SAN DIEGO – Just three days removed from Patrick Reed’s impressive victory at the Humana Challenge, the youth movement on the PGA Tour seems alive and well. According to Phil Mickelson, though, it’s no more difficult to win today against the game’s best than it was two decades ago.
“I think there was a lot of depth back in the ‘90s when I came out and started playing,” explained Mickelson, who notched his first career win as an amateur in 1991. “What’s happened now is guys are after speed and they hit the ball a lot longer than they did 20 years ago and it’s a different style of play. But there was still a lot of depth back then, as there is today.”
One of the game’s notable “young guns” when he turned pro in 1992, Mickelson admitted to using persimmon woods during his final season at Arizona State – a far cry from the ever-evolving equipment in the hands of Tour players today.
“The golf balls changed quite a bit, the driver changed quite a bit,” said Mickelson. “It’s just a different way of playing the game.”
Reed’s win in Palm Springs was the fifth win of the 2013-14 season for players in their 20s, with rising stars like Jordan Spieth seemingly contending on a regular basis. While the 43-year-old Mickelson admits that the younger generation is a talented one, he also believes that the newest Tour members lack the discipline to address areas in their game that most need improvement.
“The thing I’ve found about a lot of young players is that they are incredibly impressive in some areas, but they have weaknesses because they’re young,” he explained. “They haven’t developed their games, and so many of them aren’t willing to work on their weaknesses.”