Bill Nichols

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pro Golf's Fountain of Youth

It has taken decades, but finally, golf has gotten younger. 

Teenagers are no longer just for veteran players to have as children. They have gone from mowing lawns to mowing down established players.

Younger than a single malt and carded when trying to buy one, they are moving up the World Ranking like pencil marks on the pantry door.

Last week, Matteo Manassero won his second European Tour title in Malaysia three days before his 18th birthday. And in San Antonio, Brendan Steele, a week removed from his 27th birthday, edged 24-year-old Kevin Chappell at the Valero Texas Open.

The previous week saw Charl Schwartzel, 26, win the Masters, and 23-year-old Jason Day tie for second with one Adam Scott, who at 30 and with a long putter, looks like a high school narc.

Players in their 20s have won four of the last six PGA Tour events. Some of the faces are too young to be recognizable outside of family photo albums. Steele can’t even rival the face time of his uncle, Anthony Geary, who plays Luke on General Hospital.

``The guys who are household names now weren’t household names when they started,” Steele told reporters. ``You’ve got to make yourself a household name and you’ve got to start somewhere.’’

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