People keep asking where all the good, young American golfers are. They point toward Rickie Fowler, Sean O’Hair, Dustin Johnson, Anthony Kim and Hunter Mahan, but in total that group has not won as much as Fred Couples did in his entire career on the PGA Tour.
Maybe it is time to look elsewhere. Maybe the best Americans are just coming out of college or will be leaving the collegiate ranks in the next year or so.
At this week’s Travelers Championship three such young players are in the field —Patrick Cantlay, a sophomore at UCLA; Bud Cauley, playing in only his second event as a professional out of Alabama; and Morgan Hoffman, making his professional debut at the Travelers from Oklahoma State.
All three are accomplished players in their own right, Cantlay was both the Mickelson award winner as the best freshman in the country and the Nicklaus award winner for the best college player in the country.
Cantlay led UCLA into the match play portion of the NCAA Championships this year and fell one shot short of winning the individual title. He also qualified for the U.S. Open and finished T21.
Hoffman, was a stalwart at OSU and his game rivaled another very good player, Pete Uihlein, the reigning U.S. Amateur champion. Hoffman, Cauley and Cantlay have all the credentials to be successful on the PGA Tour.
All three will likely make the cut at Travelers, with Cantlay in the hunt for a victory.
When people ask where are all the good young Americans, they may eventually mention one or all three of these promising players.
Like with Rory McIllroy, we have to let their careers play out and see what comes of their accomplishments, but right now they seem to the ones who may fulfill the needs for American golf going forward.
Stuart Hall is editor of the Golf Press Association.