Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Age of Padraig?

So can Padraig do it again? Will this year's Open winner go down in history with Paul Lawrie, Mike Weir, Ben Curtis, Rich Beem, Shaun Micheel and countless others as another man for whom the stars aligned just the once?

Or will the irrefutable sheen that only multiple major wins provide soon be applied to his career?

Using Jack Nicklaus' last major win, at the 1986 Masters, as an arbitrary date to begin 'the modern era', and looking at all the players who have begun multiple major winning records since then, where does 35-year-old Harrington fit into the age profiles of those who've done it once, and come back for more?

Clearly Padraig is in the more mature bracket of the list - only Mark O'Meara was older winning his first major, albeit Vijay Singh and Nick Price were only months younger than the Irishman on the occasion of their first triumphs.

While this list includes players who are still active, and therefore might yet push out the age of their final triumph (or in Tiger's case, will definitely push out that age) you can clearly see that the 30s are to golfers what the 20s are to footballers, or the teens are to female gymnasts for that matter.

So if Padraig - 36 next month - is to add to last Sunday's win, it'll very likely come over the next three or four seasons.

Greg Norman
1st: 1986 Open - age 31
Last: 1993 Open - age 38

Nick Faldo
1st: 1987 Open - age 30
Last: 1996 US Masters - age 38

Curtis Strange
1st: 1988 US Open - age 33
Last 1989 US Open - age 34

Payne Stewart
1st: 1989 US PGA - age 32
Last: 1999 US Open - age 42

John Daly
1st: 1991 US PGA - age 25
Last: 1995 Open - age 29

Nick Price
1st: 1992 US PGA - age 35
Last 1994 US PGA - age 38

Lee Janzen
1st: 1993 US Open - age 28
Last 1998 US Open - age 33

José María Olazábal
1st: 1994 US Masters - age 28
Last: 1999 US Masters - age 33

Ernie Els
1st: 1994 US Open - age 24
Last: 2002 Open - age 32

Tiger Woods
1st: 1997 US Masters - age 21
Last: 2006 US PGA - age 30

Mark O'Meara
1st: 1998 US Masters - age 41
Last 1998 Open - age 41

Vijay Singh
1st: 1998 US PGA - age 35
Last: 2004 US PGA - age 41

Retief Goosen
1st: 2001 US Open - age 32
Last: 2004 US Open - age 35

Phil Mickelson
1st: 2004 US Masters - age 33
Last: 2006 US Masters - age 35



Anonymous Anonymous said...

unfortunately poor old Payne Stewart is no longer active

11:38 a.m.  
Blogger pj said...

i would put money on harrington winning another major.

12:30 p.m.  
Blogger Tommy77 said...

True, anonymous 11.38, God rest him.

Agree PJ, while trying not to view the question with green-tinted spectacles. PH has been putting himself in the mix at majors regularly in recent seasons, hopefully last Sunday will lead to Mickelson-like repeat triumphs.

4:43 p.m.  

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