Conventional wisdom has it that experience trumps youth when it comes time to make up a Ryder Cup roster, but it may be time to rethink that old chestnut given recent Cup mismatches and the current streak of solid play by American 20-somethings
Ryan Moore, 25, did most everything right in losing a three-hole playoff to Adam Scott at the EDS Byron Nelson on Sunday. At 23rd on the Ryder Cup points list, Moore still has a way to go to make the team on points (top eight) or as one of captain Paul Azinger's wildcard picks, but he's got plenty of time to keep rising up the ranks. What's more, a handful of his contemporaries are also knocking on the door.
Sean O'Hair, 25, won the PODS Championship last month and is at 10th on the points list.
J.B. Holmes, who turned 26 last weekend, won the FBR Open and nearly beat Tiger Woods at the WGC-Accenture and has risen to 13th. (A Kentuckian, he's the most likely to get a captain's pick for Valhalla.)
Brandt Snedeker (above), 27, fought bravely at the Masters and is at 9th. D.J. Trahan, also 27, won the Hope and is at 14th. Hunter Mahan, 25, played well in last fall's Presidents Cup and is at 15th. Johnson Wagner, 28, nabbed his first Tour win in Houston and is at 18th.
Not long ago we were decrying the paucity of good young American golfers. There were no players in their 20s on the 2006 squad, and only one, Woods, made the 2004 lineup (with, ahem, mid-century clubbers Fred Funk and Jay Haas). Given that both of those outfits lost by the same score, 18 1/2 to 9 1/2, Azinger should take comfort in selecting from the current crop of untested, untamed youth. He can't do much worse.
(Photo: Harry How/Getty Images)