Golf may be a quiet game, but it’s certainly not an obsolete one. Despite concerns about the game dying out with the younger generations, the depth of the professional tours around the world are certainly starting to prove otherwise. With greats like Rory McIlroy having already proven time and time again that young players stand a chance at topping the game and plenty of under-30 players winning major championships, there’s an undeniably young presence in golf today. But who’s leading in this young group? We’re taking a look at some of the top young players forming the new generation of golf around the world today.
Jon Rahm - Spain
Jon Rahm is relatively new on the professional scene, having only gone pro in 2016, but he has certainly gone on to prove that he deserves a place there. With two PGA Tour victories and four international victories to his name, this 23-year-old is one of the young elite golfers in the world right now. Spain can be proud of Rahm, with his FedEx Cup rank of 10, and a scoring average of an amazing 69.93. What’s more, January 2018 saw Rahm reach an incredible ranking of No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking after a well-deserved win at the CareerBuilder Challenge.
Befor turning pro, Rahm had a firm spot of No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking for a record-breaking 60 weeks. He even won the Mark H. McCormack Medal in 2015 which not only gave him a prestigious medal to celebrate but entry into the US Open and Open Championships too - not bad for a young player.
Tyrrell Hatton - England
Tyrell Hatton is a little older than others on this list, but that by no means puts him among the older generations. In fact, this 26-year-old started his career young, turning professional back in 2011 and has gone on to have three international victories and seven top-10 finishes. He’s had a pretty impressive career to this point.
Despite the listed wins, Hatton has recently undergone some scrutiny from other pros, with fellow golfer Gary Evans even telling him to “grow up” for his less-than-favourable behaviour. This came after a particularly rocky British Masters competition that left Hatton with a bad attitude and unimpressive behaviour as a result. Was Evans’ comment too harsh? We’ll leave that up to you to decide for yourself.
Matt Fitzpatrick - England
Matt Fitzpatrick is another English entrant on our list but has a well-deserved place here all the same. At the age of 23, Fitzpatrick has already had a promising career, with two amateur wins, four professional wins and three top-10 finishes so far. His amateur career alone was a promising one, with two big wins, namely at the 2012 Boys Amateur Championship and the 2013 US Amateur, but these wins weren’t his only successes. The US Amateur win earned him entry into the US Open, 2014 Masters Tournament and Open Championship on the condition that he remained an amateur, which he did until the end of the 2014 US Open. Also of note, Fitzpatrick even won the Mark H. McCormack Medal after reaching the top of the World Amateur Golf Ranking!
If that wasn’t enough of a success for Matt Fitzpatrick, his professional career has already seen him earn four European Tour wins ,and, considering that he’s only been professional for four years, that’s quite the achievement. The future looks bright for Fitzpatrick, and he’s certainly one example of just how prominent the younger generations are becoming on today’s golfing scene.
Si Woo Kim – South Korea
Si Woo Kim is easily one of South Korea’s best young players today. With a win at the 2017 Players Championship at the tender age of 21, he became the youngest golfer to ever win the competition, and with his position on the PGA Tour, his promise certainly can’t be ignored. South Korea had produced some incredible sportsmen over the years and the support for this star player is growing with every passing day. In fact, the growth in popularity of South Korean golf is evident in the different games, such as golf toto, which have appeared over time due to the increasing demand of this sport.
Si Woo Kim is a big reason for the growth in popularity of the sport in the country, and the 22-year-old golfer has an amazing FedEx Cup Ranking of 35, two PGA Tour wins under his belt, two second-place finishes and 11 top-10 finishes to boot, it’s clear to see just how promising Si Woo Kim could be in the coming years. He’s still young and with further support, promotion and dedication, his incredible skill could easily drive him to be one of the best young players to grace the golf course.
Ryo Ishikawa - Japan
Most of us know Ryo Ishikawa as being the 15-year-old star who rightfully claimed the Munsingwear Open KSB Cup in 2007, but his success certainly didn’t end there. He had quite the shocking rise to success, turning professional at just 16 in 2008 and going on to win 14 international victories, earning four top-10 finishes and a wealth of titles to be proud of. Ishikawa is arguably one of the hardest working golfers of his age range, regularly recognising his weaknesses and working hard to fix them rather than simply focusing on his strengths.
However, a back injury nearly knocked him out of the PGA Tour running when he was sidelined as a result. With a long healing process and a lot of hard work to regain his form as a professional golfer, things weren’t looking good for Ishikawa and he was even overtaken by another Japanese player – Hideki Matsuyama – as the country’s best. Whether Ishikawa can recover from this downfall in the coming seasons is a matter of watching his journey, but with a ‘have fun’ attitude towards the game, we could still see him back on the golf course at his full ability in no time.
With previous youngsters having grown up and moved on to be the ‘older generations’, there’s plenty of room for a strong replacement and with the players on our list and their course mates, this could very well be on the cards. With strong amateur success, young players can earn their place in the professional leagues and are already proving time and time again that they deserve to be there. Who’s your favourite of the new generation?