There's one round left to be played at the 2011 U.S. Open, but it's already a safe bet to say the major championship golf drought for American golf will reach five by Sunday evening.
No doubt about it, golfers from the States are currently experiencing a drought the likes of which nobody has ever seen. While top players like Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar, and Steve Stricker give us moments of brilliance from time to time, none of them has been able to pick up and carry the torch that Tiger Woods held for the last ten-plus years.
The game of golf has gone through spells where players from the rest of the world have dominated the game, including 1994, when every major was won by a foreign player. But with a McIlroy win on Sunday, American golf would set a new record for the longest drought between wins, which dates back to Graeme McDowell's win at last year's U.S. Open.
We could officially come full circle on Sunday. But, truthfully, is it really that hard to believe? Simply put, American golf no longer has a face; it's currently just a jumbled mix of good, but not great players, and that doesn't appear to be changing anytime soon.
Sure, you can debate that McIlroy's incredible performance is an outlier that shouldn't count. But that still doesn't mask the fact that nobody has stepped up in Woods' absence. That's the bad news, folks.
The good news is the future of American golf looks extremely bright. Amateurs Russell Henley, who just graduated from Georgia, and UCLA sophomore Patrick Cantlay are both currently ranked inside the top-25 after three rounds, which makes what they're doing this week even more impressive.
But they're pretty much the extent of the good vibes this week. We may own Europe when it comes to having the best boy band made up of golfers, but we're definitely lacking in an area that's far more important -- and that's winning major championships.