Golf’s Rising Stars
Hello fellow hackers,
Hope you didn’t miss me too much and Happy New Year! To kick off the new year I am going to talk about 3 of the tours up and coming stars; Jimmy Walker (35), Patrick Reed (24) and Jordan Spieth (21).
While Jimmy Walker might be the outlier age wise, he is one of the tours best players and emerged as a force to be reckoned with since being the Nationwide Tour leading money winner and player of the year in 2004. It took roughly 9 years for Walker to get the hang of playing under pressure.
In the 2013 season, Walker won his first tournament (2013 Frys.com Open) by 2 strokes over Major Champion Vijay Singh. Keeping up that momentum in 2014 he won his 2nd tournament after 2 starts at the Sony Open in Hawaii which he will be defending his title this coming weekend. (Whomever was watching the Hyundai Tournament of Champions this past week, Walker lost in a playoff to another player in this article – Patrick Reed)
A few weeks after this win he took the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am by one stroke over Dustin Johnson and Jim Renner. After this 3rd victory in 8 starts in 2014, Walker became the 2014 lead on the money list, FedEx Cup points, and Ryder Cup points standings. To round out his season, he went on to 3 top-10 finishes at the majors. I have a feeling this is not the last time we will be hearing about Mr. Walker!
Next up is Patrick Reed – who became famous after the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral when he said he is a “top 5 golfer in the world” (while sporting Tigers “Sunday red”). He caught a lot of flack for that comment, but instead of hiding in the shadows he backed that statement up – while maybe not being a top-5 golfer he definitely carded some great wins.
In 2014 he proceeded to win the Human Challenge by 2 strokes over runner-up Ryan Palmer, the WGC-Cadillac by 1 stroke over Bubba and Jamie Donaldson and just this past Monday he won the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in an exciting playoff over another rising star Jimmy Walker. Patrick Reed carries his momentum into this weeks tournament, The Sony Open, when he will go up against defending champ Jimmy Walker amongst others. While many might feel Patrick Reed his 4 wins in 3 years is nothing crazy, he also played very very well on this years Ryder Cup team by carding 3.5 points individually.
Rounding out this entry is the youngest of our rising stars; Jordan Spieth. Quite possibly one of the most-talked about golfers outside of Rickie Fowler and Rory, Spieth has shown a level of maturity and raw talent people twice his age wish they had.
In 2013, Spieth started his season with no official tour status; after missing the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open, he proceeded to make three cuts in March, tying for 2nd at the Puerto Rico Open. Then at the young age of 19 Spieth won the John Deere Classic in an exciting 3-way sudden-death playoff against Zach Johnson and David Hearn. This resulted in him obtaining the title of the fourth youngest PGA Tour winner in the last 82 years. What made the win even more exciting? He holed out from a green side biker on the 72nd hole to qualify for the playoff and eventually win.
After this win, he was eligible for the FedEx cup in 11th place, which made him eligible for the 2014 Majors (where on Sunday he was ever so close to winning a green jacket, but tied for 2nd while becoming the youngest runner-up in Masters history) losing to Bubba Watson.
Spieth then carried his momentum throughout 2014 by winning the Australian Open in November, and just a week later Tiger’s Hero World Challenge while setting a new tournament record of 26-under par.
While Spieth might have just turned 21, what he has achieved thus far on the PGA Tour is what many may call Tiger-Esque.
I am confident Walker, Reed and Spieth will continue to improve their games in 2015 – however will they be able to fend off red-hot Rory, Rickie, and Tigers new swing? Only time will tell!