Keegan Bradley’s victory at the PGA Championship did not only show the world an emerging young talent in professional golf but it also ended the six-tournament-long winless streak in the majors by the United States.
A victory for an American at the Atlanta Athletic Club was not unexpected but what came as a surprise was the playoff between the little known Jason Dufner and the 25-year old rookie Bradley. It was the first major success for the country since the 2010 Masters victory of Phil Mickelson.
Brendan Steele, another young American, also played good until he faded on Sunday as the top 10 finishers went to more experienced campaigners like David Toms and Scott Verplank.
What is clear though is that American golf got the boost it needed with the Wanamaker Trophy now in the hands of Bradley. This year’s PGA Tour showed the rise in a new generation of domestic talent but having all the four majors this year in the hands of non-Americans would have been hard to take.
“My class of the Nationwide (tour) and the rookies and the younger players are very, very good,” Bradley said after his triumph.
“I just know from the guys, the rookies that I graduated with on the Nationwide Tour, like Chris Kirk and Jamie Lovemark, all of these guys. They are so good, and any one of them could win every week,” he said.
Dufner, who had a five-stroke lead earlier before he lost it on the last four holes, hopes the people will remember that there is plenty of talent besides the big names in golf as what he and Bradley proved on the course.
“A lot of guys can play. There are new names coming out that people should be excited about. It’s not all about everybody you see on TV. There’s a lot of guys that can really play, and they are going to play really good golf for a long time out here,” he said.
The United States may have lacked a consistent winner after Tiger Wood’s misfortune started in at the end of 2009 but there are actually six “twentysomething” rookies who won this season’s PGA Tour including four Americans.
Marketers are hoping that despite Mickelson’s remaining popularity with US fans, the new emerging faces in golf will be able to challenge the Europeans like Rory McIlroy, Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood and Luke Donald. Among the main contenders are Bradley, Steele, Rickie Fowler, Gary Woodland, Nick Watney and Dustin Johnson.