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Michael Wolff shows he’s miles ahead of the pack with 3M Open win

He’s known as The Disrupter, and on Sunday in Minneapolis he certainly caused one heck of a commotion. Meet Matthew Wolff, just 20 years old, with a swing so unique it makes Jim Furyk’s look orthodox, winning his first event as a pro in less time than it took even Tiger Woods.


Requiring a birdie at the par-five 18th to force a play-off against Bryson DeChambeau in the 3M Open, Wolff struck his second shot over a large expanse of water and rolled in the 26ft eagle putt.

‘I guess this changes things forever,’ said the Californian, following the putt that made him an instant millionaire and moved him up more than 1,500 spots in the world rankings. Or, as Tiger, at the same age, put it: hello, world.

It was because of his unconventional swing that Wolff earned his nickname. Clearly, we’re in for plenty of thrilling turbulence in the years to come.

On the US college circuit, Wolff was so far ahead that he did the same thing as Tiger and cut short his university education after two years to turn pro.

In his first two PGA Tour starts he didn’t make it through to the final round, and the naysayers were in fine voice. As if you could compete out here, swinging the club like that? He was even at it himself.

‘I did go back to my hotel room and wonder why I was not still playing for Oklahoma State,’ he admitted.

You don’t win six times in six months on the ultra-competitive college circuit if you can’t play. The Mad Scientist, who rather likes the unconventional himself, of course, was almost in awe after Wolff’s eagle heroics to win in his third start as a pro.

‘Wow, I’m seriously impressed,’ said DeChambeau.

Wolff became the first player under the age of 21 to win on the PGA Tour since Jordan Spieth holed a bunker shot to claim the 2013 John Deere Classic.

Woods, meanwhile, needed five starts to claim his first victory as a pro in 1996.

Wolff has been an internet sensation for some time now, owing to his Trackman numbers (a device that measures swing and ball speeds).

They are unconventional, too — or rather, off the charts. The PGA Tour averages are 113mph for swing speed and 167mph for ball speed. Wolff’s numbers are 135mph and 195mph respectively, equating to a 70-yard advantage in driving distance. In college, he hit 80 per cent of fairways, too. Not fair, is it?

Neither is he a lone Wolff. It’s just three weeks since three of the most talked about amateurs in years all turned pro at the same tournament.

On Sunday, would you believe, two of them — Wolff and fellow American Collin Morikawa — were in the final group. Morikawa, also from California, just missed with an eagle putt of his own that would have meant a play-off with Wolff.

As for the other member of the Big Three, Norwegian Viktor Hovland, the impressive winner of the silver medal at the Masters and the US Open, has shot 64 and 65 in the final round of his second and third starts as a pro to finish tied-13th each time — and must feel like he’s been lapped.

The one sad note is that none of the trio are in the field for the Open at Royal Portrush, because the 3M event wasn’t part of the qualifying series.

One of them could put that right with a win at the John Deere Classic in Illinois this week.

Still, there’s something right about Wolff making his debut in a major at the Masters next April, just as Tiger did in 1995.

The Disrupter at Augusta has a ring to it.

As tongue-in-cheek tirades go, Brooks Koepka’s remarks to his Rotherham-based coach Pete Cowen after finishing runner-up in the US Open at Pebble Beach last month takes some beating.

‘You do realise that you’ve just screwed up history?’ Koepka told him.

Koepka was seeking to become the first man in more than a century to win the event three years in a row. He was stopped by the other American Cowen teaches, Gary Woodland, courtesy of a chip shot at the 17th that had ‘Made in Yorkshire’ stamped all over it.

Koepka added, rather pointedly: ‘I know Gary’s game, 18 months ago he couldn’t have played that chip at the 17th to save his life.’

Cowen, enjoying the banter, was only too happy to respond in kind. ‘You’ve still created history,’ he replied. ‘You’ve just become the first man to shoot four rounds in the 60s at the US Open — and not win.’

At a time when he thought he would have retired, Cowen might be enjoying teaching more than ever.

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