Unravelling the Euro USPGA Woes

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Published 02/08/2008 15:10:27
 

The USA has been the dominant force in golf since the end of the second world war. Four out of the top five players with the most major wins are American and there hasn't ever been a European winner at the USPGA in its 89 year history. Just why is that?

 

A record 30 Europeans will take to Oakland Hills on Thursday, with two-time Open Championship winner Padraig Harrington leading the charge. Many feel Sergio Garcia offers the best hope for a European victory; the Spaniard plays his golf on the US tour and did so well in the Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills four years ago.

 

Of course the obvious thing could simply be to state that the USA produces better golfers, and whilst statistics suggest that this is true, European players have kept American hands off The Open and The Masters enough times to suggest it's not merely inferiority.

 

Possible reasons for the Euro jinx:

  • The courses are a lot closer to what US tour players are used to, this is where they play their golf week in, week out.
  • European courses are "a little more generous off the tee" according to European tour member Luke Donald. US courses tend to play longer and rely a bit more on course knowledge.
  • Travel and conditions - the weather is hotter, more intense and there's also jetlag to factor in. It may sound lame, but take a player out of his comfort zone and you won't get the same performance levels.
  • Three out of four majors are held in the USA yet only a select few Europeans choose to ply their trade on the US tour.
  • This generation of professionals is trying to live up to a "golden generation" of players which includes Faldo, Woosnam, Ballesteros, Langer and Olazabal and simply can't.

 

Padraig Harrington ended the European drought in a dramatic Open win in 2007, a feat which he repeated this year at Birkdale. Can the Irishman take full advantage of a tournament without Tiger? Or is it time for Garcia to turn potential into prizes?

 

What do you think?

 

 



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