Top 10 U.S. players under 30

Updated: January 23, 2007, 11:58 AM ET
By Jason Sobel | ESPN.com

HONOLULU -- Warning: The following list is hardly filled with household names. It includes neither Tiger Woods nor Phil Mickelson, and shows only one player with a major championship to his name.

It is, in fact, not an easy task to find the top American golfers under the age of 30. But that's exactly what we've done, with one guideline: This list is based on history only, rather than potential, so previous results rank as the main determining factor.

Without further ado, onto the list:

Ben Curtis
Curtis
1. Ben Curtis, 29: Curtis is the only guy on this list with a major title and two other victories to his credit, so it's tough to argue with his resume. But we have to wonder: Has he already realized his full potential or is he still getting better? Either way, his time on this list won't be long; he turns 30 in May.

Charles Howell III
Howell
2. Charles Howell III, 27: Howell moved himself up a few notches on this list with a strong start to the season at this week's Sony Open. He's back with David Leadbetter after a brief break last season and his swing looks solid, so expect a big year from CH3.

Lucas Glover
Glover
3. Lucas Glover, 27: Glover played tight during last year's run for the Ryder Cup, which culminated in him being left off the team, but he's got a ton of pure talent and should bounce back well in '07. Expect Glover to remain a PGA Tour stalwart for the next 15-plus years.

Troy Matteson
Matteson
4. Troy Matteson, 27: Simply put, he was the best player in golf during the Tiger-free late season of 2006, claiming five consecutive top-five results and a win in Las Vegas. He's starting to look and feel more comfortable on tour in his second full season.

Ryan Moore
Moore
5. Ryan Moore, 24: He might be No. 1 on this list before the year is up. Moore won anything and everything when he was an amateur, which says a lot about his resolve under pressure. He even played well while battling through a broken hand, changing his swing to deal with the injury.

J.B. Holmes
Holmes
6. J.B. Holmes, 24: This big bomber exemplifies golf's new bomb-and-gouge philosophy. As last year's FBR Open winner noted recently, "You hit your driver good enough, sometimes you can two-putt and you can make birdie." He did laugh a little when he said this, but it's true enough.

Bill Haas
Haas
7. Bill Haas, 24: Jay Haas' son burst onto the PGA Tour with plenty of fanfare, but hasn't gotten much ink since, despite consistent improvement. With his first full season under his belt, Haas should continue to improve upon his 99th spot on the money list from a year ago.

Sean O'Hair
O'Hair
8. Sean O'Hair, 24: Everybody's favorite story of 2005 when he won the PGA Tour's Rookie of the Year award, O'Hair struggled during '06 but still finished 62nd on the money list, with seven top-10s and making 20 cuts in 30 starts. That hardly resembles a sophomore slump.

Jonathan Byrd
Byrd
9. Jonathan Byrd, 28: With victories at the 2002 Buick Challenge and 2004 B.C. Open, he joins Curtis as the only players on this list with multiple career victories. Byrd is a fly-under-the-radar type of guy; his 18 career top-10s prove he's a lot better than he's given credit for.

D.J. Trahan
Trahan
10. D.J. Trahan, 26: How shallow is the talent pool? Trahan missed the cut or withdrew in a staggering 20 of 33 events last season. On the bright side, this big, tall kid looks the part, making the list based simply on his victory at last year's Southern Farm Bureau Classic.

Jason Sobel is ESPN.com's golf editor. He can be reached at Jason.Sobel@espn3.com.

Jason Sobel | email

Golf Editor, ESPN.com
Jason Sobel, who joined ESPN in 1997, earned four Sports Emmy awards as a member of ESPN's Studio Production department. He became ESPN.com's golf editor in July 2004.

ALSO SEE