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Golfers with the Best Chance to Win Their First Major in 2014

Mike DudurichContributor IFebruary 4, 2014

Golfers with the Best Chance to Win Their First Major in 2014

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    He's been close twice. It's time for Jason Day to win a major title.
    He's been close twice. It's time for Jason Day to win a major title.Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

    During Tiger Woods' era of domination, there really weren't all that many major championships to be won. When a man wins 14, that doesn't leave all that many for anyone else.

    That era, for the most part, seems to have passed. Woods has shown over the last few years that he's still a force to be dealt with, even though he hasn't been able to close.

    As a result, the door is open for more golfers now than at any time in the last 15 years.

    There are lots of players out there who have no major championship hardware in their possession.

    But the following list is made up of players who are ready to win a major.

    Check this out and see how many names you agree or disagree with.

Jordan Spieth

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    Last year's PGA Tour Rookie of the Year has all the game to win a major in 2014.
    Last year's PGA Tour Rookie of the Year has all the game to win a major in 2014.Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Jordan Spieth probably has the most pressure on him in terms of expectations for the 2014 season.

    That pressure comes from his spectacular rookie season last year, when he went from no status on any tour in January to being in serious contention for the Tour Championship on the final day and being selected to the United States team in the Presidents Cup.

    He has it all: game, patience, maturity and a fierce determination to not only compete, but win.

    There's a lot going on behind that calm, almost shy demeanor.

    Spieth is very capable of handling the pressure.

Jason Day

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    A win in a major will reflect very well on his place in the game.
    A win in a major will reflect very well on his place in the game.Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    Golf may be the most cruel of all sports. It teases those who play it with hope and great promise, but it offers guarantees of nothing.

    Jason Day is a great example of what golf can do. He finished in a tie for second and third in the 2011 and 2013 Masters; was second and a tie for second in the 2011 and 2013 U.S. Open; was tied for 10th and tied for eighth in the 2010 and 2013 PGA Championship.

    Oh, so close, but to this point, there's been no cigar for this extremely talented Australian. He had control of the Masters last year until making two bogeys in the final three holes.

    He didn't win a PGA Tour event last year, but he made $3.6 million and his statistics were very much what you'd expect from an elite player on the verge of taking the next big step.

     

Matt Kuchar

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    Matt Kuchar has been consistent for too long not to win a major in 2014.
    Matt Kuchar has been consistent for too long not to win a major in 2014.Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    There has been no more consistent golfer on the PGA Tour than Matt Kuchar over the last four years.

    Since 2010, the ever-smiling Kuchar has been an ATM, earning over $18 million. He won four times and registered 37 top-10 finishes.

    Obviously, he does a lot of things well and has won big tournaments: The Players Championship in 2012 and the World-Golf Championship-Match Play in 2013.

    He had his best year in 2013, winning twice, posting eight top-10s and earning $5.6 million.

    This guy is very ready to win a major title.

     

     

Ryan Moore

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    Improved putting has been one of the keys to Ryan Moore's re-emergence.
    Improved putting has been one of the keys to Ryan Moore's re-emergence.Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Few amateur golfers have ever experienced the kind of success Ryan Moore did in 2004.

    He won the U.S. Amateur, Western Amateur, U.S. Amateur Public Links and the NCAA Individual championships.

    And it was generally assumed that the young man from the state of Washington would continue that success once he transitioned to the PGA Tour.

    The only year he hasn't earned at least $1 million was his rookie year. He has amassed over $17 million in earnings in his career. But he's only had a pair of top-10s in 23 major championships.

    A hand injury that required surgery in 2006 slowed him somewhat, but he's off to a quick start in 2014.

    Don't be shocked to see him near the top of leaderboards this summer.

     

     

Graham DeLaet

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    Graham DeLaet is gaining notoriety for his game and flashy wardrobe.
    Graham DeLaet is gaining notoriety for his game and flashy wardrobe.Robert Laberge/Getty Images

    It's taken a while for Graham DeLaet to get everything together with his golf game, but now that he has, DeLaet has the look of a man made to win a very big golf tournament.

    He missed a considerable chunk of the 2011 season with a back injury, but then came back in 2012 and played on a Major Medical Exemption. He made 26 starts and made enough money to keep his PGA Tour card.

    DeLaet broke through in 2013. He played in his first major, finishing in a tie for 83rd in the British Open at Muirfield. He tied for second in the Barclays. His good year was rewarded with a somewhat surprising selection to the International team in the Presidents Cup where he played well.

    He was in contention last weekend in the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

    He has plenty of game, the kind of game that should play well in majors.

     

Henrik Stenson

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    Henrik Stenson is on the verge of breaking through.
    Henrik Stenson is on the verge of breaking through.Andrew Redington/Getty Images

    After dropping to nobody status in the Official World Golf Rankings, as in 223rd, Henrik Stenson rose to the pinnacle in worldwide golf after dominating the game in the second half of 2013.

    He finished in a tie for third in the Scottish Open, he was a runner-up to Phil Mickelson in the British Open and then three weeks later in the PGA Championship.

    If that wasn't enough, he won two of the four FedEx Cup playoff tournaments, including the Tour Championship.

    He won the $10 million bonus that goes with the FedEx Cup and also won the European Tour's Order of Merit.

    The man's game is filled with power and grace, always nice additions to a golfer's bag in a major.

Hunter Mahan

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    This is the year Hunter Mahan will have a big reason to smile.
    This is the year Hunter Mahan will have a big reason to smile.Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

    Hunter Mahan needs to win a major.

    Really needs to win a major.

    Mahan is too good of a player to be remembered for the infamous chip in the 2010 Ryder Cup, the one that occurred on the 17th hole on the final day.

    That could have been a deal-breaker for a lot of players, but Mahan has maintained his course and has become a power again on the PGA Tour.

    His game is solid, he tied for fourth at the U.S. Open and tied for ninth in the British Open.

    Mahan's time has come.

     

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