How Cameron Young Became The Best Rookie In World Golf
Going into the final round of the 2022 Open Championship at the home of golf, four shots off the lead held by four-time major winner Rory McIlroy and Norwegian sensation Victor Hovland, Cameron Young was stoked.
If you knew he would then shoot a seven-under-par 65, including a final hole eagle, while the leaders scored 70 and 74 respectively, you would assume Young was the champion. Right? In fact another Cameron – Cameron Smith – took the trophy.
The 25-year-old tells RSNG.com how ending up as bridesmaid only makes him more determined to win in future…
Climbing The Ladder
Briarcliff Manor seems to have a knack for being associated with famous and successful people. The multi-millionaire Rockefeller, Vanderbilt and Astor families lived there and now, a certain rookie golfer has emerged there.
As of the 2022 Open Championship, Cameron Young has risen to number 19 in the Official World Golf Rankings, largely down to his performances in the majors that calendar year.
Finishing runner-up to his namesake Smith – the first time a Cameron has ever won the Open – and T-3 at the PGA Championship at the Southern Hills Country Club in Oklahoma, has catapulted him up the ladder.
“In order to climb the world rankings in golf – just like any other sport, I suppose – you need to be consistent. I’ve begun to get a bit more consistency into my game and that’s helped.
“Consistency in your own game means you’re scoring well and by doing that, it puts you closer to the top of the leaderboard more often. I’ve been up there and competing in tournaments and that’s going to bode well for the future.
“If I happen to stay in the top 20 of the rankings, that’s great and what I would rather do is get more wins on Tour. However, you’d think that both things go hand in hand, so that’s always great.”
The Future Looks Bright
The fact that Young came within a shot of a playoff in two major championships shows that he is well on his way to being able to snap that bridesmaid sequence and be star of the show himself, at some point.
His demeanor and mature attitude shows that he has an old head on young shoulders (pun intended) and he feels this will assist him in his quest for greatness.
“However frustrating it was to come up short in the past, it will help me in the long run,” Young says wistfully. “I know how bad it feels being the guy who finishes runner-up and that gives me incentive to go one place higher.
“I didn’t feel that I could do any more in the final round and even rounding off with an eagle at the 18th made it feel even worse, to only be one shot off the lead. Yet to suffer that makes me more determined to do better in the future.”
In addition to having a bundle of ability in a physical sense and a multitude of mental attributes, Young is also a hugely humble guy.
“You play the best you can, and I would say that my play over the four days at St Andrews was good. I took it right until the end; I was proud of that. And to be in the pairing with the eventual winner taught me a lot, too.
“Having a front row seat right there by playing with Cameron on the Sunday was really interesting to watch. I suppose, the further you go through your career and the more you witness, the more eager you are to snap the streak of losses.
“But being in that scenario and trying to win means that you don’t always take everything in at the time. I mean, I wasn’t there as a member of the gallery – I was doing my own thing.
“However, I think everything you experience can go some way to helping you improve. Playing with one of the best golfers in the world – not to mention chasing down Rory [McIlroy] and Victor [Hovland] – is part of that.”
Consistency Breeds Confidence
As for the future, Young is not looking to change his game anytime soon. The results he has had and the consistency that he speaks of is something he has relied on correctly, so far.
Vast deviations may not be the answer for the New Yorker to break through for his first PGA Tour win – whether that be a major or a regular tournament. The foundations of his game are well-oiled and in working order.
He even says himself that leading up to the perils and jeopardies of the Old Course at St Andrews, he was looking to make small modifications to his game to successfully negotiate a way around.
“Links golf is obviously different to the other courses we play on the PGA Tour, but you still have to use what has got you so far in the game; you have to marry it up with a process and game plan for it to work.
“It was both a help and a hindrance to be with Cameron as he made birdie after birdie; mainly because it was good to see what was possible and probable and how to approach the next hole.”
On any other day, Young would have been Open champion. He knows that if he can fine-tune and tweak the parts of his game that he feels need it, the future is bright.
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