Harrington and No. 10 is Spains Sergio Garcia. No. 12 is an Australian, Adam Scott, and an Englishman ' Luke Donald ' sits at No. 13, while a South African, Retief Goosen, is 14th.
Thats six different countries represented in the top 14 ' I forgot, counting the U.S., thats seven. Another Australian, Peter Lonard, is No. 16, and another South African, Ernie Els, is No. 18. Combined, thats eight international players in the U.S. tours top 18.
And, the U.S. Open was recently won by New Zealands Michael Campbell.
The U.S. Open brings the best out of players, Couples explained. Michael Campbell is a very, very solid player with a good swing. He had a great week. He won. I don't think it is a shock to most of the players, but I think it is a nice thing to see. I think he's well-liked.
He came over here a few years ago and didn't play well at all and I have a lot of respect for the guys that come over here. Some enjoy it, some travel a long way, some buy houses here. So our tour is flourishing on great play.
But the bottom line is Michael Campbell is a golfer and he plays extremely well on the European Tour and he struggled here. People don't know him as well, but he is a top-notch player.
My eyesight isnt as good as it was in younger years, but I believe there are 35 players inside the top 125 who were born in another country than the U.S. Ten years ago, in 1995, there were only 12 international PGA Tour members in the top 125.
If you look at our tour, they're all coming to play, said Freddy. I think it's nice, but I think it's hard for a lot of guys because they're being pushed out from everyone all over the country.
And we have the foreign players who are showing their stuff - Justin Rose and Aaron Baddeley are playing well, Ian Poulter. Those are strong players a lot of people don't know about. I just played with Graeme McDowell, who is a very, very good player. He didn't play that well on Sunday, but he is a good player.
They are going to continue to keep coming if they keep their cards. They are going to love it over here. We play great courses, great tournaments. There is no other better spot to play.
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