The Reuters global sports blog
Professional golf has benefited from two refreshing developments over the last year-and-a-half: the stunning impact made by some of the younger guns and a preponderance of first-time winners in the majors.
Sensational victories in the United States and Japan by Rory McIlroy and Ryo Ishikawa in early June served notice a new guard may be emerging to dominate the game over the next decade.
Northern Irishman McIlroy shot a course record 10-under-par 62 to win the PGA Tour’s Quail Hollow Championship by four strokes while Ishikawa blazed his way to a seventh Japanese tour title by firing a magical 12-under-par 58, the lowest score ever on a major international tour.
At the time of their respective successes, McIlroy had just turned 21 and Ishikawa was only 18. It would be an understatement to say the watching world was taken aback and, at the very least, the appetite of fans across the globe has been sharply whetted in anticipation of what may follow.
Yang Yong-eun’s shock win at the PGA Championship ended an embarrassing drought in major championships for the male of the species in staunchly patriarchal South Korea, where men are men and the women — well, the women play golf.
Since Pak Se-ri’s trailblazing triumphs at the US Women’s Open and LPGA Championship in 1998, South Korean women piled up nine more major titles. Before Yang’s victory on Sunday, Korean men had never come close, KJ Choi giving false hope at the 2004 Masters before finishing third.