Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy are the owners of all the Majors as of now. Rory claimed the last two of 2014 and Jordan has won the first two of 2015. They are 1 and 2 in the World Rankings and have put a fair bit of space between themselves and everyone else in that list.
The Majors are the sports ultimate test. The four courses used up to this point ask for varying degrees of distance, imagination and finesse and only two under 25’s have been equal to the task. As the pair now focus on the home of golf and The Open at St Andrews, it’s still impossible to look past them as the eventual winners of the Claret Jug.
Now we are used to players winning consecutive Majors. It doesn’t happen that often but Tiger made it seem pretty commonplace in this century’s first decade.
The main point of these statistics is that it shows that the changing of the guard in golf isn’t happening , it has happened.
There is now a generation of young golf enthusiasts who have only just heard of that Tiger fellow. They haven’t seen him do the things that us oldies bark on about like it was yesterday. Tigers’ last Major win was 7 years ago. My youngest daughter wasn’t born.
Although Rickie Fowler played the U.S. Open terribly, he is knocking on the door of making the new ‘Big 2’ into a ‘Big 3’.
That nickname harks back to the previous trio of Palmer, Nicklaus and Player but there is a crucial difference. The classic Big 3 were all at varying stages of their career when the media tried to make them into rivals. Spieth, Fowler and McIlroy are all peers. Essentially they are the same age and they are all still improving. But I fear the ultimate moment we all want to see may never happen. Woods and Mickleson never really went head to head on a Sunday in a meaningful event and with Woods currently playing the sport like he’s a CEO who has paid his way into a Pro-Am, it seems they never will.
But golf, like all sports, sometimes throws up that magical hour or two. That afternoon where the stars align and the golfing gods give the world the YouTube clip it wants to savour again and again. For 2015, it would be a sun-kissed back 9 on the Old Course where the three young guns are tied for the lead with only a few tee shots to go. Rory chooses to smack the life out of his ball off the tee, Jordan rolls in one of his ridiculously well timed putts and Fowler gets a twinkle in his eye as he hits his approach on 17.
As with a hundred Majors before it, that ideal situation may not be in play next month. But if it was, those young kids just starting to get the golfing bug will be able to tell their kids that they watched it. The name Tiger won’t be mentioned and they may well complain about the state of golf in 2040. But they will remember the golden age of 2015 and that one Sunday afternoon in Scotland where what we wanted to see coincided with what actually happened.
If it doesn’t however, I can assure you that negotiations are well under way to ensure Fowler, Spieth and McIlroy are together on the first tee of the 2016 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. Better than nothing.