Young and deep

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - THE SECOND PAGE -

The PGA Tour is as deep and as young as it has ever been.

Xan­der Schauf­fele is an ex­am­ple of how it’s never been younger.

The 23-year-old from San Diego was No. 352 in the world when he earned the fi­nal qual­i­fy­ing spot in Ten­nessee for the U.S. Open, and then he tied for fifth at Erin Hills. A month later, he calmly hit a pitch­ing wedge to 3 feet on the par3 clos­ing hole at The Green­brier for his first PGA Tour vic­tory.

Schauf­fele be­came the eighth player un­der age 25 to win on the PGA Tour this year, the most dat­ing to 1970, when the tour be­gan com­pil­ing com­plete records. That also makes 12 vic­to­ries this sea­son — just over one-third of all PGA Tour events — by play­ers who have yet to turn 25, with Justin Thomas win­ning three times, and Jor­dan Spi­eth and Hideki Mat­suyama each win­ning twice.

This year’s youth group and their ages when they won: Thomas (23), Spi­eth (23), Mat­suyama (24), Jon Rahm (22), Cameron Smith (23), Si Woo Kim (21), Daniel Berger (24) and Schauf­fele (23).

The pre­vi­ous record for most play­ers un­der 25 to win in a sea­son was last year, when seven play­ers won eight times (Spi­eth won twice). Two years ago, the un­der-25 group also recorded eight vic­to­ries, though Spi­eth did most of the dam­age with five of them, in­clud­ing two ma­jors.

It’s quite a con­trast to an­other year in which play­ers un­der 25 recorded eight vic­to­ries. That was in 1999. Tiger Woods (23) won all of them.

So not only is it an ex­am­ple of a strong youth move­ment, they are shar­ing the wealth. And there are still 12 tour­na­ments re­main­ing.


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