Who Can End England's Wait for Major in Golf?

Aaron GalesCorrespondent IIMarch 19, 2013

Who Can End England's Wait for Major in Golf?

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    Ever since Nick Faldo won the last of his six majors in 1996, England has produced some great golfers. However, despite some near misses, an Englishman hasn't really come close to following in the footsteps of Faldo.

    Could this change in 2013? In this article I will analyse the big four players and their chances of winning their first majors.

Lee Westwood

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    Westwood has always looked the most likely to follow in Faldo's footsteps and become a major winner. He has finished inside the top three of all four major competitions and has finished runner-up at The Masters and The Open in 2010.

    Although he did manage to climb to the top of the World Rankings, he has been unable to win one of the four trophies that he craves more than anything.

    His move across the pond is an encouraging sign. It suggests that he has not given up hope and is trying new things to continue to improve, rather than allow his game to decline. He can also take hope from, his friend, Darren Clarke's Open triumph in 2011.

    He still has the talent to win on the biggest stage. If his short game can match his performance off the tee, he can be unbeatable on his day. However, at this stage of his career, the clock is ticking.

Luke Donald

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    After recovering from a wrist injury that kept him out for much of the 2008 season, Luke Donald embarked on the best four-year period of his career.

    This saw him rise to claim the No. 1 ranking, win tournaments on both sides of the Atlantic and become the first player ever to win the money list on both tours in the same calendar year.

    However, throughout that whole period, he was unable to mount a challenge at any of the major tournaments. Unlike his compatriot Westwood, he has never really come close to claiming one of the games biggest prizes.

    He has finished in the top ten of all but one of the big four but has never troubled the leaders. His pattern is normally to have a brilliant final round that shoots him up the final standings.

    Over the past couple of years, Donald has proven himself more than capable of winning, but, for whatever reason, his game often goes to pieces on the biggest occasion. It is strange, as he doesn't seem like the kind of character to be bothered by the size of the tournament, as his excellent performances in the Ryder Cup over the years have proven.

    I'd like him to prove me wrong, but in my opinion Donald just lacks the long game in order to challenge people like Rory McIlroy.

Ian Poulter

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    Although Poulter has never reached the lofty heights in the world rankings as Westwood and Donald, I make him the most likely candidate to follow in the footsteps of Nick Faldo.

    He made a late heroic charge to take the lead in the Open in 2008, but was pipped by Padraig Harrington who was in the form of his life during that period. He enjoyed a couple of solid performances in the majors, finishing seventh and third in the Masters and PGA Championship, respectively, in 2012.

    The highlight of his year, though, was his extraordinary performance in the Ryder Cup, where he inspired a remarkable comeback by Team Europe to defeat the Americans on the final day.

    He is a brilliant putter and seems to thrive when he has a chance of winning. If Poulter could get himself into a position after three rounds with a chance of victory, my money would be on him getting the job done.

    If the weather conditions hold for him, he would be among my favourites for both the Masters and the Open Championship in 2013.

Justin Rose

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    Perhaps the closest Rose has come to winning a major was when he burst onto the scene as an amateur at the Open Championship in 1998. Rose finished fourth after a dramatic shot from the rough for birdie on the 18th.

    After turning professional the following day, he suffered a wretched start to life on the tour by missing the cut in his first 21 consecutive events.

    Eventually, though, he found the form that catapulted him into the public eye, and he has now finished in the top five of all major competitions. He won The European Order of Merit in 2007 and has a highest world ranking of number four, achieved late in 2012.

    Can he win a major? In my opinion, he will. He has all the skills needed, has no obvious weakness and at the age of 32 he still has plenty of time on his side. 2013 could be his year.