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Future of golf heading for PGA Tour

The Deutsche Bank Championship might well have provided the golf world with a look at the near future of the game. Or maybe it's the present. Either way, the look is definitely international.

Aside from the fact that 23-year-old Australian Adam Scott won the title, Justin Rose, a 23-year-old Englishman, was third.

Fiji's Vijay Singh was fourth, Australia's Geoff Ogilvy tied for fifth and Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke, fresh off a win in the WGC-NEC Invitational, tied for ninth.

Is that enough international flavor? Five of the top 10.

Well, consider that a Swede and a South African, Carl Pettersson and Tim Clark, respectively, tied for 11th. Welshman Phillip Price tied for 13th and on it went.

Of the 28 players who finished 24th or better, 13 were international players.

Some of the best internationals didn't even show in Boston, guys such as Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Mike Weir and Nick Price -- all ranked in the top 12 in the world.

Is it any wonder the United States is under pressure in both in the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup? The days when the Ryder Cup was a biennial American rout are long gone. Think the U.S. will be favored when the Presidents Cup gets underway in South Africa in November?

And a good percentage of the international players from the Deutsche Bank are young: Scott, Rose, Ogilvy, Pettersson and Clark are still in their 20s. Not all the young internationals figured in the mix at the TPC of Boston. Don't forget Sergio Garcia, Aaron Baddeley, Ian Poulter, Rory Sabbatini, Trevor Immelman, Luke Donald and now a suddenly resurgent Lee Westwood, the old man of the group at 30.

And most of these players have followed the advice of Horace Greeley: Go West, young man. Many of the youngsters, such as Clark, Pettersson, Baddeley, Sabbatini and Donald are PGA Tour members and play most of their golf here.

Most of the others are considering doing the same.

Rose, who made his first trip here in 2002, had no problems feeling comfortable in the former British colonies.

"I think last year when I came over for the first time to play the U.S. PGA and the NEC, I settled into it really quickly," he said. "I shot 69 the first day to be lying third at the PGA, my first round in America. It was just a really good confidence-building start to playing over here.

"Obviously a lot of European players have come over and struggled and never quite played well. I finished 22nd that week, which I was relatively happy about the first time out, and finished fifth at Sahalee (in the NEC). So I had some good results behind me immediately; that helps me feel very comfortable when I come over here and play."

Scott, playing in just his 34th career PGA start, still splits his time between the European Tour and the States.

It was a relief, Scott said, to break through on the PGA Tour.

"It's very difficult to win in America," said Scott, who, like Rose, has four international wins under his belt. "I feel that, being not just a foreigner, but being a young player, there's a lot of pressure out there on this tour. And there are only a few young players who have done very well in the past, and one is probably Sergio and the other is Tiger, really young guys, winning over here a lot. It's difficult to do."

Scott, who lives in London most of the year, said he does not intend to abandon Europe. He would like to follow in the footsteps of his idol, Greg Norman, and become the best player in Europe.

Besides, Scott thinks the European Tour can teach him a great deal yet.

"I think the conditions are so adverse over there," he said. "We are playing in some unbelievable conditions over there. I think that really toughens you up, and if you can handle that, you can handle anything."

And when the weather is bad in the States, Scott adjusts easily.

"It's raining, no big deal," he said. "That's normal. Stuff like that, it makes you a harder player, and if you can grow into that in horrific conditions that you are not meant to be playing golf in, I think things seem quite nice over here and you are tough enough to deal with anything."

And perhaps that plays a part in why the best young players today are not American, but European or Australian or South African. Maybe they're tougher.

Scott thinks that's a possibility.

"What you have over here is unbelievable, and I think it can be taken for granted," he said.

"I think this is where Butch Harmon, Greg Norman, Tom Crow (founder of Cobra Golf) were such big influences on me, saying, 'Adam, forget about America,' when I first turned pro. 'Let's go to Europe and get some good grounding over there.'

"That makes me appreciate a lot more what is over here and just how good it is."

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