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Golf’s Young Guns Just DON’T CARE!

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After watching Justin Thomas win the PGA Championship on Sunday, it is 100 percent clear to me that the “young guns” today on Tour just do not care. They don’t care about anything or anyone, and this I tell you is a GOOD thing. So what do I mean? I’m glad you asked. Let me list a few of the things that are different about the PGA Tour’s most talented young guns.

Their Fellow Tour Players

The young guns on the PGA Tour don’t care very much how their fellow players are playing. Not only do they want to beat each other, but they want to do it by as many strokes as possible. They amaze me with how well they can keep the pedal to the metal and go as low as possible. What a refreshing way to play; the goal is to not only win, but to do so in dominant fashion. You gotta love it!

The History of the Game

Records are made to be broken, as they say, but for many years records stayed intact. It always seemed like for some reason they just weren’t broken. Case in point, John Cook won the FedEx Classic years ago and was around 23- or 24-under par for the first three rounds. The record on Tour was 27-under, and he finished around 25-under (and won the event).

Today’s young guns would have tried to get it to 30-under without blinking. I’m not saying Cook didn’t try to do so, but he did fall short on one of the easier courses on Tour at that time. I would bet a ton of money that his record would have been shattered if the same thing happened today.

Par or Bogeys 

I don’t think I ever heard that making par was a bad score; in fact, if you shot even par on Tour each week, you made a nice living and almost won a tournament or two. Nowadays on the PGA Tour, par gets you a weekend off. One of the things I like most about the young players of today is that they try to birdie each hole and rarely worry about an early bogey. Back in the day, you were fighting to get back to par. Now it’s all about going as low as you can go.

Fairways

Fairways hit was once an important category on Tour, and Calvin Peete and Fred Funk hit basically all of them. They had great careers. Now, it’s all about “how far” not “how straight.” The young guns bomb it, go find it, and hit it again. The older guys spent a lot of mental and emotional energy on missing fairways. Today, it’s one less thing to worry about, and I like that.

Social Media

I know that social media was not around years ago, but what a perfect way to learn about the private life of your favorite Tour player. Personally, I love hearing a PGA Tour player’s side of the story. I would have loved to hear the thoughts of Jack, Ben, and Arnie back in the day; wouldn’t you?

So basically, what I’m saying is that the younger players of today just play the game differently than my generation, and I absolutely love it. I love the fact that they are longer, shooting in the 50s more often, decimating par… and essentially cannot be stopped. The entire experience is just more fun to watch.

Thanks to the “young guns” for reinventing the game of golf.

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Tom F. Stickney II is the Director of Instruction at Combine Performance in Scottsdale, Arizona. He is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher, and has been honored as a Golf Digest Best Teacher and a Golf Tips Top-25 Instructor. Tom is also a Trackman University Master/Partner, a distinction held by less than 60 people in the world.

30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. Frankie

    Aug 21, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    The average PGA Tour winner birdies 1 of every 3 holes they play and they average around one bogey per round, this hasn’t changed at all…

    • stephenf

      Aug 22, 2017 at 3:32 am

      Yup. And with all the massive advantages in course conditioning, distance measuring, perfect greens, longer equipment, the all-exempt tour, and several other factors, the average score and typical Vardon Trophy-winning scoring average has gone down…what, a little over a shot in something like 50 years?

  2. Oli

    Aug 21, 2017 at 5:25 am

    Seeing this article get many more shanks is further restoring my faith in humanity.

    What a bizarre, coddling submissive cucked out beta male article. You’re better than this Stickney. Make you articles great again!

  3. Peter S

    Aug 21, 2017 at 12:29 am

    So Brooks hit it 65 yards shorter than his ‘big’ driver Weezel…..probably on a driving range rather than a 30 yard wide fairway!

    Golf on tour is a different game than it was pre Pro V1. The average amateur player hasn’t changed but the dynamics of straight or long in the Pro game are definitely biased towards long now! Doesn’t mean it is better though. All the great courses of the world are functionally irrelevant to the current crop. No strategy, just smash it and chase it.

    You dropped the ball USGA/R&A

  4. Gary Cook

    Aug 20, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    When you and your family are financially secure, it is easy to go for broke and fire at every pin because you are not worried about missing the cut, feeding your family, and paying college tuition for your future kids. This is due to large endorsement contacts and corporate outing paydays the the young “bucks” today earn versus “back then”.

    Nothing against this advantage.

    The PGA pros of “the early days” did not start to win majors until their early thirties, I believe, because by then they had made enough cuts, a few wins, and their family could survive if they missed a few cuts. Financially secure.

    Thoughts?

    • George

      Aug 21, 2017 at 1:00 pm

      Besides a few pro golfers, Most of these guys come from wealthier families. I dont think money has ever been a issue for most of them

  5. Paul K

    Aug 20, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    This is great, everyone clamoring on about how all these guys care about is endorsement this and the new equipment that. First of all, the beloved Arnold Palmer was the first to break into the endorsement game and make big money off of selling his ability to play golf. Regardless of what drives these young guys to play well, they still play well. They are still driven to play better. And can we please stop with the whole “if Jack and Arnie and Lee and Player had this equipment…” my gosh give it a rest. It’s a damn level playing field out there. No matter the shape of the golf course or the equipment available to the players, it’s a level playing field. Whether it’s 1970 or 2017, it’s a level playing field. It’s all relative and today’s top golfers have much greater competition from much earlier on in their careers, much more pressure and scrutiny from the media and fans, and an incredible amount of pressure from the companies who endorse them. It’s an entirely different world and game now, so they have to play it differenty. Jack didn’t have a Morning Drive show dissecting his every move from the previous tournament from Monday-Wednesday on why he didn’t win, or why his swing doesn’t work, or what he needs to changed or where he failed. These guys are under a microscope every step of the way and it’s great to see them take this sport by the balls and succeed.

  6. Weezel

    Aug 20, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    And to everyone hear saying the “equipment” is difference. Let’s all take a look in the mirror and admit that the advances in equipment has benefited us, the regular golfer, more than it has the professionals. I saw Brooks Koepka hit a persimmon driver 305+ the other day. Holding the pros to standards of the past while we reap the new rewards is very hypocritical.

  7. Weezel

    Aug 20, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    This is such a great take and one that has shown to be controversial to a lot of people. I think I bridge that gap between the younger generation and the old school, and this is refreshing to read. Just because things were done one way before doesn’t mean it has to stay like that. We are not destroying the game of golf, rather we are making it our own. Much the same way Jack and Arnie did before. Because players hang out with each other and are friends off the course does not at all mean that they do not care about winning. We all play with our friends every weekend and when there is something on the line, we want to win no matter what. I enjoy golf more when playing with my good friends, having some drinks and blasting some music from the cart. Talking in my swing is the least of my concerns as well. Maybe if we all lightened up a little a show how golf can bring people together we can help spread the goodness of the game. Cheers!

  8. Sam

    Aug 20, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    In a decade we’re going to see the launch monitor generation. I expect to see half the field look like ball striking robots

  9. Patricknorm

    Aug 20, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    Tom you nailed it perfectly. I’m a 7.8 index (63 years old) and yesterday I played a scramble tournament with three young guns 23,24, 22 years. ( indexes 2.5, 4.5 and 15.5). We shot 11 under ( par 72) on a very tough course( 132slope) . Two players could bomb their drives 330 when needed. To keep things rational we had to rotate a yellow ball amongst ourselves so that if we lost this ball we had to ante up $20.00. All three of these young players played without fear but they were always wanting to make birdies or eagles.
    The attitude of young people is to emulate the Rickie Fowlers, Rory Mcilroys, Dustin Johnsons, Justin Thomas, Jordan Speiths, etc. Their yardages are very similar off the tee or on approach shots.
    At our course the 18th is an uphill par 4 440 yards. Two of our youngest players bombed their drives over 330 yards. We used gps to verify distances. My drives go about on average 230 yards. I’ve never had an approach that close ever. Like I said, Tom hit the nail squarely in the head. Yes the equipment they used is better than we played with 30 years ago, but long is long.

  10. Peter S

    Aug 20, 2017 at 6:57 am

    So Tom,
    Tell me again how…Bomb it anywhere, chase it and gouge it toward the green is good? Strategy disappears! The equipment fiasco from the USGA has created these types of players! Get them on firm and fast running conditions with wind…and they have no idea how to play! The US Open would have shown that..but then the wind didn’t blow! The average PGA tour event is as boring as ****.

  11. Jacked_Loft

    Aug 20, 2017 at 4:17 am

    It isn’t “not caring”, but more the younger players have been through a more rigorous seeding. Harder competition early on (already from the junior level and then into college) seasons the young players much quicker than previous generations. Don’t believe me? Just check out how many scratch players were in college when Jack was turning pro. The young guns of today have to play more aggressively or they just won’t win. The talent is just that deep today.

  12. Heich

    Aug 20, 2017 at 2:59 am

    I enjoy golf anyway, regardless of when or who or how much. But, yeah these kids seem like they don’t care that much? You think? Well it is easier for them to make good money, and real good money. So that does help to help them relax a bit, that even if they don’t make it into the top 10 or 20 every week to make decent wages like they had to back in the day – they can still make decent money just by showing up, so it may seem like they’re just course-gouging sometimes – but then again, some of them can flat out play and make even more money. And that’s just how it is in society everywhere now, isn’t it? You can be smart and make real stupid money too.

  13. Lou

    Aug 19, 2017 at 11:52 pm

    Can we stop calling them “Young Guns”? Emilio Estevez, Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips, and Dermont Mulroney were Young Guns. The guys on the PGA tour who are under 30 and win a lot (or come kinda close every once in a while, in the case of Dick Fowler) are just, well, guys on the PGA tour who are under 30 and win a lot.

    • HK

      Aug 20, 2017 at 11:22 am

      facts don’t change their ages. they are young no matter the number of wins. you don’t call Kiefer Sutherland a young gun cuz he’s not young any more. pro’ly our ‘young guns’ here don’t even know who KS is… so i have no problem calling young guns young guns.

      • Lou

        Aug 20, 2017 at 8:23 pm

        You realize I was referencing the cinematic masterpiece “Young Guns,” right? I miss 80’s movies.

  14. R

    Aug 19, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    Might be the BIGGEST SHANK EVER.
    Hogan Snead Nelson Casper Player Nicklaus
    Palmer Watson Miller Floyd Wieskoph Watkins
    Tiger Norman Els Couples Pavin Crenshaw Love III
    Seve Phil and on and on. They needed to win
    and made sure they could win.
    Not much money as there is now. Courses were
    Never any where near as in good a shape as now.
    Not to mention the equipment out there now.
    These New young Guys have great talent and are fun to watch. But they have just about everything
    free now. So much money thrown at them.
    And yes they want to beat the pants off of everyone.
    But to say the guys of yesterday didn’t is BS.
    Tiger wanted to beat you by 20 and not just 1.
    I would love to see these guys from yesterday’s respond.

    • Heich

      Aug 20, 2017 at 2:57 am

      Yup. Lee Trevino tells about everything every time he’s on TV these days, especially on the Feherty show, he spills the beans.

  15. Barry

    Aug 19, 2017 at 9:36 pm

    Sure, but Rickie Fowler is great at playing good enough to get on tv, but he’s not a winner like Spieth or Thomas

  16. Rwj

    Aug 19, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    They don’t have to worry about winning to survive. They are clearing millions without winning. Wins are just icing to help pay to keep the models around

  17. iShankEveryArticle

    Aug 19, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    Be careful Tom, don’t want to upset all the old fogies on this website.

    • stephenf

      Aug 22, 2017 at 3:34 am

      Right. Because anybody who comes back with a substantive argument that conclusively disproves this nonsense is an old fogey.

      The problem is this kind of adolescent thinking in the first place. Yes, you.

  18. Tom F. Stickney II

    Aug 19, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    Theses kids rock! I love that they just say you can’t beat me and believe it 100%!

    • Todd

      Aug 19, 2017 at 9:16 pm

      That’s just macho trash talk. What they fear is the golf course and their ability to beat the layout. Every pro is filled with doubts and questions about how to solve the golf course problems.

  19. Brooky

    Aug 19, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    Eh, I’m not buying this. To play any professional sport at an elite level, you have to have a relentless drive to perform your personal best every time you compete. This hasn’t changed. Golfers have always tried card the lowest score possible.

    Sports evolve with time and so does equipment. Young golfers today practice much more than golfers used to and there have been some incredible technological advances in golf equipment over the last couple decades. This is why current players are posting some of the lowest scores ever, not because they “don’t care.”

    • AlphaGolfer

      Aug 19, 2017 at 8:06 pm

      Not only the equipment but also the bio-mechanic sciences that explains the golf swing in factual detail. We have instrumentation not only to measure ball flight but also measure body mechanics for optimal performance. And add to that the mental discipline in sports psychology. There is big $$$£££¥¥¥ for the winners. Just ask Tiger.

  20. rh30

    Aug 19, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    As I’m reading this, Davis Love III is leading the tour event this week. Hmmmm.

  21. Clark G

    Aug 19, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    How about this — the young guns are driven by equipment endorsement incentives and the lower they go the more money they receive from their sponsoring OEM.
    What clubs did they win with is the usual comment here. It’s not the player, it’s the winning clubs that interest the buying fans. Or, what wins on Sunday sells on Monday and that’s proven too.

  22. Andy c

    Aug 19, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    But how do you know they don’t care?…….. it’s just your opinion hashed as fact really isn’t it?

    What a load of old codswallop this article is……

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Inside the Ropes: 5 things you didn’t know about playing on the PGA Tour

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