6 of the Cockiest Young Golfers on the Tour Today

Steve SilvermanFeatured ColumnistNovember 10, 2012

6 of the Cockiest Young Golfers on the Tour Today

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    In some ways, any golfer who makes it to the top 50 on the PGA's money-winning list is going to have some degree of cockiness to his persona.

    Look at everything a pro golfer has to go through to make it to the tour. Rising to the level of legitimate star on the PGA tour can only pump up that player's ego.

    While cockiness is not necessarily a good thing to take around with you in day-to-day life, it really comes in handy at certain moments on the golf course.

    When you step to the first tee, look around at the other golfers in your foursome and conclude that you are better than your competition, you are usually going to be relaxed and able to play your best.

    When you are facing that 15-footer on the 17th or 18th hole and you believe in yourself, your knees are not going to knock as much as your opponent's.

    Cockiness, for our purposes, means believing in yourself. It may or may not be accompanied by a visual swagger, but it represents total confidence.

    Don't be fooled by those with a false bravado. These players may huff, puff and brag, but their lack of confidence will come to the fore at some point in the round.

    Here's six of the cockiest young players on the tour.

Rory McIlroy

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    Rory McIlroy is the best player in the world.

    He won four tournaments this year, and that was more than anyone else.

    He won the most money and and he took down his second major when he won the PGA tournament.

    He is 23, and Tiger Woods is trying to chase down McIlroy for his position on the golf ladder. Woods has not been successful to this point.

    McIlroy is pleasant and well-mannered. But every time he steps on the course, he KNOWS in his heart and mind that he is better than his competition.

    He has no shortage of confidence in his own ability.

Anthony Kim

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    Anthony Kim was the young golfer who was considered a rebel on the PGA tour in his early days.

    Kim, 27, was a young golfer on the rise in 2008. He made others take notice when he had two big victories on the tour and drew comparisons to Tiger Woods.

    He was profiled by the Wall Street Journal and he admitted he didn't always respect the game by practicing as much as he should because he felt his talent would see him through.

    Jump to the 2012 season, and Kim missed much of the season after Achilles surgery. Once he recovers and returns to the tour, Kim will probably play it cool and go about his business in a thoroughly professional manner.

    However, underneath it all, Kim believes in himself and he has that cockiness. Look for it to come bubbling back to the surface when he is healthy again and contending in tournaments.

Rickie Fowler

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    Rickie Fowler has already gotten off to an excellent start in his PGA career. His future looks even brighter.

    Fowler, 23, won more than $3 million on the tour last year. He won one tournament, finished second in another and had five top-10 finishes in the 23 events he entered. He only missed three cuts in the 2012 golf season.

    More than the stats, there's a real swagger to his game every time he takes the course. It's difficult for Fowler to contain it. He probably knows he should given his youth, but he just believes in his ability and it shows as he saunters around the course.

    Fowler is solid in most aspects of the game, but he is razor sharp with his 9-iron and pitching wedge. He ranked eighth on the tour on his approach shots from 125 yards or less, meaning he almost always gets it close from that distance.

Keegan Bradley

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    Keegan Bradley was one of the top stories for the ill-fated U.S. Ryder Cup team during the first two days of that competition this year.

    Bradley, 26, was teamed with Phil Mickelson during the first two days of team competition and they won three matches against their European counterparts. Bradley not only played well, but he roared like an NFL linebacker who forced a fumble every time he made a decent putt.

    To say Bradley came across as excited is just a tad of an understatement. Bradley's energy made him a crowd favorite.

    He couldn't sustain it in the singles matches as he was dispatched by Rory McIlroy.

    However, Bradley won just over $3.9 million on the tour this year after earning $3.75 million in 2011. He knows he can beat the best and he does it on a regular basis.

John Huh

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    John Huh has all the talent in the world to become a star on the PGA tour.

    Huh, 22, was a rookie on the 2012 tour, but he was not intimidated by the best names in the business. He won just under $2.7 million and finished 28th on the money-winning list.

    Huh did not have to wait long to get his first tour victory. He won the Mayakoba Golf Classic in February, shooting a 13-under par 271. That victory earned him $666,000 and showed the rest of the golf world that Huh was not just another struggling young golfer.

    Huh is not a huge hitter, but he is unfailingly accurate. He ranked 11th on the tour in driving accuracy and was seventh in total birdies.

Kyle Stanley

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    Kyle Stanley is one of the rising young stars on the golf tour.

    Stanley, 24, earned $2.35 million in 2012. He finished second in the Farmers Insurance Open  in early February and followed that with victory in the Waste Management Phoenix Open. He made the top 25 eight times in his 27 starts.

    Stanley had a feast-or-famine type of season. He failed to make the cut in 10 events, but when he did, he was often a factor.

    If you get a chance to see Stanley play, you will notice his huge swing. He averaged 306.9 yards per drive—eighth on the tour—and he knows he can outperform the competition off the tee nearly every time he swings his driver.