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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Another Week of Records Looms

What does the future of golf hold? Last week Rory McIlroy set a few new scoring records and Jason Day showed he's a force to be reckoned with. This week some other players are stepping up to show their stuff.

Patrick Cantlay gained a little notoriety last week as well. His rounds of 75-67-70-72 put him at even par and made him low amateur at the U.S. Open. A lot of analysts predicted great things for him, although the 19-year-old says he intends to finish his final 3 years at UCLA before turning pro. Well, the kid added to his growing legend Friday by shooting a 10-under 60 at the rain-soaked Travelers Championship. That's the lowest round ever on Tour by an amateur. (BTW, the best comment of the week so far came from Kelly Tilghman, who noted that the Travelers umbrella was a fitting symbol for this tournament.)

The folks at the AT&T National had already given Cantlay the last available spot in next week's tournament. I think they're extremely happy with that decision now!

Meanwhile, the Wegmans LPGA Championship could be in line for a little history of its own. Yani Tseng, at the ripe old age of 22, is already the youngest golfer (male or female) to win 3 majors. Friday she took the lead in her fourth. Of course, she'd be the youngest golfer to win four as well.

Granted, Yani's still two days from the finish... and she was in this position back in March at the Kraft Nabisco Championship before Stacy Lewis took it from her in the last few holes. But Yani keeps putting herself in this position, and so far she's closed the deal 3 out of 4 times. How many players can even get in that position, let alone get the job done?

And if you want to look ahead a couple of weeks, should Yani somehow manage to win the U.S. Women's Open, she'll become the youngest golfer (male or female) ever to complete the career slam.

With all the hype surrounding the men's game -- and don't get me wrong, there's some great stuff happening -- it's a travesty that an accomplishment like Yani's is getting lost in the shuffle. Yani is the same age as Rory, yet has picked up 3 majors before Rory could snag just one! She's already made it to #1 in the Rolex Rankings, which she's held for 19 weeks so far, and she's done it against about 5 other women who shuttled it back-and-forth since Lorena Ochoa retired from the Tour. Add to that her total professional win record -- 7 LPGA wins, 8 others from around the world -- and consider that she's already won 5 times around the world this year, with 2 of those being LPGA wins.

This is pretty heady stuff, gang.

I mentioned in yesterday's post that Yani and Rory know each other from the Nick Faldo Series of youth golf tournaments. GC showed some pictures of Nick working with both of them "back in the day" and asked Nick if he remembered Yani... which he did. He joked that he had told them all his secrets, then said that both Yani and Rory had something in common. According to Nick, both were good listeners who soaked up everything they were taught -- and he added that this was a trait he often saw in the best young golfers.

Unless things change, this year's LPGA Championship won't be a blowout like it was last year, when Cristie Kerr lapped the field and won by 12 strokes. But we could see history of an equally significant kind. You might want to watch the ladies instead of the men this weekend.

Hmmmm... I wonder what the over/under is on Rory winning more majors than Yani?

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