The days following the Ryder Cup are filled with tons of recaps, over-analysis of players and second guessing captain’s decision making. This leads to a number of conclusions that may or may not be true. One conclusion that many have drawn is that Europe lacks the young talent of the U.S. and that the future isn’t bright for the boys across the pond.
I don’t buy it.
While the U.S. has a dearth of young talent coming up through the ranks, some of whom participated in this year’s Ryder Cup, I would venture to say that Europe has as much if not more. So, I decided to take a look at Europe’s best players under the age of 25 to see who could help fill the void of some of their aging stars.
Thomas Pieters - Age: 24
The world met one of Europe’s brightest stars at Hazeltine in Thomas Pieters. Pieters has the potential to become a top 5 player in the world with his combination of distance and short game skills. I think Pieters has more talent and potential than any American player under the age of 25, not named Jordan Spieth.
Matthew Fitzpatrick - Age: 22
The youngest player at the Ryder Cup had a rough go of it at Hazeltine but that was somewhat to be expected. Fitzpatrick’s world ranking ascended into the top 50 this season which earned him a spot in all four major championships, making the cut in three and highlighted by a t7th at the Masters. Fitzpatrick has won an event in each of the last two seasons. Pretty impressive stuff for a guy who just turned 22.
Jon Rahm - Age: 22
It’s sometimes easy to forget that the rising PGA Tour star Rahm hails from Spain. Rahm turned professional after being the number 1 ranked amateur and seamlessly made the transition to the PGA Tour earning enough money in his sponsor’s exemptions to get his 2016-2017 PGA Tour card. The Arizona State standout looks to be one of golf’s next big stars and will suit up for the Europeans in future Ryder Cups.
Romain Langasque - Age: 21
As part of his reward for winning the British Amateur Champion in 2015, Langasque got exemptions into the Masters and the Open Championship where he didn’t disappoint, making the cut in both. Following the Open Championship, Langasque turned professional and has played primarily on the Challenge Tour where he ranks 5th on the money list. The astounding thing about Langasque has been his consistency; the young Frenchman has missed only one cut this year and will play full-time on the European Tour next season. Langasque is one of the brightest young stars in Europe and has extra motivation to earn a spot on the 2018 team to play in front of his home crowd in France.
Tyrrell Hatton - Age: 24
Another young player who is becoming more of a household name in America is Tyrrell Hatton. Hatton had a breakout year in 2016 and turned in some of his best performances in the major championships where he notched a t5th at the Open Championship and a t10th at the PGA Championship. Hatton’s game is based around a strong tee-to-green game which is no surprise given his results in this year’s major championships. Hatton ranks 53rd in the world and is 9th in the Race to Dubai. He’s a player American fans will be seeing a lot more of next year.
Tom Detry - Age: 23
Another promising Belgian, Detry, followed his close friend Thomas Pieters to the University of Illinois where he went on to become a two-time All-American. Detry turned pro this summer and quickly made a name for himself on the Challenge Tour shooting 29-under at the Bridgestone Challenge to win by 12 shots. He set the Challenge Tour record for largest margin of victory and tied the lowest 72 hole score ever in an event. Detry is in good position to earn his European Tour card less than 5 months since he left college.
Paul Dunne - Age: 23
Who can forget Dunne who co-led the 2015 Open Championship after 54 holes? Since turning pro, Dunne successfully earned his 2016 European Tour card through Q-School and is in position to retain his playing privileges for 2017. This season, Dunne has racked up 6 top 25 finishes heading into the stretch run of the season.
Matteo Manassero - Age: 23
Incredibly, the former phenom Manassero is still only 23 years old as it seems the Italian has been around forever. Manassero lost his game for awhile but it seems to be coming back, evidenced by his successful 2016 season. If his game continues to improve, we may see the one-time can’t miss star on golf’s biggest stage in Paris.