Battle of the Ages: 20s vs. 40s

Originally Published: January 2, 2004
By David Lefort |

The oldies were mostly goodies on the PGA Tour in 2003, while the young guns that were so highly touted in 2002 fired a few blanks.

Eleven players 40 or older earned victories last season, compared to just six 20-somethings. Additionally, six 40-somethings made the top 20 on the money list, while just three players in their 20s found their way into that club.

How the kids measure up to the gray-hairs in 2004 will be a theme to watch in the upcoming season. We've broken down the key players from both camps in our Gen X and Geriatric all-star squads, along with the progress they've made over the last couple years and what we see in our 2004 crystal ball.

Disagree with our All-20-something and All-40-something teams? Think we left someone out? Let us know.

-signifies an improvement from 2002 to 2003
-signifies a dropoff from 2002 to 2003
*-position on European tour Order of Merit

The All-20-something Team
Player World Rank
'02           '03
Money list
'02           '03
2004 prognisis
Tiger Woods, age 28
Hardly fair to lump him with the 20-somethings.
1 1 1 2 Didn't win a major last year, expect that to change in 2004.
Chad Campbell, age 29
Hooters Tour legend just starting to come into his own.
160 15 81 7 A multi-win season is predicted for the 2003 PGA runner-up and Tour Championship winner.
Charles Howell III, age 24
Made the cut in his last 18 events in 2003.
20 19 9 14 He'll prove he can be a fixture near the top of the money list for years to come.
Adam Scott, age 23
Tiger clone scored his first U.S. victory in 2003.
40 25 NA 55 He'll shift his focus from Europe to the United States now that he's a PGA Tour member.
Sergio Garcia, age 23
Took a step back in 2003 while remaking his swing.
5 33 12 95 Had a successful silly season, but still too soon to tell which Sergio will show up in 2004.
Justin Rose, age 23
Played well in U.S. events last 2 years, but still a Euro regular.
37 53 *9 *25 Still needs a couple more years in Europe, but his time will come on the PGA Tour.
Fredrik Jacobson, age 29
'03 was a breakthrough season on both sides of the Atlantic.
83 17 *30 *4 Will be hard-pressed to match last year's 3-win season, but not out of the realm of possibility.
Ben Curtis, age 26
One of the biggest long-shot major champs in history.
NA 35 NA 46 Will play on both tours in 2004. A smart move for a guy who still needs to hone his game.
Paul Casey, age 26
English amateur stud made waves in the pros in 2003.
105 24 *26 *6 He and Rose give England hope for the next generation.
Jonathan Byrd, age 25
One of the most talented kids on the block.
59 70 39 47 Didn't make much noise last season, needs to play to his potential in 2004.

Second team: Aaron Baddeley, Hank Kuehne, Rory Sabbatini, David Gossett, John Rollins, Tim Clark, Ben Crane, David Howell, Luke Donald, Hunter Mahan, Trevor Immelman, Ian Poulter, Ricky Barnes.

The All-40-something Team
Player World Rank
'02           '03
Money list
'02           '03
2004 prognisis
Vijay Singh, age 40
Still very much in his prime, possibly better than ever.
8 2 3 1 Coming off his best season, expect three or more wins from Singh in 2004.
Nick Price, age 46
New Hall of Famer didn't lose a step in 2003.
13 12 19 20 Still one of the tour's best ball-strikers, Price has a couple wins left in him before he's done.
Kenny Perry, age 43
Past his prime? No way. Had a career year in 2003.
28 10 27 6 It's unlikely that one of the tour's good guys can match last year's three victories.
Jay Haas, age 50
Just turned 50, but played like he was 30 in 2003.
127 27 98 15 Why join the Champions Tour when you can still hang with the big boys?
Brad Faxon, age 42
Rhode Island native coming off his best season since 1997.
48 22 31 11 One of the best putters on tour, but problems off the tee will be more accentuated as he ages.
Bob Tway, age 44
Earned his first win since '95, and had his best season since '86.
89 30 55 13 A win and three other top-3 finishes in 2003 tell us he's not going away.
Fred Funk, age 47
He was a factor at the PGA Champ. for second straight year.
34 36 13 27 As long as accuracy is at a premium, Funk will have a place on the PGA Tour.
Fred Couples, age 44
Refocused on golf in '03, he was the comeback story of the year.
147 34 103 34 Earned his first win since '98 and made his last 17 cuts. Freddie's not done.
Rocco Mediate, age 41
Wasn't as impressive as he was '02, but still going strong.
26 32 22 31 Just missed the Tour Champ. last year, and he'll be hard-pressed to get back there in '04.
Colin Montgomerie, age 40
First season in the over-40 club a very disappointing one.
10 41 *4 *28 Hampered by injuries in 2003, Monty should have a bounce-back season in Europe.

Second team: Scott Hoch, Craig Stadler, Peter Jacobsen, Loren Roberts, Jeff Sluman, John Huston, Kirk Triplett, Eduardo Romero, Mark Calcavecchia, Bernhard Langer, J.L. Lewis, Nick Faldo.

David Lefort is the golf editor for, and can be reached at