Something occurred this yr in golf.
A 23-year-old Swedish rookie, Ludvig Åberg, who had by no means performed in a serious was picked for the Ryder Cup together with a lesser-known 22-year-old Danish twin, Nicolai Højgaard. Two 25-year-olds and 21-year-old Ruoning Yin received 4 of the 5 ladies’s majors, and one of many largest tales in sports activities turned 20-year-old Stanford phenom Rose Zhang going from historic beginner to speedy LPGA Tour winner.
An beginner, Sam Bennett, had his identify on the high of the Masters leaderboard by two days in Augusta. Viktor Hovland went on a historic August heater to make his declare as the very best golfer on the earth — earlier than his twenty sixth birthday. Oh, and South Korean star Tom Kim reached No. 11 worldwide by the point he was 21.
Youth has all the time been on the core of golf, a sport that has all the time produced prodigies and superstars within the highlight since childhood. So possibly this isn’t new. But as a result of that is such an thrilling time for youth in golf, it’s a great likelihood to take a look at the following wave of golfers that you just’ll know very quickly: The 25 finest golfers beneath 25.
Some you already know, as a result of their accomplishments have demanded your consideration, and a few are working beneath the radar however might very properly be subsequent. Without additional ado, meet your subsequent technology.
(Note: The record is ordered alphabetically by final identify)
Ludvig Åberg (24, Sweden)
He is tall. He is robust. He can drive the ball farther and extra precisely than all however one or two gamers on the earth. And Ludvig Åberg is not coming. He is right here. After successful almost each nationwide collegiate award at Texas Tech and breaking a few of Rickie Fowler’s Big 12 data, Åberg instantly turned professional and hung within the high 40 at nearly each occasion. Then he received the European Masters and earned himself a Ryder Cup spot at 23. He and accomplice Viktor Hovland completely dominated in foursomes successful two matches — together with the most important blowout in Ryder Cup historical past over Scottie Scheffler and Brooks Koepka — on the way in which to the European victory. And then he obtained rolling on the PGA Tour fall slate, going T2, T13 and T10 earlier than successful the RSM Classic on Sunday to qualify for the Masters and two signature occasions. The solely query left is that if he can compete for majors in 2024.
Akshay Bhatia (21, USA)
Bhatia determined to show professional at 17 as a substitute of going to school. While many different rising stars his age (and on this record) have been successful school accolades and studying methods to be the highest canine, Bhatia was studying methods to be a professional. And meaning studying methods to take care of the great and the dangerous. He didn’t make a single lower within the 2020 season, and 2021 wasn’t a lot better, so he went right down to the Korn Ferry Tour and figured it out. And by all that, he’s nonetheless solely 21. In 2023, he earned high 10s at smaller occasions just like the Puerto Rico Open, the Mexico Open and Barbasol earlier than successful the alternate subject Barracuda Championship. Now, he’s enjoying fairly properly within the PGA Tour fall occasions, indicating he may be able to take a step.
Sam Bennett (23, USA)
The coolest factor about Sam Bennett is that no one ever sees him coming. He wasn’t the highly-touted younger star when he received the 2022 U.S. Amateur. He wasn’t even the massive beginner identify on the 2023 Masters, however he nonetheless discovered himself within the last teams on the weekend whereas tying the 36-hole beginner report. And then, when individuals nonetheless wrote him off as only a good story, he turned professional and earned a T20 on the Canadian Open and made the lower on the U.S. Open. His type has slowed down this summer time and fall, however not will we overlook Sam Bennett. He’s a competitor.
The gumption of Sam Bennett, the Masters’ most stunning contender
Jacob Bridgeman (23, USA)
Bridgeman was a star at Clemson, successful an ACC title and ending second within the PGA Tour University standings, which gave him speedy Korn Ferry Tour standing. And at 23, Bridgeman had an impressively constant first full skilled season. He earned 14 top-20 finishes and ranked No. 14 within the last KFT standings, incomes him a Tour card in 2024. He has not received but, however he proved he could possibly be a week-in, week-out professional and never lose type.
Nick Dunlap (19, USA)
There was Åberg. Then there might be Gordon Sargent (extra on him later). And then the following in line of the celebrity amateurs is Dunlap. He went to Alabama final yr as the highest junior golfer within the nation, and by the top of his freshman yr he introduced himself as a star to look at. He received the U.S. Amateur in June, beating Sargent in match play, and earned All-SEC first-team honors. He joined Tiger Woods as the one male golfers to win each a U.S. Junior Amateur and a U.S. Amateur, and he’s already the No. 3 beginner on the earth.
Parker Coody (23, USA)
The oldest (by 37 minutes) of the Coody twins, Parker was a key a part of the 2022 Texas nationwide title crew and completed T2 within the particular person nationwide title. Then, he turned professional that summer time on PGA Tour Canada and received an occasion in Manitoba earlier than transferring to Korn Ferry in 2023 the place he obtained off to a troublesome begin. He missed 4 of his first 5 cuts, however then he obtained sizzling and completed with 5 top-five finishes and ended with a top-30 season and a PGA Tour card for 2024. The Coody brothers are the grandsons of 1971 Masters champion Charles Coody.
Pierceson Coody (23, USA)
Both Coody brothers earned their PGA Tour playing cards this yr, however Pierceson earned his in barely less complicated vogue. At one level the highest beginner on the earth, Pierceson was additionally on the 2022 nationwide title crew at Texas and earned speedy Korn Ferry standing because of ending first in PGA Tour University. He then received his first skilled match in solely his third occasion in 2022, and in 2023, he received twice on the Korn Ferry Tour, which simply earned him his card for 2024.
Adrien Dumont de Chassart (23, Belgium)
A former Big Ten golfer of the yr at Illinois, Dumont de Chassart turned professional in June and instantly received his first Korn Ferry Tour begin on the BMW Charity Pro-Am. Maybe much more impressively, he opened his professional profession with six consecutive top-10 finishes, launching himself into the dialog as a wild-card Ryder Cup candidate. So in just some months on the minor league circuit Dumont de Chassart was in a position to bounce to No. 11 on the KFT standings and earn himself a PGA Tour card in 2024. He’s a really seemingly candidate to make European Ryder Cup groups sooner or later.
Austin Eckroat (24, USA)
At simply 24, Eckroat introduced himself with a U.S. Open record-tying 29 on the entrance 9 at Los Angeles Country Club on Sunday to complete T10 in his first main as a professional. The four-time All-American from Oklahoma State needed to combat to earn his PGA Tour card on the Korn Ferry Tour Championship in 2022, and his 2023 was fascinating. He missed 13 cuts but in addition completed T2 on the Byron Nelson, fifth at Puntacana, T10 on the U.S. Open T16 at Charles Schwab and T24 on the elevated Travelers Championship. But then proper when he had an opportunity to make the FedEx Cup Playoffs, he missed consecutive cuts. Eckroat is an enormous expertise, ending the autumn marketing campaign with a top-10 end at RSM, so he’s a enjoyable one to look at in 2024.
Ayaka Furue (23, Japan)
Furue got here up as a star on the Japanese tour, not incomes an LPGA card till 2022, however she has established herself as some of the aggressive golfers on the verge of constructing a leap. In addition to successful eight occasions in Japan, she earned her first LPGA win in 2022. But possibly most curiously is how Furue retains placing herself within the combine at majors. At 21, she completed 4th on the Evian Championship, and completed 2023 with a run of T8, T6, T36 and T21 on the last 4 majors. She’s clearly on her means.
Nasa Hataoka (24, Japan)
She is possibly the closest any golfer has ever come to a number of majors with out successful one. At 17, Hataoka turned the youngest participant and first beginner to win a Japanese LPGA main and joined the LPGA Tour the following yr. By the time Hataoka turned 23 she had six LPGA wins and 6 extra in Japan. Hataoka has thrived in majors but come simply quick — 9 top-10 finishes, and he or she has taken two majors to a playoff and misplaced each. The first was a three-way playoff within the 2018 PGA Championship at 19, and the second got here within the 2021 U.S. Open to Yuka Saso.
Nicolai Højgaard (22, Denmark)
The wild card addition to Europe’s successful Ryder Cup squad, Højgaard didn’t essentially steal the present or achieve consideration the way in which Åberg did, however he had loads of moments asserting his expertise in clutch moments. He’s been racking up accolades for years now, successful the 2018 European Amateur and serving to Denmark win the 2018 Eisenhower Trophy, however his win this previous weekend on the DP World Tour Championship in opposition to most of the finest golfers on the earth may be last step to point out he actually is certainly one of these guys. He now has three DP World Tour wins and made the cuts at each the PGA Championship and Open Championship this summer time, even getting T23 at Royal Liverpool. Højgaard must be one of many subsequent stars of the technology.
Rasmus Højgaard (22, Denmark)
The second set of twins on this record, Rasmus truly has extra wins to his identify than Nicolai with 4 DP World Tour victories. He simply hasn’t fairly hit a public peak the way in which his brother has to get Ryder Cup calls already. Still, Rasmus has some massive wins just like the European Masters and is at present on a European run of 4th, T25, T26, T16 and T6 in his final 5 occasions. He simply barely the missed the tenth spot in within the DP World Tour’s Race to Dubai rankings because of a painful end on the championship, however there’s little doubt he’s an enormous a part of the rise of the Scandinavians.
Tom Kim (21, South Korea)
If this record have been a rating, Kim may be the highest male golfer. He introduced himself in 2022, at 20 years previous, by successful the Wyndham Championship, the Shriners Children’s Open and stealing the present on the Presidents Cup. But 2023 was seemingly the yr of proving that hype was legitimate. He rose as excessive as No. 13 within the InformationGolf rankings with 15 top-20 finishes in his first full PGA Tour season, and he excelled in majors going T16 at Augusta, T8 and the U.S. Open and T2 on the Open Championship. Winning once more in Las Vegas in October solely made it extra clear — Kim won’t have the driving size of different younger stars, however his iron play and placing have an opportunity to spark a particular profession.
A 20-year-old not like some other is golf’s subsequent world celebrity
Christo Lamprecht (22, South Africa)
Remember Christo Lamprecht? The 6-foot-8 South African who received the British Amateur after which held the first-round lead on the Open Championship weeks later? Well, he’s not just a few shock story. He’s a extremely thrilling younger golfer who jumped to No. 1 on the earth beginner rankings this fall thanks to a different beginner win in September. The Georgia Tech star is No. 2 within the present PGA Tour University standings (by which the winner will get an computerized Tour card), and he has computerized exemptions to the 2024 Masters and U.S. Open, so we’ll get extra probabilities to see the absurdly lengthy teenager.
Ingrid Lindblad (23, Sweden)
Once Rose Zhang turned professional, Lindblad took over because the No. 1 beginner on the earth. She is a adorned Swedish star most well-known for setting the beginner U.S. Open 18-hole scoring report with a 65 at Pine Needles in 2022. She helped Sweden win the European Ladies’ Team Championship in 2019 and 2020, and earned SEC Player of the Year at LSU. The subsequent yr she received the 2021 European Ladies’ Amateur Championship by three strokes in Italy after which was runner-up on the 2022 Augusta National Women’s Amateur. She’s made just one main lower to date, however Lindblad is among the high younger stars in golf.
David Puig (21, Spain)
The lone LIV golfer on this record, Puig leaving Arizona State to show professional and be part of LIV was an enormous coup for the upstart league. He was turning into one of many high amateurs on the earth, and in 2023 he joined Torque GC. He completed thirty first within the LIV standings and is at present a free agent, however he completed the ultimate two months with a T5 and T3 earlier than happening a heater on the Asian Tour this fall together with a win in Singapore. Time will inform what occurs with LIV golfers in regards to the European Ryder Cup crew, however in principle, Puig has the expertise to be a mainstay for Europe’s subsequent technology.
Gordon Sargent (20, USA)
Sargent is the highest star on the beginner circuit, even when he’s not at present ranked first general and didn’t win the U.S. Amateur. He’s the identify everyone seems to be speaking about, the massively lengthy driver with management who received the 2022 particular person nationwide title at Vanderbilt and made the lower on the U.S. Open in June. The pleasure round his expertise is on the extent of Åberg, but Sargent is 4 years youthful. And because of the brand new PGA Tour U Accelerated program, Sargent instantly has PGA Tour standing each time he turns professional.
Yuka Saso (22, Japan/Philippines)
Saso is a Philippines-born Japanese golfer who turned professional at 18 and received two Japanese LPGA occasions inside a yr. Then, weeks earlier than her twentieth birthday, Saso made the massive leap by successful the 2021 U.S. Open in a playoff in opposition to Hataoka, tied for the youngest to ever win the occasion. She’s at present No. 24 within the Rolex Rankings and racked up two top-five main finishes in 2023.
Caleb Surratt (19, USA)
By the top of his freshman season at Tennessee, he received a person SEC Championship, turned the first-ever first-team All-American at school historical past, and made the Walker Cup crew that took down Great Britain and Ireland at St. Andrews. He was then in a position to make the lower on the Bermuda Butterfield Championship on the PGA Tour. Still a youngster, he’s more likely to be proper up there as a high identify to look at for years.
Atthaya Thitikul (20, Thailand)
It’s been a dream rise for Thitikul, turning into world No. 1 at 20 and LPGA Tour Rookie of the Year at 19. She made the Open Championship lower at 15 and have become the highest beginner on the earth by 16. So when she turned professional in 2022, it was no shock she received two LPGA Tour occasions, however possibly probably the most spectacular feat is that Thitikul has six top-10 finishes in majors all earlier than she turns 21.
Michael Thorbjornsen (22, USA)
For no matter motive, Thorbjornsen hasn’t acquired the identical degree of consideration as Sargent, Åberg or Dunlap, however he’s been one of many high amateurs for years, successful the Pac-12 title this previous yr and making the lower on the 2019 U.S. Open whereas simply 18. Thorbjornsen has additionally finished rather well in restricted skilled begins, ending fourth on the 2022 Travelers Championship and T17 on the John Deere Classic in July, plus a T20 on the Hero Dubai Desert Classic. The Stanford star is the No. 4 beginner on the earth, and he’ll seemingly be one to comply with when he turns professional.
Ruoning Yin (21, China)
This September, Yin turned world No. 1 at simply 21. It’s been a fast rise — she dominated the Chinese beginner circuit, successful 9 junior beginner occasions and the National Amateur Championship. When she turned professional at 17, she received her first three China LPGA Tour occasions (a report) after which took her stardom worldwide by successful the 2023 PGA Championship for her first main this yr whereas racking up high 10s all season.
Angela Zhang (14, USA)
Meet the 14-year-old golfer from Washington who certified for the U.S. Open this summer time. She reached the semifinals of the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four Ball Championship (with fellow 14-year-old Alice Zhou) and first made a reputation for herself successful the ladies 7-9 nationwide title on the Drive, Chip and Putt competitors at Augusta National by which she drove the ball 33 yards farther than her nearest competitor. She can now drive it 240 yards, and we’ll seemingly see her at extra majors quickly sufficient.
Rose Zhang (20, USA)
Let’s save the largest phenom for final. Zhang is a Tiger Woods-esque phenom in ladies’s golf, a former Stanford star who received the 2020 U.S. Amateur after which took back-to-back particular person nationwide titles in 2022 and 2023. Oh yeah, and he or she received the 2023 Augusta National Women’s Amateur and set the ladies’s report with 142 weeks because the No. 1 beginner on the earth. Turning professional this yr was already massive information that turned exponentially larger when she received her first skilled LPGA Tour occasion. And simply to wrap all of it up, she then made three consecutive top-10 main finishes this yr, solely reassuring that she’s on tempo to develop into one of many all-time greats.
The world is prepared for Rose Zhang. Is she prepared for the world?
(Top pictures: Jonathan Bachman, Orlando Ramirez and Dylan Buell / Getty Images)