April 08, 2011
Think about some of the great American amateur performances we've had the privilege of watching over the last 10 or so years at the Masters. Matt Kuchar, Casey Wittenberg, and Ryan Moore come to mind when you think of guys that took hold of a rare opportunity on golf's biggest and made the most of it.
But aside from those those three, it's hard to find a recent American amateur that has done anything in the last 5 or so years. If you're wondering why that is, it's because we haven't had the privilege of watching one on the weekend since 2005, when Moore and Luke List made the cut.
With Peter Uihlein, Lion Kim, Nathan Smith, and David Chung all missing the cut, the drought is now six years, which is an amazing stat when you consider guys like Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson are blazing a new trail for young American players on the PGA Tour.
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For some reason, that success hasn't translated to success at Augusta National for some of the game's up-and-coming amateurs. Uihlein was the most likely to make the cut, but a 5-over 77 on Friday derailed his chances, leaving David Chung as the top American player at 4-over for the week.
The big question is, why has it been so tough for American amateurs to make the cut? It's hard to say, but the pressure of playing in such a big tournament has to weigh on them. But with youngsters like Matteo Manassero and Japan's Hideki Matsuyama, who made the cut this year, having success, it's obvious all amateurs aren't struggling.
For now, we'll have to wait another year to see if a crop of young American players can break the drought at the Masters.