Skip to main content
Original Issue


New 'Tude on Tour
All Gall

It happens in every profession: The older guys only grudgingly
give ground to the younger guys. In pro golf, generational change
has traditionally been glacial, with the elders retaining their
dominant positions--competitively and socially--longer than in
other sports. These days, though, more and more young players are
rising to the top ranks of the game. As a result, many veterans
are beginning to feel overmatched. Worse, they perceive a lack of
respect from the youngsters, many of whom they view as
narcissistic brats whose accomplishments don't measure up to
their egos.

"It gets old quick having to listen to some kid who has never
won, or has won once, talking loud in the locker room," says one
fortysomething veteran with multiple Tour victories. "You almost
want to say, 'Excuse me, when exactly was it that you won the
Grand Slam?'"

The width of the Tour's generation gap was evident in January
when swing coach Butch Harmon publicly chided 19-year-old Aaron
Baddeley, who routinely says that his goal is to become better
than Tiger Woods, for being too cocky. Rather than retreating,
Baddeley went on the attack, saying that he intended to question
Harmon directly. Two weeks later Baddeley won his next European
tour event, the Greg Norman Holden International.

Garrett Willis, who came out of nowhere to win January's Tucson
Open in his first start as a Tour member, has also been taken to
task for runaway ego. "Garrett blew off the pro-am in Hawaii
after he won at Tucson, which I told him was a bad move," says
Tour veteran Peter Jacobsen. "Then he asked me if I could help
him get the Sony PlayStation 2 they gave to the guys who actually
played in the pro-am. I'm like, 'Well, you didn't play, and by
the way, maybe you could buy one with that $540,000 you won at
Tucson.' Things have happened fast for him, but like a lot of the
young players he has to learn that the Tour isn't all about

Says the 27-year-old Willis, "I have nothing to be shy about. I'm
very thankful for the cards the Lord has dealt me, and I'm going
to play them as long as they last. To a certain extent I am
self-consumed, but you have to be to compete at this level."

Few on Tour disagree with Willis's last point. Today's young
players are being shaped by different forces than their
predecessors were. Most have been playing tournaments since they
were kids, have benefited from superior training methods and,
most important, have been taught that deference toward an
opponent is counterproductive.

"Believing you can win the moment you set foot on the
course--going for the throat competitively--that's appropriate
thinking," says sports psychologist Dick Coop. "Some of the
resentment on the part of the veterans might be that they had to
learn that mentality the hard way. We are also in the
in-the-your-face era of sports that is probably leaking into

The success of Woods, who even as an amateur playing in majors
made a point of saying that he intended to win, has affirmed the
value of attitude. "We all thought Tiger was full of crap, and
then we very quickly had to admit he was for real," says Mark
Calcavecchia. "So it doesn't bother me when these young guys are
brash. They are on a faster track than we were."

One of the brashest, 24-year-old Rory Sabbatini, concurs. "With
Tiger and Sergio [Garcia] coming through, the young players are
thinking, 'Yeah, we can do this.' At first, I admit, I was
arrogant in the way I played, trying to overpower the course with
my driver, then getting annoyed when it didn't work out. I was
arrogant in that I didn't really respect the way the older guys
played. I've learned there are a lot of ways to play this game

Fred Funk, who coached at Maryland before joining the Tour, says,
"I ignore age and treat the kids like any other players, which
means I like to give them a lot of crap. The thing is, I've
noticed that they come right back with it a lot harder than we
used to."

COLOR PHOTO: DARREN CARROLL Sabbatini says his style of play and lack of patience were arrogant.

Trust Me

The main reason Jack Nicklaus was chosen as captain of the U.S.
team for the 2002 Presidents Cup is that he's one of the few
people to whom Tiger Woods cannot say no, and if Woods agrees to
play in the event, set for November in South Africa, the other
top Americans will, too. Regardless of who's captain, though, I
expect the '02 Presidents Cup to be Woods's last outside North

What do these players have in common?

--Steve Elkington
--Ben Hogan
--Hal Sutton

They won the only three majors played at Riviera Country Club,
site of this week's Nissan Open. Elkington won the 1995 PGA,
Hogan the '48 U.S. Open and Sutton the '83 PGA.

Do you think Tiger Woods is in a slump?

Yes 32%
No 68%

--Based on 5,836 responses to our informal survey

Next question: Which do you prefer, Tour events that are
birdie-fests, like last week's Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, or
tournaments in which par is a good score, like the U.S. Open?
Vote at

Synonyms for: A Young Pro

All-star, bug boy, cub, flatbelly, flippy-wristed college kid,
junior, know-it-all, limberback, long and wrong, pencil neck,
pretty boy, red-hot, showboat, superstar, whippersnapper, young
and dumb.

How much are you willing to shell out for a private lesson from
one of the game's best-known instructors? Here are their hourly

David Leadbetter $5,000*
Rick Smith $1,000**
Peter Kostis $500
Butch Harmon $500
Jim McLean $375
Hank Haney $360
Peggy Kirk Bell $60

*Four-hour minimum
**Two-hour minimum