The sport of golf is currently dominated by Europeans. If one were to look at the World Golf Rankings, it would reveal only two Americans in the top ten. Steve Stricker and Webb Simpson stand alone in a sea of international athletes that have all but taken over the sport. As to why this has occurred, it may in part have to do with Tiger Woods taking all the limelight for the past decade. However, all is not lost. A fresh wave a young blood has spewed forth, hoping to make their marks on the grandest of stages.
Keegan Bradley won the 2011 PGA Championship and will be trying to tackle Augusta National in just two weeks. The golfer has been a factor on most the tournaments he has entered this season. His best finish in 2012 was in a tie for second after falling in a playoff to Bill Haas, the winner of last year's Fedex Cup and claimer of the $10 million + first place prize. Bradley will need to control his emotions if he is to win. The young golfer is prone becoming flustered when he takes a misstep. Somewhat of an obvious comment, but his putter will need to be true. Even is a good score at Augusta National. Birdies are infrequent. Bradley would be wise to learn some zen tactics in the next two weeks.
Jason Dufner has come into the spot light during the past several months. He is best known for losing the PGA Championship to Bradley last year after having a comfortable lead in the last several holes. Dufner's main weakness is playing with the lead. The golfer can make a charge when necessary, but once he has climbed the leader board, he seems to drift back down. My advice to Dufner would be to score as much as possible but not to be overly aggressive in the opening rounds at the Masters. Steady play will be rewarded, particularly with Jason. Among the newer faces in the sport, Jason Dufner is my favorite to root for because of his calm demeanor and lax approach to the game. It will serve him well when others become anxious.
Finally, Kyle Stanley made his mark on the PGA Tour this year with a victory at the Waste Management Open. The young golfer definitely has skills to win a major. Like Dufner, Stanley has been shown to fall at the most critical of moments like he did to Brandt Snedeker. Also like Dufner, the golfer is hard to read emotionally when on the course. Off course, he is honest, but when the golfer is playing, it is straight poker face behind sunglasses. I look forward to watching him in two weeks.
I hope an American will rise to the occasion at the Masters. I find myself rooting for my home country, especially when the underdog, like in soccer. Apropos Tiger Woods, he may not be a factor in this major, depending on the seriousness of his leg injury. I always hope to see a good performance from Woods, but am reticent to think he will be able to claim a victory so short after aggregating his prior injuries. Here's to a good major and may the best man win.
I am an avid fan of the sport of golf. I enjoy being up to date with all the new faces and watching the close matches on a weekly basis.
- Tiger Woods
- Jason Dufner