English amateurs add to nation's surge
Sunday, July 11, 2010
It isn’t only English professionals who are making names for themselves in world golf. English amateurs are ready to step into the shoes of the professionals.
The rude health of English golf was further highlighted when England won the European Team Championships in Sweden on July 10. England defeated Sweden 4 1/2 to 2 1/2 in the final to win the European Championship trophy for the 10th time.
Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Paul Casey, Luke Donald and Justin Rose are the crème de la crème of English golf right now. Pretty soon their names might be replaced by Tommy Fleetwood, Tom Lewis, Laurie Canter, Eddie Pepperell, Chris Paisley and Billy Hemstock, the players responsible for carrying England to victory at Österåkers Golf Club.
The victory comes at a time when Westwood (3), Donald (7), Poulter (8) and Casey (10) are ranked in the top 10 of the Official World Golf Ranking. So England’s win in the European Team Championships confirms a bright future.
Fleetwood played in the French Open on the European Tour before traveling to Sweden. Canter, the reigning South African Amateur champion, headed to St. Andrews from Sweden to play in the British Open after qualifying with two other English amateurs, Jamie Abbott and Tyrrell Hatton.
Paisley, a former player at the University of Tennessee, represented Great Britain & Ireland in last year’s Walker Cup along with Fleetwood. Meanwhile, Lewis and Pepperell are two of the best young amateurs in the British Isles, with big things expected of them.
Ten years ago, Westwood was the only Englishman on the world stage. A few years later, he was in a slump and experts feared for the future of English golf. Today, it has an embarrassment of riches. The English Golf Union’s elite system is partly responsible for that, as is the fact many English players – Casey and Donald, for example – choose to play U.S. college golf.
So there is a ready feeder system into the professional ranks. The good news for England is that there is more to come.