SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – The performance of some of the PGA Tour’s brightest young talents at the PGA Championship shows the future of golf is in good hands, as seasoned pros and “veterans” heaped praise on 23-year-old champion Collin Morikawa on Sunday.
Morikawa, who turned professional last year and was appearing in just his second major, shot a 64 for a 13-under-par 267 to top the leaderboard at TPC Harding Park.
While former world number one Dustin Johnson and England’s Paul Casey, who turned professional 20 years ago, ran Morikawa closest, the chasing pack featured the likes of 21-year-old Matthew Wolff, 24-year-old Scottie Scheffler and 26-year-old Bryson DeChambeau, who all finished three stokes back.
Cameron Champ, 25, was also in contention on Sunday before he stumbled with a double bogey on the ninth hole and finished tied for 10th.
Brooks Koepka, 30, was impressed with how easily the younger players had made the transition from college golf to the professional ranks.
“You see these guys coming out of college now, they are ready to win,” said Koepka, who had been going for a third straight PGA Championship victory.
“I think of that group, (Morikawa), Matt Wolff, Viktor Hovland, it’s impressive what they do. They come out of college and they’re ready to play out here.
“Hats off to him.”
England’s Casey, 43, said it was clear Morikawa was going to be a force in the game.
“There’s always a bunch of guys that rock up on the scene, and he didn’t necessarily get the most publicity out of the group he was in, but you know, I can consider myself veteran – I’ve been around the block – so I know talent when I see it,” he said.
Scheffler said that with younger players making waves and winners coming from anywhere in the field, “golf is in a great spot”.
“It seems like anyone can win on any given week, so it’s exciting,” he said.
“I think you saw it today, a lot of guys had a chance towards the ends and congratulations to Collin, he had a great back nine today and a good golf tournament. Yeah, I think golf is in a good place.”
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)