Changing of the guard?

Markus Brier’s second European Tour victory at the Volvo China Open on Sunday has edged the Austrian veteran into the Top 20 on the Tour’s current Order of Merit list.
And that brings to 11 the number of Europeans who feature in the top 20 and to four their numbers holding places among the top 10.
With half the matches on the European Tour now being played outside of Europe in Asia, Australasia, South Africa and the Middle East and mostly in the early part of the year, it not entirely surprising that so many off-shore invaders hold top positions on the Tour’s current Merit list.
For example of the top 10, only four Europeans hold places up there, including Merit Order leader Henrik Stenson of Sweden, and they are matched by four South Africans, including the England-based duo of Retief Goosen, who is No 2 on the Euro Merit list, and Ernie Els, who is 5th.
With Asian golfers claiming more and more titles, it is perhaps a little surprising that only two Asians feature among the top 20 at this stage, these being Korea’s Yong-eun Yang, who won the tour’s fastest purse outside of the majors and the WGC events at the season-opening HSBC Champions Championship in China, and Jeev Milka Singh, who triumphed twice on the Tour last year, including in the season-closing Grand Finale, the Volvo Masters, but has yet to win this year.
With Paul Casey (2), Justin Rose (8), Luke Donald (17) and Ian Poulter (18), England are relatively well represented in the Top 20, but the paucity of Golfers from Scotland, Wales and Ireland in the top 20 must be of some concern to the golfing bodies in those three countries, especially Scotland, the cradle of golf, who like Wales, are without any representatives at all.
Ireland is a little better off with Padraig Harrington at No 9, but that’s it right now.
Stalwarts like Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley are nowhere to be seen. Nor is Scot Colin Montgomerie.
Are we seeing a changing of the guard?
Examine the latest European Tour Order of Merit list below and see what you think (currency in Euros):
1 Henrik Stenson (Swe) 1,615,383
2 Retief Goosen (Rsa) 1,192,503,
3 Paul Casey (Eng) 860,767
4 Yong-eun Yang (Kor) 747,104
5 Ernie Els (Rsa) 662,707
6 Nick O’Hern (Aus) 621,886
7 Trevor Immelman (Rsa) 607,513
8 Justin Rose (Eng) 574,263
9 Padraig Harrington (Irl) 47,909
10 Anton Haig (Rsa) 428,333
11 Niclas Fasth (Swe) 410,188
12 Sergio Garcia (Spa) 398,325
13 Michael Campbell (Nzl) 345,635
14 Robert Karlsson (Swe) 336,023
15 Raphael Jacquelin (Fra) 335,754
16 Charl Schwartzel (Rsa) 324,428
17 Luke Donald (Eng) 314,584
18 Ian Poulter (Eng) 299,956,
19 Jeev Milkha Singh (Ind) 296,564
20 Markus Brier (Aut) 294,933


The Editor