In the archives: Ryder Cup edition

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By Amanda Herrington (@AJGAAmanda) and Tim Jackman (@AJGAJackman), AJGA Communications

Before they were competing in the Ryder Cup, the 12 members of Team USA were just junior golfers with big dreams. We dug deep into the archives to uncover what Team USA was up to during their time at the AJGA.

Keegan Bradley

Keegan-Bradley-wins

Bradley competed from 2002-04 and was named an honorable mention Rolex Junior All-American. Here he is after the last putt dropped (sporting his future college allegiance) in what would be his lone AJGA victory at the 2004 Lessing's AJGA Classic. 

Rickie Fowler

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The AJGA not only gave Fowler the opportunity to compete among the world's best, it also taught him the importance of a good interview. An accomplished AJGA junior (a two-time Rolex Junior All-American and champion of the CB&I Boys Championship), this video is proof Fowler has always hammed it up for the camera – see the 1:01 mark. 

Jim Furyk 

Jim-Furyk-Tour-Talk-Magazine

Long before we had The Insider (shameless plug, check out the latest issue), we went old school with an AJGA newsletter, the official Tour Talk. A "blonde haired 17-year-old" Furyk graced the cover in the September/October 1987 issue. 

Zach Johnson

Zach-Johnson-Agate

Johnson's two-event AJGA career was highlighted by an 18th-place finish at the 1993 Wakonda Junior Classic. The other was for 75th proving that no dream is too far out of reach – just ask him how that green jacket fits. 

Matt Kuchar

Matt-Kuchar-2nd-Team-Rolex-JAA

Kuchar played events around the same time as Johnson, with Kooch's AJGA career spanning from 1993-96. During his time, Kuchar picked up five top-three finishes, Rolex Junior All-America honors twice AND the future Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket was an HP Scholastic Junior All-American. 

Hunter Mahan

Hunter-Mahan-Polo

Mahan's earliest match play experience came at the Polo Golf Junior Classic, the AJGA's annual Thanksgiving match play event. He won the tournament in 1998 after defeating James Oh, 4 and 2. A year later, Mahan would return to Walt Disney World Resort (host of the Polo Golf Junior Classic from 1995-2003) to claim his Rolex Junior Player of the Year award at "the greatest night in junior golf" — the Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet. 

Phil Mickelson

Phil-RJAA-87-w-Jim

The most veteran player on Team USA, Mickelson holds many AJGA honors. He was named Rolex Junior Player of the Year a record three times (1986-88), won the Rolex Tournament of Champions three times and still holds the AJGA boys record for most individual career victories (12). Can you name his Ryder Cup teammate standing to his right?

Patrick Reed

Wong,-Reed-and-Moon

Reed's first match play experience was at the Wyndham Cup (then known as the Canon Cup). The three-time Rolex Junior All-American competed for the East in 2006 at Conway Farms Golf Club against a West team that included his Ryder Cup teammate Rickie Fowler (Fowler's West squad took the Cup).

Webb Simpson

Webb-Simpson-Media-Profile

Need proof that dreams do come true? Check out Simpson's answer to where he would like to be in 10 years. Other interesting facts about the four-time Rolex Junior All-American: Davis Love III was his favorite pro golfer and his unique talent was pool. We wonder if he still carries that lucky pebble in his bag…

Jordan Spieth 

 

It was only three years ago that Spieth was competing in AJGA events. He closed his AJGA career with a victory at the 2011 CB&I Boys Championship at Carlton Woods (then know as the HP Boys Championship) before going on to claim his second U.S. Junior Amateur title. This year, Spieth returned to the AJGA as tournament host of the Under Armour® / Jordan Spieth Championship presented by American Campus Communities.

Jimmy Walker

Jimmy-Walker-Junior-Am

We aren't lying when we say that you can play with golf's future stars in our Junior-Am Fundraising Tournaments. This lucky threesome had the opportunity to play with Jimmy Walker, who won three of the first eight tournaments of this year's PGA TOUR season. Walker went on to win the tournament — the Genesis Shootout presented by the Valero Texas Open.

Bubba Watson

Bubba-Watson-Pink-Shorts

Bubba-Watson-Canon-Cup-with-David-Gossett

Waston has been making pink look good since 1992. A three-time Rolex Junior All-American, Watson competed in events like the Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior, the Rolex Tournament of Champions and the Polo Golf Junior Classic. He competed for the East at the 1996 and 1997 Wyndham Cups (née Canon Cup) alongside teammate and fellow TOUR professional David Gossett.