Australian PGA Championship 2013. Royal Pines Golf Course, Gold Coast Queensland.
Rickie Fowler

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

Odds: $1.33

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

Odds: $1.80

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

Odds: $2

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

Odds: $2.25

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

Odds: $2.50

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

Odds: $2.50

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

Odds: $2.50

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

Odds: $2.75

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

Odds: $2.75

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

Odds: $2.50

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

Odds: $3

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

Odds: $3

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

Odds: $7

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

Odds: $4

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

Odds: $2.50

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

Odds: $3

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

Odds: $3.50

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

Odds: $6

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

Odds: $6

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

Odds: $7

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

Odds: $7

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

Odds: $8

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

Odds: $9

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

Odds: $11

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

Odds: $11

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

Odds: $11

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




About David Newbery

Chief writer David Newbery has been living, breathing and writing and editing golf for more than 30 years. His extensive knowledge of the game comes from covering golf around the world. Hired by Inside Golf in 2009, David previously worked as the editor of The Golfer for 25 years and before that worked for numerous daily newspapers in Australia and overseas. The Brisbane-based journalist describes his golf game as “a work in progress”, but has had the privilege of playing golf with some of the game’s best players including nine-time major winner Gary Player. David enjoys travelling, reading, music, photography and spending time with family and friends – on and off the golf course.


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