Thursday, November 20, 2008

The emergence of young players like Anthony Kim and Camilo Villegas amounts to a sea change at the top of the PGA Tour, according to Nick Faldo, and one that’s good for the game. Gone are longtime top-of-the-food-chain guys like Ernie Els and Retief Goosen. Instead, Kim, Villegas and Sergio Garcia are now the face of golf — along with veterans Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh.
"Tiger being out, we've had Phil and we've got Camilo Villegas and we've got Sergio and still got Vijay in there, and Anthony Kim there maybe bubbling under,” Faldo said at the USB Hong Kong Open. “So it's kind of a change at the top, the leading players, so that's exciting. And they are all good characters, as well, so that's really good for television.”
I’d give  Villegas’s spot to Padraig Harrington, but Faldo is right on the money. Woods’s absence has been terrible for TV ratings, but it energized the Tour’s younger generation, who got more time in the sun this summer as the World No. 1 recovered from knee surgery. Now you get the sense that guys are hungry to take on Woods. For all the talk about the economy’s effect on the PGA Tour, including players' possibly having to rent cars at tournaments (OMG!!!), 2009 could be the most entertaining PGA Tour season we’ve seen in a while.

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