Monday, May 5, 2008

The Belt Buckle Phenomenon

Without Tiger in the field, the PGA Tour has to hurdle through a ton of objectives to make watching golf interesting to the normal fan.

Sure, the tournament will always be on televisions at your local country club on Sunday afternoon, but why would the 30-handicap accountant and 60-year-old housewife contemplating gardening instead of golf viewing because Mr. Woods isn't in the field?

The Wachovia Championships were lucky to give us Anthony Kim, a 22-year-old star that keeps showing up in certain leaderboards and gives us a little hope in the 20-somethings of this pro golfing world.

Kim won by five shots over Ben Curtis yesterday, cashing a check just over $1.15 million and enjoying probably a better Cinco De Mayo than most of us would ever dream of (that is, unless you won the Powerball on Saturday, which means I and most of my friends hate you).

The younger generation is making their mark on the golf world, not just with all the birdies, but also with a touch of fashion. Gone are the days of the Payne Stewart knickers, here are the times of fancy belt buckles. With all the sponsors the pros are donning these days, it's hard to find a place to be able to stick your own style in your outwear. Kim, along with Rory Sabbatini and others, do it with the belt.

I can't really say I'm in love with the fashion, but if you were a Nike guy that had the same clothes choice as Stewart Cink, you'd probably want to flair out a little bit.

Since 1991, only three golfers not named Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods or Sergio Garcia have managed to win a PGA Tour event under the age of 23 (David Gossett, Sean O'Hair and Kim). Breaking through at a young age just doesn't really happen these days unless you have some serious game and AK seems to bring it.

Maybe, just maybe, we could have a young gun win a major in the next couple of years so sports writers around the nation would have someone to compare to Tiger. Yep, those stories wouldn't get old.


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