Cameron Young is the new "eternal second"

For American golfer Cameron Young, the recent Valspar Championship brought with it an ambivalent outcome

by Andrea Gussoni
Cameron Young is the new "eternal second"
© Getty Images Sport - Richard Heathcote / Staff

In golf, as in any other sport, the possibility of setting a record, whether positive or negative, always looms in the background of athletic performance. For American golfer Cameron Young, the recent Valspar Championship brought with it an ambivalent outcome.

Cameron Young, results

Young finished the tournament behind Peter Malnati, who edged him out by two strokes, earning a prize of $915,000. His performance propelled him from 46th to 20th place in the FedEx Cup standings, a positive result in terms of rankings.

However, the true focus of discussion was the record Young established, which did not bring happiness to the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year 2022. For Young, it marked the seventh time he had placed second in a PGA Tour event without ever clinching victory.

This series of runner-up finishes began in 2021 with the Sanderson Farms Championship, and throughout 2022 and 2023, Young secured second place in four other tournaments, including the Genesis Invitational, Wells Fargo Championship, The Open Championship, and the Rocket Mortgage Classic in 2022, as well as the Dell Technologies Match Play in 2023.

Young's second-place finish at the Valspar Championship saw him set a record that had endured since 1983, notably achieving this feat with four rounds under par, the only player in the entire field to do so. Golf is a game imbued with mystery, and often victory comes only after a succession of disappointments or honorable placements.

Keep playing, Cameron, because just as a birdie can follow seven double bogeys, so too can victory follow seven second-place finishes. In late July 2020, Cameron Young qualified for the Korn Ferry Tour's Pinnacle Bank Championship through Monday qualifying and impressively tied for 11th place, granting him entry into the subsequent event.

His consistent performance continued with four finishes of 16th or better, including a tie for second at the Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship. These strong showings earned him enough points to attain special temporary membership for the remainder of the 2020–21 season.

By the end of May 2021, he showcased his talent by clinching back-to-back tournament victories, ultimately finishing 19th on the regular-season points list and securing a PGA Tour card for the 2021–22 season. In February 2022, Young's ascent continued as he tied for second at the prestigious Genesis Invitational, propelling him into the top 100 of the Official World Golf Ranking.

His success carried into May 2022, where he tied for third at the 2022 PGA Championship. Notably, at the 2022 Open Championship, Young emerged as the leader after the first round with an impressive bogey-free score of 64 (8 under par).

Despite a valiant effort, he finished one stroke behind the winner, Cameron Smith, after eagling the final hole in the last round. Later in September 2022, Young was honored with selection for the U.S. team in the 2022 Presidents Cup, contributing with one win, one tie, and two losses in the four matches he played.

Subsequently, he secured the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year award (Arnold Palmer Award) with an overwhelming 94% of the vote. In March 2023, Young made a strategic decision to change caddies, enlisting the services of Paul Tesori, who previously worked with Webb Simpson.

Their partnership began with a notable performance, with Young finishing as the runner-up in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, narrowly losing 6 and 5 to Sam Burns in the final match. Continuing his strong form, the following month saw Young secure a tie for seventh place at the prestigious Masters Tournament.

Cameron Young