Young golfers continue to run wild

TIM MCKAY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:33 AM ET

It can't continue, can it? Rookies, teens and twentysomethings continue to thrive in the pro ranks and, every week, those in the know say this is the tournament where experience will win out.

That's what they said would happen at the Masters, but PGA Tour rookie Charl Schwartzel came along and blew that theory, and the likes of Tiger and Phil, out of the water.

And, when three of the four sitting major champions -- Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen and world No. 1 Martin Kaymer -- teed it up in Malaysia last week, it was Matteo Manassero who snuck in his second European Tour victory two days ahead of his 19th birthday.

Already holding the title of the European Tour's youngest victor after taking the Castello Masters last year, Manassero shot up to No. 33 in the world ranking, and you can't discount the field in Malaysia. Not bad for a kid who just became legal to drink in Canada on Tuesday.

The Euro kids are great, but back here at home it's the Nationwide Tour grads who were making noise.

Brendan Steele, No. 6 on last year's Nationwide Tour money list, scored his first PGA Tour victory at the Valero Texas Open last week, becoming the third rookie winner of the season (Jhonattan Vegas, Schwartzel). And he did it by edging out Kevin Chappell, who was ninth on the PGA feeder tour last season, making it the first time rookies have finished first and second since 2006.

"I didn't expect to win this fast," Steele said in his post-victory news conference. "I thought I had the game to win. I thought I proved it to myself after the Nationwide Tour Championship last year."

Heading into the Her it-age this week in Hilton Head, the experts again are touting experience at the difficult Harbour Town Golf Links, but recent history says the boaters on Calibogue Sound may be tooting their horns for a fresh face on Sunday.

WEIR WATCH

It will be interesting to see if Mike Weir can make a cut.

A disappointed Weir told reporters after the Masters that there's, "No use me being out there if I'm not able to compete. I don't want to be out there just to fill a spot."

Weir, who missed the cut at the Valero Texas Open last week and finished two shots off the worst two-round score (held by fellow Canadian Chris Baryla at 20-over par) is scheduled to play this week at The Heritage and next week at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

Weir, who is back working with former swing coach Mike Wilson, will have a couple of weeks off after that before returning for the Crowne Plaza Invitational, possibly the Byron Nelson, and the Memorial.

Mired at $10,788 in earnings and having made just one cut in eight starts, Weir desperately needs to get something going.

DUBIOUS DUODECUPLE

Kudos to Kevin Na for keeping it together during his painful 16 on TPC San Antonio's par 4 ninth hole last Thursday at the Valero Texas Open.

The sound guys in the golf channel truck must have been getting nervous with Na being miked up for his ordeal. He set a PGA Tour record for most strokes on a par 4 (initially scored as a 15 but mercilessly changed to 16). Instead of setting a record for most swear words ever recorded (as most pros and duffers alike would have been forgiven for doing), Na showed true poise and humility, laughing and asking his caddie, "How are we going to count all the strokes?"

Oh, and you've heard of a bogey, double-bogey, triple, quad and snowman, but PGA-Tour.com's Melanie Hauser has come up with a term for Na's atrocity: Duodecuple.

It means "consisting of 12s," or, 12 over on a par 4.


Videos

Photos