PGA Championship: Cameron Young feels at home at Oak Hill

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — There are golfers who possess undeniable charisma, like Rory McIlroy or the LPGA Tour’s captivating Maria Fassi. They effortlessly command attention, whether they’re standing on the tee box or engaging in hushed conversations with their caddies. Spectators, television audiences and media members alike can’t look away.

Cameron Young is just the opposite. Since his arrival on the PGA Tour last year, the 26-year-old has remained soft-spoken, offering little fodder for journalists seeking juicy quotes in the media tent or exhilarating fist-pumps on the 18th green. However, for anyone looking to see an exhibition of raw power that seems destined to secure major championships and play a pivotal role in future Ryder Cups, then Cameron Young is the man to watch.

This week’s tournament is not a home game for Young, who grew up playing at Sleepy Hollow Golf Club, 300 miles southeast of Rochester in Briarcliff Manor, New York, but it feels like one.

“Even walking down the first hole today, there’s something familiar about just the grasses and kind of the weather that I feel like is unique to this part of the country,” Young said. “It was beautiful out there today, and even just something as simple as that just feels very familiar to me.”

Sleepy Hollow Golf Club owes its creation to the legendary golf course architects Charles Blair Macdonald, Seth Raynor and A.W. Tillinghast. Oak Hill, another esteemed New York course, was masterfully designed by Donald Ross. Both courses exude a traditional pedigree, challenging golfers to navigate treacherous bunkers, evade the unforgiving rough, and conquer undulating greens. It’s a style of play that Young comprehends and embraces wholeheartedly.

2023 PGA Championship: After a lackluster Wells Fargo finish, Rory McIlroy received a text from Tiger Woods about something in his swing

“To get some really tight, bent-grass, poa-annua fairways [like here at Oak Hill] is really fun for me. I think it’s really rewarding with your iron play,” Young said. “I think it opens the door to hit a bunch of shots that you can’t necessarily [play at] other places, so that’s something that I really enjoy. I think the chipping, the wedges and the iron play off those really tight fairways is something that I look forward to any time we get to come up this way.”

In addition to his third-place finish at last season’s PGA Championship, the former Wake Forest standout was the runner-up at the British Open and finished T-7 at this season’s Masters. Since January 2022, he has moved from 134th to 15th this week on the Official World Golf Ranking, so no one will be surprised if he’s in the mix again, and Young’s even-keeled demeanor seems ideal for the big stages. He doesn’t get overwhelmed by the moment.

For Young, last year’s PGA Championship was a significant milestone. “I had finished high in big tournaments, but having a chance to win a major on a Sunday was a little different,” he said. “I would say the level of comfort did kind of sneak up on me.”

Young shaved his beard a few days ago after his wife said, “Why don’t you shave,” so you may not recognize him on Thursday when he tees off at at 1:25 with Tommy Fleetwood and Hideki Matsuyama. What you might recognize on Sunday evening, however, is Young’s name on the first page of the leaderboard.

Generated by Feedzy