PGA Championship 2012: 5 Unknown Talents Guaranteed to Capture Their First Major
First off, what makes a player unknown? For our argument let's say it's a guy who, though you may have heard of him somehow, hasn't done anything spectacular over the course of his career.
Second, are we saying more than one player is going to win the 2012 PGA Championship? Of course not!
What we are simply saying is there are a handful of players playing in this year's final major who will, at one time or another, grip and raise one of the four greatest trophies in golf (and if it's the Masters, they'll get to wear a pretty nifty green jacket).
These are a group of players who are all relatively low in the World Golf Rankings but have shown signs at some point of eventually breaking through in a major.
After his remarkable first two rounds at Royal Lytham last month in the British Open, it's possible that Brandt Snedeker no longer fits the bill of "unknown."
Even using our criteria that it is someone who hasn't done anything spectacular is a bit of a misnomer, given how well he played those first two days.
But the former Georgia Bulldog has not won a major and his best finish is tying for third at this year's Open Championship and the 2008 Masters.
In fact, the 31-year-old has only won three times on the PGA Tour and despite his recent success, he came in at No. 25 in the most recent World Golf Rankings.
So he most definitely still qualifies as a player of relative anonymity. But he, perhaps more than anyone on this list, has shown an ability to play well in major championships, which should eventually lead to a win.
Bo Van Pelt
Bo Van Pelt is another golfer you have probably heard of, but you were probably unaware that he is the No. 27 player in the world.
Van Pelt is 37 years old, which doesn't exactly work in his favor in terms of becoming a major champion in the future. His best bet to win one would probably be in the next year or two.
That is hard to imagine given his one career PGA win and the fact he's never placed higher than eighth in a major championship.
But he averages 297.4 yards per drive, is 47th in driving accuracy, 28th in greens in regulation at just over 66 percent and, perhaps most importantly, ninth in putting strokes gained.
Those all tend to be huge in major championships. If he can harness all that for a full week soon, he could pull off a major upset. Heck, let's say he will.
Nicolas Colsaerts was an unknown to the max until the past two majors when he made a little noise. In the U.S. Open he ended up finishing 27th but not before making a slight run.
Then, in the British Open, he finished tied for seventh. He has nine professional wins, none of which have been on the PGA Tour. He's more unknown among U.S. golf fans than in the world.
He is 34th in the world, and at just 28 years of age he figures to be coming into his prime.
The Belgium native is one of the best ball strikers in the world, and that alone gives him a tremendous opportunity to be in contention at any major.
Don't be surprised if Colsaerts comes up victorious in one of the next five majors (through the end of 2013). His game is made for major championships.
Simon Dyson is No. 42 in the World Golf Rankings. He has nine professional wins. He's finished in the top 10 of two major championships.
Yet, unless you are a die-hard golf fan you probably don't know his name.
The numbers above ought to prove Dyson is capable of winning a major championship. Add to it the fact he is younger than Lee Westwood (Westwood is 37, Dyson 34) and it starts to seem more likely Dyson will break the English major curse that has existed for so long.
Of course, Luke Donald and Justin Rose may also have something to say about that. And it's not as if Westwood's age is a prohibitive factor.
It's only to say that Dyson is beginning to peak, and that should lead to a major victory in the next couple years.
I can confidently say that you've heard of Aaron Baddeley. He's the American-born Australian who lives in the U.S. He's also the 46th ranked player in the world.
And he's regularly praised by experts as a phenom who is bound to win major after major. Or at the very least to become one of the world's best players.
He's still relatively young by golf standards (31), but he only has three career PGA wins. He does have 33 career top 10 finishes, and the talent he is praised for clearly exists.
Baddeley simply needs to put it all together for four days and he should be a major champion.
As is true for all these guys, and golfers worldwide, that's a lot easier said than done.