A year ago, Danny Lee of New Zealand was usually included alongside Rory McIlroy and Ryo Ishikawa -- and not unreasonably, either -- in identifying the future of golf. The youngest U.S. Amateur champion ever, Lee, then 18, also became the youngest ever to win a European Tour event, besting an elite field at the Johnnie Walker Classic last February.
He turned pro after the Masters, with mixed results -- a tie for seventh at the AT&T National portending stardom, followed by missed cuts at the John Deere Classic and Buick Open that tempered optimism that he was ready for prime time.
"It's all a bit of a blur," he said in this story in New Zealand's Times Live. "I can't really remember much. The cut and thrust of competition on the PGA Tour took me by surprise. It was harder than I thought it would be. It's not easy. There are just lots of good player out there and that's what makes it most difficult. They're all good players."
Lee is not yet one of them. He failed to make it past the first stage of the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament and as a result has chosen to play the European Tour, using the exemption he earned with his victory in the Johnnie Walker.
He made his 2010 debut on Thursday in the Africa Open. He shot 77 and as of this writing is tied for 148th.
-- John Strege