The recent surge of outstanding young talent in both men's and women's golf has revealed a lot about many entities in the golf. But most interesting to me is just how much "millennials" look to be validated by the play of these players and how upset they get when "their" generation is not treated as the most vital to have ever lived.
Of course every generation has a certain affinity for who they grew up or grew old with. But thanks to Twitter and Facebook, we know millennials increasingly appear to take it personally when it's suggested that there were other generations who might have existed prior to 2000. (The recent suggestions that Tiger faced no serious competition speak most strongly to this alarmingly shallow perception.)
I struggle with the obvious ageism because I am excited about the infusion of young talent, but also believe our sport is at its best when a variety of age groups are succeeding.
Where the ageism practiced by the millennials gets scary is when the blind love ignores the numbers.
Take the Brooks Koepka omission from the 2015 Presidents Cup team.
There's no question that Phil Mickelson's selection can be questioned and that Koepka might have been a daring pick by Jay Haas to help develop a great young talent, but there's also a history of captain's picking veterans to Ryder and Presidents and Solheim Cup teams and Mickelson's selection was hardly unusual.
Karen Crouse of the New York Times even chalked the Mickelson pick to an "affirmation of the old boys’ club that characterizes golf at its most galling." Crouse suggests the youth movement in golf was taking a detour with the selection. But while I think that's a bit strong, there is plenty of social media outrage over Captain Haas not helping to develop Koepka as a future American star by selecting him. I would buy that view if he just missed the team or there was a sense that we are depleted in the young talent department.
So why is there no outrage over the omission of players ahead of No. 19 Koepka on the Presidents Cup points list? They include J.B. Holmes, Charley Hoffman, Billy Horschel, Brandt Snedeker, Webb Simpson, Robert Streb, Kevin Na or Harris English. While all were on the outer cusps of the constantly shifting millennial age range, none are seen as a young, burgeoning, photogenic, marketing-friendly player that Koepka is seen as. Therefore, none were really backed by those upset at Mickelson's suggestion.
That's a bizarre, dangerous and slightly unseemly trend to ponder.