THE LAST decade has been a golden one for European golf, with the successes of Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Padraig Harrington among the highlights, but the good news is it just seems to be getting better.
Judging by the spectacular action of the last few days, Europe’s future is in safe hands, and nobody did better than the Solheim Cup team, who emphatically claimed their first ever victory on US soil.
I watched the entire competition and it was magnificent from start to finish, the highlight perhaps being the extraordinary whitewash on Saturday afternoon. Altogether they looked such a great team, full of confidence, and it took me right back to my own Ryder Cup days.
I have to mention Scotland’s Catriona Matthew, who went into her singles match with Gerina Piller having lost two and halved the other of her three matches so far. She spent most of the round a couple down to her opponent but grittily won two of the last five holes to claim the half point needed to clinch the trophy.
The six rookies all did Europe proud, and perhaps none more so than 17-year-old Charley Hull, the English girl who beat American veteran Paula Creamer 5&4 in their singles clash. That was fantastic.
Hull is a lovely girl and, having met her at a tournament a few weeks ago, I was impressed by her constant presence on the range. She is being tipped for the very top and there’s no doubt she’s the real deal.
Further evidence of Europe’s bright future could be found elsewhere in the States, at Brookline, where Sheffield 18-year-old Matt Fitzpatrick became the first Englishman to win the US Amateur Championship since 1911.
It was another amazing performance, earns him places at next year’s US Open, Masters and Open, and follows his Silver Medal for finishing the best amateur at last month’s Open at Muirfield.
And if that wasn’t enough, there was more Scottish success at the Boys’ Amateur Championships, where 17-year-old Ewen Ferguson of Bearsden succeeded Fitzpatrick by winning the title, thrashing his German opponent Michael Hirmer 10&9 in the 36-hole final.
It wasn’t just the youngsters enjoying their golf this week; I was delighted to finish tied second at the Scottish Senior Open and, following my 60th birthday celebrations this weekend, am looking forward to playing again at Woburn next week.
Sam Torrance OBE is a multiple Ryder Cup-winning golfer and media commentator. Follow him on Twitter @torrancesam
NEXT BIG THING
The teenager’s historic victory at the US Amateur Championship on Sunday was no fluke – he was best amateur at last month’s Open and won the Boys’ Amateur title last year. Yet he insists he is not ready to turn pro, and is set to start university in Illinois later this year.