by Jeff Skinner
I look at the superb leaderboard at The Players Championship and think about a line from one of my favorite movies The Hunt for Red October. At the end of the film, as the Red October is sailing up a river in Massachusetts, Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin) says to Capt Ramius of The Red October (Sean Connery), “Welcome to the New World Sir.”
That’s the feeling you get when you look at this leaderboard. This is the New World Leaderboard. It has a mix of the best players in the world, older and younger, American and International. It’s a great leaderboard. If you can’t get excited about this group of players then you should spend your time watching something else.
There is plenty of experienced talent there: David Toms, Steve Stricker and K.J. Choi. There is an abundance of youth there: Martin Kaymer, Nick Watney, Graeme McDowell, and Lucas Glover. Luke Donald is playing the best golf of anyone in the world and if you are looking for personalities, how about Rory Sabbatini, not to mention McDowell again. Major Champions is what makes a leaderboard you say. All right; McDowell, Kaymer, Glover and Toms all have one.
But no Tiger, no Phil you cry! I say get used to it. We have seen the best of both Phil and Tiger. I am not saying they won’t win more tournaments and more majors but we will not see Tiger circa 2000 again. Those days are past. Phil may win more majors but do you think he can double his present total? Probably not.
Get ready to see a mix of young talent and experienced champions mixed in with some phenoms and an old gray hair tossed in for good measure on the leaderboards of the future. Golf continues to move away from the Tiger & Phil Era. It’s “The New World Leaderboard”…Welcome to the New World.