Recently, I wrote about the ‘new normal’ in golf. Things are a changing and many of us golf fans are excited to see what is in-store for professional golf. I am convinced that 2015 is the year of the young golfer! These high-speed low-drag players have come into their own and are ready to show that they are ready for the big league!
Every time the conversation focuses on the young players, pundits, like myself, suggest that Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson still have plenty of game left. They will not go away quietly and have the experience to understand that on any given weekend, anything can happen. But are these two aging superstars the only aging professionals worth mentioning?
What about players like Padraig Harrington? This 43 year-old veteran might be considered a journey man, but I am not sure he falls into that category. This is a great discussion for another time. Regardless, Harrington surprised the golfing world this year by winning The Honda Classic. Harrington has missed 5 cuts, finished T56, T75 and T73 in his starts before his huge win. Additionally, he missed the cut the very next week at the Valspar Championship.
If golfing experts were to check Harrington’s last three years on the PGA Tour, they would suggest that it was time for him to fade away into the sunset. Before his win at The Honda Classic, Harrington was rated 297th in the world; after the win, he jumped to 82nd, and now sits at 80th. His win has changed his golfing financial future because he will be able to keep his card for the foreseeable future.
Should we really be surprised that Harrington won a PGA Tour tournament in 2015? He is a 3-time Major champion (The Open 2007, 2008 and PGA Championship 2008), PGA Player of the Year (2008), PGA Tour Player of the Year (2008), European Tour Order of Merit (2006) and has 35 wins worldwide! So I ask again, Should we really be surprised that Harrington won a PGA Tournament in 2015?
Many armchair experts would still say ‘yes’, the stats show that Harrington’s win at The Honda Classic was a fluke! I suggest that it was unanticipated, but not really surprising! Harrington winning is not any more surprising that Nick Taylor winning for the first time at the Sanderson Farms Championship in November 2014. The only difference is that Harrington has a proven track record and knows how to handle the press of a Sunday afternoon.
It may sound like I am contradicting myself, but actually I am not. I do believe that the young players are taking over professional golf. But, it would not be wise to count out all the veterans, every week. As Padraig Harrington proved, in professional golf – Do Not Count Anyone Out!
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!