With Chez Reavie victory, above-30 crowd continues to flourish on PGA Tour in 2018-19

Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

With Chez Reavie victory, above-30 crowd continues to flourish on PGA Tour in 2018-19

PGA Tour

With Chez Reavie victory, above-30 crowd continues to flourish on PGA Tour in 2018-19

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With Chez Reavie’s dominating win at the Travelers Championship—and the perseverance needed at times to sustain his career —the 37-year-old helped maintained the trend of PGA Tour winners just on the coveted demo cusp.

Like Gary Woodland in the U.S. Open—another geezer at 35—each is the story of a player who had great potential and widely recognized talent, yet experienced more downs than ups before winning. Golf’s a weird, cruel game that way, which makes the suggestion of today’s youth being better prepared to win than ever more hype than fact.

Since the start of 2019, there have been nine winners in their 20s. Two won events opposite to more significant tournaments, one was a player who since turned 30 (Rory McIlroy) and another was Brooks Koepka, who is 29. At 25, Xander Schauffele is 2019’s younger winner on the PGA Tour and that was in January. Going back to the fall, Cameron Champ’s win at 23 makes him 2018-19’s youngest.

With Reavie’s victory at Travelers, the average age of 2018-19 PGA Tour winners holds steady at 33, while the top 20 in FedExCup points average 32.6.

LEADERBOARD: Travelers Championship
MORE: Winner’s Bag: Chez Reavie

There should be nothing wrong with golfers peaking in their 30s. Such a phenomenon, to the surprise of no one, would be something to celebrate as a reward for longevity and experience gained.

But as Eamon Lynch notes in this column juxtaposing the invasion of youth at the Travelers with one-time child phenom Michelle Wie’s suggestion she has little left in the tank, the youth (and the people pushing them to turn pro) can learn a thing or two about the big picture.

Wie is an exemplar of how the natural, joyous passion of a child can become the challenging, frustrating job of a professional. Yet by no measure have these been fruitless years. Whatever the capricious whims of golf inflicted, she is a winner, a Stanford graduate, a poised public figure even under intense scrutiny. That’s why, as Wie inches with characteristic grace toward the door marked ‘Exit’, young men like Hovland and Wolff who are entering the professional ranks would do well to learn from her example.

There will always be phenoms. But it’s still quite confounding to see the push to hype young players with so little appreciation for the long game in a sport that has generally seen few players peak young.

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