WELL, you can take US Masters champion Danny Willett off the list, but who will be the next player to join the elite “major winners’ club”?
Ten years ago, a betting person would have backed Sergio Garcia, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson, Brandt Snedeker and even natty dresser Ian Poulter to win at least one of golf’s majors.
Today, they are among a group known as “best player never to have won a major”.
The phrase has been around for donkey’s years and was associated with Adam Scott, Jason Day, Justin Rose and to a lesser extent Danny Willett until they broke through the major barrier.
Anyway, Inside Golf asked UBET’s Gerard Daffy to compile the odds about the players most likely to win one of the four majors in the next five years.
A decade ago, experts tipped Garcia as a future great of the game and had him earmarked as a definite major winner just as they are with Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson today.
So far, the Spaniard has failed to deliver.
If you think Garcia will win a major before the end of 2020 you can back him in at $3.
If you think the odds are rather short, remember he has 19 more shots at a major.
For example, Garcia is a $41 chance to win the US Open this month so divide that by 19 – that is how many majors there are between this month’s US Open and the 2020 US PGA – and you are close to the odds pegged by Ubet.
Of course, the Americans believe Rickie Fowler is a shoe-in to join Spieth, Day and McIlroy as the “next big star” and that’s why he is $1.33.
For the record, the past five years have produced no fewer than 13 first time major winners – Willett, Scott, Charl Schwartzel, Bubba Watson, Spieth, McIlroy, Webb Simpson, Justin Rose, Louis Oosthuizen, Day, Darren Clarke, Jason Dufner and Keegan Bradley.
Interestingly, only four of them were over the age of 30 – Scott, Watson, Rose and Clarke, who was 42 when he won the Open Championship in 2011.
It’s been said golf today is a young person’s game so who will be the next young gun to win a major and will five years be long enough for the likes of Fowler, Hideki Matsuyama and Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick?
Remember, Tiger is no longer the man to beat. Today it’s Day, Spieth and McIlroy and if their health, and interest, holds up they are going to be around for a while yet.
If Fowler’s odds are too short for your liking then why not take a punt on Rafael Cabrara Bello ($11), Kevin Na ($9), Charley Hoffman ($7), Bryson DeChambeau ($7) or Shane Lowry ($6).
My hard-earned is on DeChambeau. He has the confidence and the game to win a major before the end of 2020 … to be sure.
Rickie Fowler, 27
Credentials: Six professional wins world-wide including the 2015 Players Championship
Best finish in a major: T2 in 2014 Open and US Open
Has the game and should get a start in all the majors and that’s why Ubet has him the shortest priced favourite. With five top-5s in the majors in recent years, he is a good chance to win a major in the next five years.
Dustin Johnson, 31
Credentials: Eleven professional wins including nine on the PGA Tour
Best finish in a major: T2 in the 2011 Open Championship and T2 in the 2015 US Open
A big-hitter and can generate excitement but often gets twitchy under pressure.
Branden Grace, 28
Credentials: 13 professional wins – one on the PGA Tour, seven on the European Tour and five on the Sunshine Tour. At the 2015 Presidents Cup, Grace, representing the Internationals, returned a perfect record of 5–0–0
Best finish in a major: Third in the 2015 US PGA
The South African looks most likely and has that ingrained gritty determination.
Brandt Snedeker, 35
Credentials: The 2012 FedEx Cup winner has 11 professional wins (eight on the PGA Tour)
Best finish in a major: T3 in 2008 Masters and T3 2012 Open
A consistently good putter, he’s also deadly accurate from 120-150m. He’s one of the more likely hopes.
Hideki Matsuyama, 24
Credentials: Eight pros wins – two on the PGA Tour
Best finish in a major: T4 in 2013 US Open
From Japan, Matsuyama looks capable.
Henrik Stenson, 40
Credentials: 17 professional wins including the 2007 WGC Accenture Match Play Championship
Best finish in a major: Runner-up in 2013 Open Championship
The Swede and former world number two is a quality player who has been on the brink of a major title finishing top-5 seven times, but his chances are slipping away.
Patrick Reed, 25
Credentials: He has won four times on the PGA Tour
Best finish in a major: T14 in the 2015 US Open
The world number 10 is on the way up, but needs to relax around major tournaments.
Jimmy Walker, 37
Credentials: Eight pro victories – five on the PGA Tour
Best finish in a major: T7 in the 2014 US PGA Championship
An under-rated player, Walker should not be underestimated.
Matt Kuchar, 37
Credentials: 12 professional wins (seven on the PGA Tour)
Best finish in a major: T3 in the 2012 Masters
He’s still a chance, but distance off the tee remains his Achilles heel.
Marc Leishman, 32
Credentials: Nine pro wins including the 2015 Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa
Best finish in a major: T2 in the 2015 Open Championship
The strong-hitting Victorian, who modelled his game after Ernie Els, has the form and right attitude.
Sergio Garcia, 36
Credentials: 28 wins world-wide including eight on the PGA Tour and 11 on the European Tour
Best finish in a major: Runner-up in the 1999 US PGA and the 2007 Open Championship
Capable, but chances less likely against the current crop of players.
Paul Casey, 38
Credentials: 16 professional wins mostly on the European Tour, but did win the Shell Open on the PGA Tour in 2009
Best finish in a major: T3 in the 2010 Open Championship
The Englishman is going okay and has the game to succeed.
Bill Haas, 33
Credentials: Seven pro wins – six on the PGA Tour
Best finish in a major: T12 in the 2011 US PGA
The American has never really threatened in a major. His best days could be behind him.
Lee Westwood, 42
Credentials: 42 professional wins world-wide including the 1997 Australian Open
Best finish in a major: Runner-up in 2010 Masters
Proved he is still a chance after finishing in a tie for second at the 2016 Masters. He’s on the wrong side of 40.
Brooks Koepka, 26
Credentials: Six pros wins – one on PGA Tour
Best finish in a major: T4 in 2014 US Open
The big-hitting American is a strong chance.
Matthew Fitzpatrick, 21
Credentials: Won the 2015 British Masters
Best finish in a major: T7 in this year’s US Masters
Boom youngster … a major win would be no surprise.
Kevin Kisner, 32
Credentials: Seven pro wins
Best finish in a major: T12 in 2015 US Open
A good chance, but not if there’s a playoff where he is 0-3.
Hunter Mahan, 34
Credentials: Nine pro wins – six on the PGA Tour
Best finish in a major: T4 in 2013 US Open
Seems to go missing when it counts
Shane Lowry, 29
Credentials: Three pro wins – one on the PGA Tour
Best finish in a major: T9 2014 Open and T9 2015 US Open
The Irishman has two top-10s so must be a show.
Bryson DeChambeau, 22
Credentials: In 2015, he became the fifth golfer in history to win both the NCAA Division 1 Championship and the US Amateur in the same year
Best finish in a major: T21 in 2016 Masters
Promising start to career – a big possibility
Danny Lee, 24
Credentials: The Kiwi has three pro wins including one on the PGA Tour. Won the 2008 US Amateur
Best finish in a major: T17 in 2016 Masters
Would like to say yes, but a rung below the best players.
Jamie Donaldson, 40
Credentials: Eight professional wins
Best finish in a major: T7 in 2012 US PGA
The Welshman arguably lacks the skills to win a major.
Kevin Na, 32
Credentials: Five pro wins – one on PGA Tour
Best finish in a major: T10 in 2010 US PGA
We are yet to see his best form. His PGA Tour playoff record is 0-3
Cameron Smith, 22
Credentials: Strong amateur record with an Australian stroke play and matchplay title under his belt
Best finish in a major: T4 in 2015 US Open
Perhaps just short of the top rung … will improve.
Ian Poulter, 40
Credentials: 16 pro wins including the WGC Accenture Match Play in 2010
Best finish in a major: Runner-up in the 2008 Open Championship
The Englishman looks like he has missed his opportunity.
Rafael Cabrera Bello, 32
Credentials: Five professional wins – none in the US
Best finish in a major: T17 in 2016 Masters
Right now, the Spaniard is just below the top level.
How the main contenders finished in the past four majors
Name US Open Open US PGA Masters 5-year odds
Rickie Fowler MC T30 T30 MC $1.33
Dustin Johnson T2 T49 T7 T4 $1.80
Branden Grace T20 T4 3 MC $2
Henrik Stenson 9 T13 T6 T24 $2.50
Patrick Reed T14 T20 T30 T49 $2.50
Marc Leishman MC T2 MC MC $2.50
Hideki Matsuyama T18 T18 T37 T7 $2.50
Brandt Snedeker 8 MC T12 T10 $2.25
Jimmy Walker T58 T30 MC T29 $2.75
Matt Kuchar T12 T58 T7 T24 $2.75
Sergio Garcia T18 T6 T54 T34 $3
Paul Casey T39 T74 T30 T4 $3
Matthew Fitzpatrick DNP DNP DNP T7 $3
Kevin Kisner T12 MC MC T37 $3.50
Lee Westwood T50 T49 T43 T2 $4
JB Holmes T27 MC 24 T4 $4
Luke Donald T58 T12 T43 DNQ $6
Shane Lowry T9 MC MC T39 $6
Hunter Mahan MC T49 T43 54 $6
Bryson DeChambeau MC DNP DNP T21 $7
Charley Hoffman MC MC MC T29 $7
Bill Haas MC MC T65 T24 $7
Danny Lee DNP T6 T58 T51 $7
Russell Knox DNP MC MC MC $7
Jamie Donaldson MC T4 WD T21 $8
Kevin Na T46 T58 MC T55 $9
Cameron Smith T4 DNP T25 T55 $11
Rafael Cabrera Bello DNP T40 MC T17 $11
Ian Poulter T54 MC MC T49 $11