Is English Golf entering a new golden era?
A quick glance at the world rankings is it all it takes. The needle has shifted and English golf, it seems, is on the cusp of a golden era.
Sure, the mainstays like Justin Rose, Paul Casey, Luke Donald and Lee Westwood are still there.
Justin Rose (Credit: IGF Golf)
Yet a plethora of new boys shows that almost a quarter of the 112 exempt players currently plying their trade on the European Tour are actually English.
And it hasn’t happened overnight either: half of last year’s European Ryder Cup squad were English as well.
Even the first major of the year saw a record 11 English players contest the event, with former US Open champion Rose the best of them, beaten in a playoff by Spain’s Sergio Garcia.
One American newspaper describes it as an English ‘invasion’ with seven players in the top 50 of the world golf rankings and an amazing 13 in the top 100.
In 2001 there was just one in the top 100…Westwood.
What is surprising is that with all these guys scaling the golf rankings ladder there has been just one major heading for England in all that time – Rose’s 2013 US Open.
And no ‘Pom’ has claimed a British Open since Nick Faldo way back in 1992.
“We’ve had our five, 10 years and obviously we can still continue to be there, but the next wave is catching up and coming through,” says world No 9 Rose.
“It’s going to be exciting times for English golf.”
Lanky English star Chris Wood agrees:
“We’ve been pushing each other for years,” said Wood, referring to Danny Willett’s 2016 US Masters success.
“Once you see one guy do it, you all start believing you can do it, too.”
Six weeks after Willett won the Masters, Wood won the European Tour’s PGA Championship.
Much of the credit for their success also goes to England’s Golf Talent Pathway, a program to develop world-class players, which took off in 1999, thanks to funding from the National Lottery.
Previously, financing was limited to fees paid by participating clubs from member fees.
The additional resources gave England Golf the ability to support individual achievers from club to county competitions and on to national and international elite squads.