Increasingly, golf is being viewed by many within the sport as a young man’s game.
Today, it seems that a number of players under the age of 30 are among those most likely to win on the PGA and European Tours, not to mention the four majors.
Leading this youthful charge has been Rory McIlroy, although the reigning PGA champion's form has dropped recently, so much so he priced at 25/1 with Ladbrokes to actually retain his PGA crown.
Fortunately, for many professionals, they don’t fall from their peak as soon as they hit their 40s. Phil Mickelson’s triumph at the Open proved that, but there are those older than Lefty showing that there’s still life in them yet. Approaching the age of 50, which is when professional players become eligible for various senior tours, Vijay Singh is still going strong, recent controversies aside.
Never too late to win
While the likes of Mickelson and fellow veteran Ernie Els show that they’re capable of winning after playing for so long, those who have bobbed along in the professional ranks for upwards of two decades until they’re well into their 40’s can shine on the odd occasion. Earlier this year, Ken Duke, a 44-year-old journeyman, picked up his maiden win on the PGA Tour to the surprise of many.
Duke’s win at the Travelers Championship struck a blow for older players at all levels, although those whose best days appeared to be behind them have managed to perform admirably on the game’s biggest stages, particularly the majors.
In 2009, multiple Open champion Tom Watson was approaching his 60th birthday and was seen as doing little more than make up the numbers at that year’s tournament.
To the delight of many, one of golf’s most popular elder statesmen managed to mount a serious challenge for the title before agonisingly losing out at the end. However, he took his defeat with dignity, and showed that age is no limit when it comes to being able to shine in golf’s most famous tournaments.