By Paul Myers
Believe it or not, a new PGA Tour season is already underway. If it seems like the last season just ended, that’s because it did. Only a few weeks removed from the end of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, the 2015-16 PGA Tour season began this past weekend at the Frys.com Open in Napa Valley, CA. While the setting is beautiful, it is hard to think that many of the pros wouldn’t have rather had a month or two off before getting started. Regardless, the season is underway, and yet another youngster has made his name known to the golfing world.
His name is Emiliano Grillo, a 23-year-old who claimed his first PGA Tour title by defeating Kevin Na in a playoff. There has been a wave of young players establishing themselves on the Tour in recent years, including Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Daniel Berger, and others. This can be seen as nothing as a great positive for the game of golf as a whole, as the previous generations champions are starting to move into the end of their careers.
Grillo worked his way onto the PGA Tour through the Web.com Tour, where he won the Tour Championship event only a few weeks back. Despite just getting started on his career, there are already big things expected from this talented Argentine. Grillo is already known for his beautiful swing and great ball striking, which is one of the first requirements for long-term success on Tour. Of course putting and chipping will always be important, but players don’t tend to last long on Tour unless they have quality ball striking skills.
Fortunately, Grillo narrowly avoided becoming known for something else this week in California. While playing behind Rory McIlroy, Grillo hit a tee shot into the green before McIlroy and his group had cleared the area. The ball nearly struck McIlroy on the fly, which could have created quite a serious situation. Everyone was able to laugh about it afterward since no damage was done, but it was a scare that neither McIlroy or Grillo would like to relive.
Elsewhere on the leaderboard, Justin Rose got his season off to a good start with a T6 finish, as did former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel. It was not such an exciting start for established pros Chad Campbell, Camilo Villegas, Ryan Palmer, Webb Simpson, and Pat Perez, all of whom missed the cut.
The fall portion of the PGA Tour season will continue on for several more weeks, with Las Vegas the next stop up on the schedule. Following Vegas there will also be events in Kuala Lumpur, Mississippi, China, Mexico, and Georgia. Once the calendar turns over to a new year, the Tour will return to Hawaii prior to its customary west coast swing. While the fall and winter might not be the most-popular time for following professional golf, these events certainly have a major impact on the results of the FedEx Cup race next summer. Players who can grab an early victory as Grillo was able to do will have a leg up on the competition once the big events of 2016 roll around.