Rickie Fowler

Age: 22. Home town: Murrieta, Calif.

Worldwide wins/ World ranking: 0/48

Best 2011 finish: 8, WGC-Cadillac Championship

Best U.S. Open finish: T60, 2008

Wondering why all those kids at the course are wearing bright orange (or pink, or turquoise, or green) Puma hats with flat brims, maybe even with matching shirts and pants? That would be because of Fowler, the immensely talented Oklahoma State product who was the PGA Tour's rookie of the year in 2010 and is already one of its most marketable figures. The problem: Fowler hasn't yet won. Worse: He has just one top-10 finish in a stroke-play event this year.

How he qualified: Top 30 money leaders from 2010 final PGA Tour money list, Top 50 leaders on World Golf Rankings as of May 23.

Ryo Ishikawa

Age: 19. Home town: Matsubushi, Japan

Worldwide wins/ World ranking: 9/53

Best 2011 finish: 2, Totoumi Hamamatsu Open

Best U.S. Open finish: T33, 2010

Want a glimpse at the future of golf? Follow Ishikawa for a few holes. In 2007, when he was 15, he won an event on the Japan Golf Tour. The following year, he turned pro, and he has swiftly become the best player on his home tour, winning nine times. Though he has struggled in most of his PGA Tour appearances — his tie for 20th at the Masters was his best finish in six events earlier this year — his following in Japan is unrivaled. And don't miss the head cover for his driver: A wild-haired caricature of himself.

How he qualified: Top 50 leaders on World Golf Rankings as of May 23.

Matteo Manassero

Age: 18. Home town: Verona, Italy

Worldwide wins/ World ranking: 2/30

Best 2011 finish: 1, Maybank Malay. Open

Best U.S. Open finish: Open debut

When Tom Watson played the first two rounds of the 2009 British Open with Manassero, who was just 16, he was impressed. "His putting stroke is so pure, those three-footers just go right in the middle of the hole," Watson said. "Bang." Manassero became the youngest winner in European Tour history last fall, then beat a strong field in April in Malaysia. This is just his third appearance in a major, his first at the Open. Many, many more will follow.

How he qualified: Top 50 leaders on World Golf Rankings as of May 23.

Alvaro Quiros

Age: 28. Hometown: San Roque, Spain

Worldwide wins/ World ranking: 5/25

Best 2011 finish: 1, Omega Dubai Desert Classic

Best U.S. Open finish: Missed cut, 2009-10

When Quiros is on the tee, head to the landing area, then walk 30 yards farther. You might then be arriving where his ball will plop down. The broad-shouldered Spaniard relinquished his status as the European Tour's longest driver (held from 2007-2009), but is back to averaging more than 314 yards per drive this season. Find Quiros when he's on a roll, and there's no more unassuming, smile-filled joyride in golf. Catch him early, though: Quiros has played in nine majors and only made three cuts.

How he qualified: Top 15 money leaders from 2010 PGA European Tour money list, Top five money leaders on 2011 PGA European Tour money list through May 23, Top 50 leaders on World Golf Rankings as of May 23.

Bubba Watson

Age: 32. Home town: Bagdad, Fla.

Worldwide wins/ World ranking: 3/12

Best 2011 finish: 1, Farmers Insurance Classic, Zurich Classic of New Orleans

Best U.S. Open finish: T5, 2007

A year ago, Watson would have been all but an afterthought at the Open. Now, after his first three PGA Tour victories, he is among the best American players in the game. He was already one of the most exciting to watch. Watson is 6 feet 3, left-handed, and can't hit the ball straight. Not that he's wild. Rather, he's one of the most creative shot-shapers on tour. "When I get to the golf course, I see shapes," he said. Find him behind a tree, then watch him hit a 40-yard cut to get around it.

How he qualified: Top 30 money leaders from 2010 final PGA Tour money list, 2010 Tour Championship qualifiers, Top 10 money leaders from 2011 PGA Tour money list through May 23, Multiple winner on PGA Tour between June 20 and June 12, Top 50 leaders on World Golf Rankings as of May 23.

See how he's played Congressional in the past

Profiles by Barry Srvluga - The Washington Post. Published June 8, 2011.