t has been an encouraging few days for English golf on both sides of the Atlantic, with a breakthrough win for youngster Jordan Smith and further evidence of a return to form from Ian Poulter.
Smith has really hit the ground running in his professional career. He won the order of merit on the third-tier PGA EuroPro Tour in his first full season in 2015 and repeated the trick the following year on the Challenge Tour to earn a European Tour card.
The 24-year-old from Bath started 2017 by finishing just one shot behind winner Graeme Storm at the South Africa Open and then on Sunday at the European Open in Germany, when presented with the chance of his first title at this level, Smith took it.
It’s a fantastic achievement. Smith looks a very impressive prospect and has accomplished in two years what can take many other professionals a long time.
It can be difficult to know how good up and coming players are, but everything he has done so far suggests he’s awfully good.
Smith’s rapid progress is great news for English golf. There is no shortage of emerging talent, as the likes of Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton have shown, and now we have another name to add to that list.
Poulter remains a big draw
Poulter may be a little longer in the tooth but the 41-year-old showed that there is plenty life left in him yet at the Canadian Open.
He shot an eight-under-par 64, the lowest round of the tournament, to take third place on Sunday. He missed out on a play-off by just one shot, but his fourth top-11 finish in his last 11 events underlines that he is back after a difficult spell.
It’s nice to see Poulter enjoying golf again after he almost lost his card earlier this year. He is a wonderful talent and his personality makes him a huge draw for the PGA Tour.
Langer the machine
One man who just gets better with age is Bernhard Langer, who became the first man to win 10 senior Majors with victory at the Senior Open in Wales at the weekend.
It is hard enough to land a title on the senior tours when you are in your early 50s, but the German turns 60 later this month and he is still topping leaderboards.
Langer has extraordinary longevity but it is no coincidence; I know how hard he works on the course and also off it, to maintain his fitness. He is a machine and I cannot praise him highly enough.
Caddie issue won't affect McIlroy
Reports that Rory McIlroy has parted ways with his caddie of nine years, JP Fitzgerald, a week before the US PGA Championship may have raised some eyebrows, but it is hard to read much into it as it’s such a personal decision and there could be any number of reasons.
Either way, it shouldn’t really affect McIlroy’s game.