Zach Johnson’s win at St Andrews marked a third American win at this year’s majors; so could we be entering another period of American dominance?
Compared to the Nicklaus, Trevino and Watson heyday in the 1970s and early 1980s when Americans’ won 12 of 14 Claret Jugs, the challenge from across the pond has struggled somewhat of late.
During the last eight Opens, only Stewart Cink and Phil Mickelson went the distance before Zach Johnson’s win at St Andrews. But are things about to change?
Johnson’s second career major marked a third American win at the year’s headline tournaments, with Jordan Spieth having already claimed The Masters and the US Open.
The turning tide looks unlikely to slow either, thanks to the amount of new talent America is churning out, with twenty something’s like Spieth, Fowler and Patrick Reed not only contending events, but winning majors and playing in Ryder Cups.
That said, it will take more than a Spieth double and a narrow Johnson win to knock Europe’s momentum where all things Ryder Cup at concerned, nonetheless, 2016 captain Darren Clarke will be as keen as anybody to see a European name on the Wanamaker Trophy at next month’s PGA Championship to stop a run becoming a streak.
But what of the future, looking past the 2016 clash at Hazeltine?
A quick glance at the amateur world rankings shows nine Americans in the top 15, including the likes of Oliver Schniederjans, while Silver Medal winner Jordan Niebrugge will jump up from his current 125th position when the rankings are updated to include points from The Open.
Then there’s the college system, which has churned out a who’s who of PGA Tour golfers including mot recently the likes of Justin Thomas and Patrick Rodgers, not to mention up-and-coming European amateurs like Open third round leader Paul Dunne.
While at this stage it’ hard to conclusively jump to either side of the fence, one thing that does go without saying is that a certain Mr McIlroy will need to take off his cast and roll up his socks sooner rather than later.