Who will have more victories this year on the PGA Tour, players in their 20s or players in their 40s? Rex Hoggard and Jay Coffin offer their takes.
By REX HOGGARD
The Chinese Zodiac says it’s the year of the metal Tiger (honestly), the scorecard says it’s the year of the twenty-something, but by the time the dust settles this fall 2010 will be remembered as the year when 40 became the new 30.
Math is not currently on our side. With Jason Day’s Tour breakthrough on Sunday at the Nelson the 22-year-old became the ninth Tour champion in his 20s this season, compared with just four trophies for the forty-something set. Strangely, however, time is on the forty-something’s side.
Consider that Jim Furyk – a two-time champion this year who turned 40 on May 12, after his victories at the Transitions and Heritage – may be playing the best golf of his career. Ditto for Ernie Els, the only other two-time winner in ’10.
Then there is Phil Mickelson. The world No. 1 (active division) turns 40 on June 16 and will likely be the betting favorite for at least two of the season’s final three majors.
Lefty also proved last year that the fall is no longer an extended vacation interrupted by the occasional exhibition, winning two of his three titles after Labor Day. It’s why this race will go to the slow and steady.
By JAY COFFIN
With the numbers being what they are right now, it’d be crazy to think that the young bucks of the PGA Tour will give up the lead. Players in their 20s have won nine times this year and those in their 40s have only won four times. Ultimately, it may be a close race but smart money says go with the odds.
The foursome of Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker certainly will have a say in the outcome, but the pool of twenty-somethings is much deeper than that of their elders. Rory McIlroy, Hunter Mahan, Camilo Villegas, Sean O’Hair, Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler all have the ability to win any week they put a peg in the ground and this list doesn’t take into account the occasional victory from a twenty-something like Jason Day, who jumped up and seized the opportunity at the Byron Nelson. If Anthony Kim wasn’t on the DL with a thumb injury, there would be less of a change that the seniors could catch the juniors.
This isn’t necessarily anything that I would have predicted at the beginning of the year since there were only seven twenty-something winners in 2009. But, the numbers are the numbers. They don’t lie.It is, after all, a young man’s world. This year it’ll be a young man’s Tour.