Should we offer congratulations or condolences to Ryan Moore, who on Sunday defeated Luke List 2 up in the U.S. Amateur final. Things have not gone particularly well for Amateur champions since Tiger Woods won three consecutive titles from 1994 through '96. Only three of the last seven winners play on the PGA Tour, and even they are struggling. Other than an automatic bid to the Masters, the U.S. Open and the British Open, could a win at the Amateur be more curse than blessing? Here's the skinny on the post-Tiger champs by Golf Magazine Top 100 teacher Tom Patri.
Matt Kuchar, Won Amateur 1997 | SINCE WINNING: Won the 2002 Honda Classic but has missed the cut in 10 of 19 starts this year and is 135th on the money list. PROBLEM: "Every aspect of his game is nice, but no one part of it jumps out at you as being special. Most successful Tour players do at least one thing particularly well."
Hank Kuehne, Won Amateur 1998 | SINCE WINNING: Has missed the cut in 12 of 22 PGA Tour starts this season but is currently 109th on the money list, thanks largely to a fifth at the Nissan Open. PROBLEM: "I don't think he has a clue how to manage the golf course. He's so talented, but he needs to throttle back, find the fairway and start from there."
David Gossett, Won Amateur 1999 | SINCE WINNING: Won the 2001 John Deere Classic but has missed the cut in all but two of 18 starts this year and is 239th on the money list. PROBLEM: "The fact that he's won before shows that he clearly knows how to play and has a good swing, but the word is he's been battling some injuries."
August 29, 2004
Jeff Quinney, Won Amateur 2000 | SINCE WINNING: He's partially exempt on the Nationwide tour and has a tie for fourth to go with seven missed cuts, putting him 87th on that tour's money list. PROBLEM: "He belongs in the Fred Ridley category of winners: great amateur, should have stayed one. He'll make a very good stockbroker one day."
Ben (Bubba) Dickerson, Won Amateur 2001 | SINCE WINNING: He's exempt on the Hooters tour and has played well after a few years struggling there and on Europe's Challenge tour. PROBLEM: "Doesn't always play smart. He probably left school [Florida] too early. A few more years to mature in college would have done him a lot of good."
Ricky Barnes, Won Amateur 2002 | SINCE WINNING: He finished 21st in the 2003 Masters as an amateur, but this year he has only a 14th at the FBR Open to go with missed cuts in five of seven Tour starts. PROBLEM: "He plays on guts and athleticism but has some fundamental issues in his setup and swing that prevent him from having a Tour-caliber game."
Nick Flanagan, Won Amateur 2003 | SINCE WINNING: He's played seven PGA Tour events and missed the cut in six of them, but playing as an amateur, he tied for third in the European tour's ANZ Championship. PROBLEM: "He's incredibly talented. He has a good-looking swing and bombs it. He simply needs some time to adjust to the lifestyle and the travel."
The next golf plus will be a Sept. 14 special Ryder Cup Preview issue.