Top Newsmakers, No 8: The Roaring 20s

By Mercer BaggsDecember 15, 2010, 1:38 pm

Top 10 Newsmakers“To be young is to be sad,” the song goes.

The lyricist obviously didn’t play professional golf in 2010.

Fifteen PGA Tour events were won by players in their 20s this past season, from Rory McIlroy at the Quail Hollow Championship two days before turning 21 to Justin Rose capturing two titles prior to hitting 30.

On the European Tour, Matteo Manassero became the youngest ever winner at 17 years, 188 days. The Italian finished 31st on the season-ending money list with $1.17 million and earned Rookie of the Year honors.

The brothers Molinari, meanwhile, helped Europe reclaim the Ryder Cup. Edoardo (29) also won the Scottish Open and Johnnie Walker Championship, while Francesco (27) took top prize at the WGC-HSBC Champions.

Nowhere, however, was 20-something dominance more apparent than on the LPGA, where 20 of the 24 tournaments were won by players born in the ‘80s.

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy made noise this year with an impressive win at Quail Hollow. (Getty Images)

In 2010, to be young was to be very happy – and quite wealthy.

Even those yutes (thank you, Joe Pesci), who didn’t win still garnered plenty of notoriety and plenty of cash.

Jeff Overton (27) became the first player to ever qualify for the U.S. Ryder Cup team without winning an event. He also finished 12th on the money list with over $3.4 million.

Rickie Fowler (21) also made the Ryder Cup team, as a captain’s pick, and made more than $2.8 million without picking up a trophy; though, he did pick up the Tour's Rookie of the Year award.

Both Overton and Fowler made their mark at Celtic Manor as well, with Overton’s enthusiastic, “Boom, baby” performance and Fowler’s gutsy finish in singles.

In a year in which Tiger Woods, soon to be 35, endured hardships both on and off the course, and failed to win for the first time in his professional career, it was the younger set who took advantage.

Players like Anthony Kim (25), Adam Scott (29) and Camilo Villegas (28) continued to show their prowess, adding to their trophy cases, while players like Derek Lamely (29) and Jason Day (23) won for the first time on Tour.

Bill Haas (28) and the aforementioned Rose (29) not only earned their maiden Tour titles in 2010, but added an additional victory for good measure. Haas was the first 20-something to win, at the Bob Hope Classic in January and then garnered win No. 2 at the Viking Classic in October.

Rose, who turned 30 on July 30, exited his 20s in style, winning a pair of prestigious events: the Memorial Tournament and the AT&T National.

Hunter Mahan (28) was also a multiple winner, at the Phoenix Open and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

And even though a pair of 59s were recorded on Tour this season by a pair of veterans, an 18-year-old, Ryo Ishikawa, fired 58 on the Japan PGA Tour. And the round of the year may well have belonged to a 20-year-old.

Northern Ireland’s McIlroy roared to his first PGA Tour victory with a brilliant, eight-birdie, one-eagle, 10-under 62 in the final round of the Quail Hollow Championship. The finish was good enough for a new Quail Hollow course record and a four-stroke triumph over Masters champion Phil Mickelson.

Speaking of major champions, aside from Mickelson, none of the winners was more than 30 years old.

Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell (30) took the U.S. Open, South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen (27) routed the field in the Open Championship at St. Andrews, and Germany’s Martin Kaymer (26) prevailed in a playoff over Bubba Watson at the PGA Championship.

Watson may have been a relatively old 31 for most of the year, but he also became a first-time winner on Tour at the Traveler’s Championship.

Dustin Johnson won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am for the second consecutive season and nearly won the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach while 25, and captured the BMW Championship and nearly the PGA Championship while 26.

Of course, there is always some youthful impact each season, on every tour, but things may be different this time around.

For the remainder of the year, is counting down the Top 10 Newsmakers of 2010. For a list of the complete top 10 and the scheduled release dates, click here.

“I think the takeaway on the competition side of 2010, more than anything else, was the tremendous interest in young players coming up,” Tim Finchem said during his December 'State of the Tour' address. “I’ve never in my tenure seen so much buzz and interest about rookies and young players creating exciting performances.'

On the LPGA, every top-ranked player not named Cristie Kerr is in their 20s. In Europe, many of the world’s best – Kaymer and McIlroy included – have elected to primarily play their home tour. And in the States, there is a obvious lack of presence on the top of leaderboards by Woods.

Kids nowadays don’t seem to be intimidated by Woods, nor do they seem fearful of winning, as evidenced by the multiple multiple champions in their 20s.

It wasn’t long ago that we were trumpeting the triumphs of those in their 40s on Tour, but only three players in that age group won in 2010 – Ernie Els (40), Jim Furyk (40) and Rocco Mediate (47) [Mickelson was 39 when he won the Masters].

Granted, Els won twice and Furyk was the Tour’s Player of the Year, but the year’s biggest stories belonged to those born about the time these two were hitting puberty.

This year was about those who won majors and those who blew them, those who garnered international fame and those who gained a bit of infamy, those who won and those who didn’t on the PGA Tour, and just about everyone with an LPGA card.

The year 2010 was about the Roaring 20s.

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Lewis hopes to win at Volvik with baby on the way

By Randall MellMay 27, 2018, 12:55 am

Stacy Lewis was listening to more than her caddie on her march up the leaderboard Saturday at the Volvik Championship.

Pregnant with her first child, she is listening to her body in a new way these days.

And she could hear a message coming through loud and clear toward the end of her round at Travis Point Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.

“The little one was telling me it’s dinnertime,” Lewis said.

Lewis birdied five of the last six holes to shoot 5-under-par 67 and move into position to make a Sunday run at winning her 13th LPGA title. She is two shots behind the leader, Minjee Lee, whose 68 moved her to 12 under overall.

Sunday has the makings of a free for all with 10 players within three shots of the lead.

Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship

Lewis, 33, is four months pregnant, with her due date Nov. 3. She’s expecting to play just a few more times before putting the clubs away to get ready for the birth. She said she’s likely to make the Marathon Classic in mid-July her last start of the season before returning next year.

Of course, Lewis would relish winning with child.

“I don’t care what limitations I have or what is going on with my body, I want to give myself a chance to win,” she told at the Kingsmill Championship last week.

Lewis claimed an emotional victory with her last title, taking the Cambia Portland Classic late last summer after announcing earlier in the week that she would donate her entire winnings to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in her Houston hometown.

A victory Sunday would also come with a lot of emotion.

It’s been an interesting year for Lewis.

There’s been the joy of learning she’s ready to begin the family she has been yearning for, and the struggle to play well after bouncing back from injury.

Lewis missed three cuts in a row before making it into the weekend at the Kingsmill Championship last week. That’s one more cut than she missed cumulatively in the previous six years. In six starts this year, Lewis hasn’t finished among the top 50 yet, but she hasn’t felt right, either.

The former world No. 1 didn’t make her second start of 2018 until April, at the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew from the HSBC Women’s World Championship in late February with a strained right oblique muscle and didn’t play again for a month.

Still, Lewis is finding plenty to get excited about with the baby on the way.

“I kind of had my first Mother’s Day,” Lewis told last week. “It puts golf into perspective. It makes those bad days not seem so bad. It helps me sleep better at night. We are just really excited.”

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Rose hasn't visited restroom at Colonial - here's why

By Nick MentaMay 27, 2018, 12:20 am

In case you're unaware, it's pretty hot in Texas.

Temperatures at Colonial Country Club have approached 100 degrees this week, leaving players to battle both the golf course and potential dehydration.

With the help of his caddie Mark Fulcher, Fort Worth Invitational leader Justin Rose has been plenty hot himself, staking himself to a four-shot lead.

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

"Yeah, Fulch has done a great job of just literally handing me water bottle after water bottle. It seems relentless, to be honest with you," Rose said Saturday.

So just how much are players sweating the heat at Colonial? Well, it doesn't sound like all that water is making it all the way through Rose.

"I haven't even seen the inside of a restroom yet, so you can't even drink quick enough out there," he shared.

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Up four, Rose knows a lead can slip away

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 11:21 pm

Up four shots heading into Sunday at the Fort Worth Invitational, Justin Rose has tied the largest 54-hole lead of his PGA Tour career.

On the previous two occasions he took a 54-hole Tour lead into the final round, he closed.

And yet, Rose knows just how quickly a lead can slip away. After all, it was Rose who erased a six-shot deficit earlier this season to overtake Dustin Johnson and win the WGC-HSBC Championship. 

"I think I was in the lead going into the final round in Turkey when I won, and I had a four-shot lead going into the final round in Indonesia in December and managed to put that one away," Rose said Saturday, thinking back to his two other victories late last year.

"I was five, six back maybe of DJ, so I've got experience the other way. ... So you can see how things can go both ways real quick. That's why there is no point in getting too far ahead of myself."

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Up one to start the third round Saturday, Rose extended his lead to as much as five when he birdied four of his first six holes.

He leads the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green (+12.853) and strokes gained: approach-the-green (+7.931).

Rose has won five times worldwide, including at the 2016 Rio Olympics, since his last victory in the United States, at the 2015 Zurich Classic.

With a win Sunday, he'd tie Nick Faldo for the most PGA Tour wins by an Englishman post-World War II, with nine.

But he isn't celebrating just yet.

"It is a big lead, but it's not big enough to be counting the holes away. You've got to go out and play good, you've got to go out positive, you've got to continue to make birdies and keep going forward.

"So my mindset is to not really focus on the lead, it's to focus on my game tomorrow and my performance. You know, just keep executing the way I have been. That's going to be my challenge tomorrow. Going to look forward to that mindset."

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Grillo still hunting follow-up to debut win

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 10:53 pm

Following a round of 1-under 69 Saturday, Emiliano Grillo will enter Sunday's final round at Colonial four shots behind leader Justin Rose.

Grillo is hunting his first win since he took the 2015 Safeway Open in his rookie debut as a PGA Tour member. 

The young Argentinian finished 11th in the FedExCup points race that season, contending in big events and finishing runner-up at the 2016 Barclays.

In the process, Grillo had to learn to pace himself and that it can be fruitless to chase after success week to week.

"That was a hot run in there," Grillo said Saturday, referring to his rookie year. "I played, in 2016, I played the majors very well. I played the big tournaments very well. I was in contention after two, three days in most of the big events.

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

"I think, you know, I wanted to do better. I pushed for it. Some of the tournaments I ended up being 50th or 60th just because I wanted to play. I wanted to play well so badly. That played against me, so I learned from that. In that rookie year, I learned that."

Grillo was still plenty successful in his sophomore season, advancing to the BMW Championship last fall.

But now he's beginning to regain some of that form that made him such an immediate success on Tour. Grillo has recorded four top-10 finishes year - a T-9 at Mayakoba, a T-8 at Honda, a T-3 at Houston, and a T-9 at Wells Fargo - and will now look to outduel U.S. Open champs in Rose and Brooks Koepka on Sunday at Colonial.

"Well, he's top 10 in the world, so everything he does he does it pretty well," Grillo said of Rose. "You know, he does his own thing. Like I say, he's top 10 in the world. Nothing wrong with his game. ...

"He's in the lead on a Sunday. Doesn't matter where you're playing, he's got to go out and shoot under par. He's got 50 guys behind him trying to reach him, and I'm one of those. I've just got to go out and do what he did today on those first five or six holes and try to get him in the early holes."