By Craig Dolch, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
4. Chubby is getting low on guys:
These days, the Americans have become the proverbial bug going splat against the windshield of men’s professional golf, especially in the majors.
When Rory McIlroy romped to an eight-shot victory in last month’s U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club, it marked the first time in the modern era that Americans had failed to win in five consecutive majors.
Forget about dominating the rest of the world. The Americans can’t even hold their own against tiny Northern Ireland, which claims two of the last five major champs (McIlroy and 2010 U.S. Open winner Graeme McDowell).
And no American has finished in the top three in three of the last five majors, so it’s not like we can trace this development solely to Tiger Woods’ issues.
The top American players admit they’re on the ropes here a bit. But that will change next week when the Open Championship returns to Royal St. George’s, one of the lesser-known and most unusual of the course rota. Here are five reasons why:
1. Americans have won here: The Open has been held at Royal St. George’s only four times since 1950, but the Americans won half of them. Ben Curtis shocked the world when he beat Thomas Bjorn and Vijay Singh by a shot in 2003, and Bill Rogers won by four in 1981. These days, a 50 percent win percentage sounds darn good.
2. Royal St. George’s’ quirkiness: Every Open Championship is played on courses where the odd bounce or the lucky roll can play a huge role in the outcome. But Royal St. George’s’ canted fairways make almost every shot a dice game. This levels the playing field and gives more players a chance at winning. That’s how unheralded Curtis won while notching his only top-10 of the season.
3. Emerging youngsters: The ages of the last four major champions have been 28 (Oosthuizen), 26 (Kaymer), 25 (Schwartzel) and 22 (McIlroy). This has become a time for the young players to shine, and the U.S. has plenty of emerging stars in Dustin Johnson, Nick Watney, Hunter Mahan, Matt Kuchar, Jeff Overton, Gary Woodland, Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson. It’s a matter of time before one of these Americans breaks through.
Chubby Chandler, the founder of International Sports Management, is running out of clients who haven’t won majors. The big Brit has seen his guys win three of the last four majors -- and they weren’t named Ernie Els or Lee Westwood, either. Seriously, maybe because Chandler has just set up an American base, he can help end the U.S. drought by signing his first U.S. player. 5. Golf is cyclical:
With the exception of Woods’ 13-year dominance, golf has always had an ebb and flow to it. Guys take their turn on top, as do the countries they represent. To think Americans no longer know how to play golf at the highest level would be to ignore the history of the sport. Even the best golfers have off days. Or, in this case, a bad five majors -- that’s all.