Battle of the Ages: 20s vs. 40s
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|
|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.|
|The All-40-something Team|
|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.|
David Lefort is the golf editor for ESPN.com, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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