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This week's event appears to represent the Americans' least likely chance to break through. Opens, 62 PGA Championships and 55 Masters over the same span.
American golfers fading in major way
It has not been easy, not in majors, not recently. And as the next major approaches, with McIlroy as the favorite, the major titles held by players from around the Louis Vuitton Belt Drawing
When the British Open begins Thursday at Royal St. George's in Sandwich, England, the contingent of Americans who will contend for the title will be not only on foreign soil, but will arrive in a truly unprecedented spot. Open at Pebble Beach is from the United States. Moreover, none of the top four players in the world Englishmen Luke Donald and Lee Westwood, German Martin Kaymer and Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy is American. Open from 1926 63 and even 12 of 14 British Opens from 1970 83, this amounts to a continental shift.
globe and Woods out indefinitely, it doesn't appear Americans' collection of championships will get easier anytime soon.
Open: Two Americans (Chappell and Robert Garrigus) and eight international players from seven different countries on four continents. contingent. The only other Americans to win majors in that time Zach Johnson, Lucas Glover and Stewart Cink have thus far failed to build on their breakthroughs. American teams, who won the Ryder Cup in 1959 and didn't relinquish it until 1985, have lost six of the last eight biennial team events against their counterparts from Europe.
There is an American group including Nick Watney, Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson and Rickie Fowler from which much is expected, a group constantly referred to as the next generation of American golf. It is that group that allows Mickelson to say, "I'm actually very encouraged with where our American golfers are." Americans are getting past the Woods Mickelson era, and it's only a matter of time before one or more of the younger players breaks through. Open champion from Northern Ireland. "You really didn't have a lot of stand outs outside of the big two or three. I think they have a lot of talent spread across the age brackets now, and I think they're sort of on the verge of being very strong again and winning major championships and winning globally."
"There is some of that missing in our society right now. This is a society thing; this isn't just a golf thing."
"They don't get it because they have everything in America, don't they?" Chubby Chandler, the agent for Westwood, McIlroy and Masters champ Charl Schwartzel, among others, told Scottish newspaper the Scotsman afterward. "Everything over there is easy for them."
Enter Watson, the brilliantly talented Floridian who plays with feel and flair and has the ability to contend for major championships. Watson, though, put a further emphasis on the difference between some American golfers and those from abroad when he traveled earlier this month to play in the French Open, an atypical experience for him. He missed the cut, and proceeded to identify some of Paris' landmarks as "the big tower," "an arch," and asking "then what's that, it starts with an 'L?'" With the weekend freed Gucci Belt Black Red And Green
Yet those players have not yet broken through. Open after three rounds but lost to McDowell. Watson made it to a playoff at the 2010 PGA Championship, and lost to Kaymer. Fowler, 22, has started a vibrant, flat brimmed fashion craze among teenage golf fans, yet he hasn't yet won a PGA Tour event.
Keep going. Open, less than a month ago at Congressional? That would be Kevin Chappell, a 25 year old Californian who has played a total of 25 events on the PGA Tour. McIlroy, the 22 year old from Northern Ireland who is widely heralded as the game's next star, thumped the field there. Gucci Belts Blue
Tiger Woods, winner of 14 majors and the de facto top American hope for the past 15 years, will miss his second straight major because of persistent injuries to his left leg. Mickelson can hardly be considered a contender; he has one top 10 finish in 17 Open appearances. The top ranked American, No. 5 Steve Stricker, hasn't finished in the top five at a major since 1999. Matt Kuchar, ranked eighth in the world, has never posted a top five.
"It's obvious that world golf as a whole has become so much stronger," said Phil Mickelson, the last American to take a major, the 2010 Masters, "and that international and European golf has become world Gucci Belt High Quality class and top notch and (boasts) some of the best players in the world."
McDowell puts forth what, for many, is a logical explanation: Such trends go in cycles. But not everyone agrees. There is a line of thought that American players have become too complacent, that the money on the PGA Tour is too easy to come by. Pursuing greatness, and the pressure that comes with it, is unnecessary, the thinking goes, so Americans have become soft. Open champion who will call action at Royal St. George's for ESPN. "There are some decisions that you have to make, and some of them are turning down lots of money to go play in some events that you don't want to go play in traveling around the world, doing some things you need to do to make yourself a better player.
up, he said he would try to sightsee some more, but ultimately wanted to "get home as fast as possible."
Since the 1980s and early 1990s, when an international contingent led by Seve Ballesteros of Spain, Greg Norman of Australia, Nick Price of Zimbabwe and Nick Faldo of England began to broaden the game's scope, the once presumed American dominance in golf has been iffy at best. In 1994, when the major titles went to Spain's Jose Maria Olazabal, South Africa's Ernie Els and Price (who won both the British Open and the PGA), golf seemed global. Never, though, had it reached this level, in which choosing an American who might win the next major seems so muddled.
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