Padraig began his professional career in 1996, and made the cut at his first nine European Tour events, including five top-10 finishes and victory at the Spanish Open. Other top-10 finishes saw him finish in the Order of Merit for the year. In 1997 he recorded 6 top-10 finishes as earning second place at the Volvo Masters, allowing him to climb to 8th position in the 1997 Oder of Merit. Victory in the Irish Wold Cup, where he partnered Paul McGinley, as the nation’s first for 39 years. This, paired with his win in the 1998 Irish PGA Championship, made him one of the best players to grace the greens in Europe.
Padraig represented Europe in 1999’s Ryder Cup where his impressive singles match against Mark O’Meara was deemed one of the most courageous performances of recent times. He then followed up his Ryder Cup debut with a second -place finish in the Linde German Masters, losing the play-off to Sergio Garcia. Later Padraig would establish himself as one of the world’s top players by finishing 5th at both the Masters and The Open and 8th at the US Open.
2005 was a memorable year for Padraig as he became to first Irishman to win a USPGA Tour event, actually winning two that same year, first at the Honda Classic and then at the Barclays where he sank a 66 foot eagle putt on the last hole to beat Jim Furyk by one shot. But all of this paled in comparison when Padraig finally realised his Major dream by winning a play-off at Adare Manor against Bradley Dredge. He was the first European to win a major since Paul Lawrie in 1999 and the first Irishman to win the Open since Fred Daly in 1947.
Kevin Streelman was born in a Western suburb of Chicago called Wheaton, Illinois. He drifted between sports before finally settling onto golf, and it wasn’t until his freshman year of high school that he decided golf was to be taken seriously in his life. What followed was a string of strong showings in national junior tournaments, which quickly drew the attention of college coaches. He graduated from Duke University in 2001.
2007 would be the break out year for Kevin, who had worked tirelessly for 6 years in order to gain some recognition that was good enough to be considered a serious golfer. After three wins and a successful year on the mini tours in 2007, Kevin earned his PGA Tour card through the 2007 qualifying school. He then enjoyed an exciting rookie year, with four top-10 finishes and a 35th place finish in the FedEx Cup.
This paved the way for Kevin’s win of the 2009 Kodak Challenge in his sophomore year. He further improved his standings on tour in 2010 with seven top-10 finishes and a 25th place finish in the FedEx Cup.
It was in 1999 that Paul Lawrie’s career was transformed. After a fine victory at the Qatar Masters, which is a European Tour event, early in the season, he then went on to win the 1999 Open Championship at Carnoustie in July. He came back from the largest third-round deficit ever faced by a major championship winner; going into the final day, he trailed the leader, Van de Velde, by 10 shots. This is also the record for the biggest final-round comeback on the PGA Tour.
Lawrie’s game then shifted up a gear following his major victory. He finished 9th on the European Tour Order of Merit in 1999; then finished 6th in 2001 after winning the lucrative Dunhill Links Championship, before finishing 10th in 2002 when he won his fifth European title at the Wales Open.
Lawrie was a member of the PGA Tour for several seasons after winning the Open, and when his five-year major championship exemption expired at the end of 2004 season, he lost his PGA Tour card. Lawrie was the last European to win a major until 2007 when the drought was lifted by Padraig Harrington of Ireland in The Open Championship. He is still the last player from Scotland to win a major, and at the 2009 Open Championship Lawrie scored what is believed to be only the eighth albatross (double eagle) in the competition's 150-year history.
Ricky Barnes grew up in Stockton, California and played collegiate golf at the University of Arizona. His father Bruce played American football for the New England Patriots and his brother Andy was also one of the standout collegiate golfers at the same university. Ricky’s brilliant amateur career included four-time All-American honours at the University of Arizona, US amateur Champion in 2002 and winner of the prestigious Ben Hogan Award, which is given annually to the nation’s top collegiate golfer.
After his impressive US Amateur victory, Ricky captured low amateur honors at the 2003 Masters finishing 21st and outscoring his playing partner Tiger Woods in the first round by 7 shots. He turned pro in 2004 and enjoyed great success on the Nationwide Tour setting a Tour record of 23 consecutive cuts made. Ricky finished 25th on the Nationwide Tour Money List in 2008 earning his PGA Tour card. Ricky’s rookie season on the PGA Tour included a standout performance at the 2009 US Open at Bethpage Black where he finished tied for second.