A Golf Revolution: Tiger Woods Overshadowed By Mickleson and Youngsters

Will LeivenbergFeatured ColumnistJune 8, 2010

Revolution is not a word commonly associated with golf.

But try not to associate 'revolution' with America in 1776, the storming of the Bastille in Paris, or Berkeley in the 60s. 

Instead, think of it with regard to questioning established beliefs, exploring new ideas, and radical change.

Q.E.B. (Questioning Established Beliefs) : Tiger Woods' domination of golf has subsided.

With his crystallized image cracked, the culprit may be the media or Woods' injuries. But perhaps his departure from the spotlight illuminates that no matter how big his muscles, or how flawless his mechanics, golf is a mental game.

E.N.I. (Exploring New Ideas): In the last six events both Phil Mickleson and Tiger Woods have competed, Mickleson has beaten Woods every time.

Just the thought of capturing the elusive No.1 World Golf Ranking sends Mickleson into instant salivation. But Lefty has established an incredible rhythm on the golf course this season, blending his extreme power with his exceptional touch.

Could a win at the US Open make Mickleson the new face of golf?

R.C. (Radical Change): The 2010 PGA Tour season has had 10 champions under the age of 30.

Even Justin Rose, who is 29, looked like an aged veteran next to 21-year old sensation Rickie Fowler (who has been called a Justin Bieber, 16, look-alike) at the Memorial last Sunday.

Young players are contending in every event because they are not afraid; they're not afraid of Tiger's intimidating presence, Phil's gargantuan length, Rory Sabbatini's scowl, and most importantly—they're not afraid of losing because it's a lesson in stride towards victory.

What's undeniable: golf in 2010 has been propelled by new power, fresh hope, and a developing, radical perspective of the world of golf.

Tiger's Army

Tiger Woods may not maintain his No.1 ranking, but he remains the No.1 reason for this explosion of talented youth upon the world golf scene.

Think about your idols. Woods was the ultimate emblem of fortitude, persistence, and an unwavering focus from the only thing that mattered—winning.

He was inspiring.

Crushing the field by 12 strokes at the Masters in 1997, the Tiger-Slam in 2001, his unforgettable chip-in at No. 16 at the Masters in 2005, forcing the playoff against Rocco Mediate at the US Open in 2008; the list appears endless.

Tiger's unequaled accomplishments galvanized youth to compete as he constantly did.  Anthony Kim was the first of Tiger's Army to prove he was not just a promising student, but a tireless competitor with a vision of glory.

Kim has remained a force to be reckoned with on Tour, and welcomed other young phenoms like Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Ryo Ishikawa, Rickie Fowler and a slew of gifted 20-somethings to the big stage.

More Reasons Golf Has Never Been This Good

-Tim Finchem is about to turn his plea into policy.

After constantly encouraging PGA pros to participate in more events (such as the Shell Houston Open or St. Jude Classic), and not just the mainstream tournaments (Colonial and Memorial) it appears the PGA Tour commissioner is about to inflict new, sweeping rules about tournament entrance.

No longer will players simply choose when and where they'd like to play. Instead, there will be more consistent competition among all players, including the entitled top-50, in a wide variety of tracks.

-Have you forgotten already? Golf is going to be part of the 2016 Olympics.

This means golf is not only on the map, but has spread and continues to unfurl to the farthest reaches of the world.

This is no Ryder Cup or Major.

It's an internationally recognized competition and golf has earned it's way.

Golf fans should be ecstatic about this, the reawakened rivalry between Woods and Mickleson, and the countless possibilities the young stars will contribute to professional golf.