Predicting the Next Golfers to Become Multiple Major Winners
Golfers who win one major championship are obviously viewed differently than those who do not.
Golfers who win more than one major are looked at even more differently than the one-timers.
That second major title is something of a validation of that first one, even though a golfer who is able to persevere through everything required to win a major really doesn't need it. It's just how the world of golf looks at things and how one-shot wonders are separated from real champions.
Here's a list of seven players who could be the next to become multiple winners of major championships.
It would seem there have been a couple of moments that could have, and should have, jump-started Keegan Bradley to the next level of PGA Tour stars.
The first came in 2011 when he came from behind in the closing holes of the PGA Championship to tie and then beat Jason Dufner in a playoff. That was his first major title, and because of the way he plays the game—driving it long and aggressively playing iron shots—he seemed a likely candidate to add more championship hardware to his mantle.
The second came in the Ryder Cup in 2012 when he was paired with Phil Mickelson a few times, a pairing that resulted in inspired play and great confidence from both players.
Neither has resulted in a second major for Bradley, but he's certainly on the list of those with the best shot of getting that second.
Jason Dufner recovered well enough from his stunning loss to Bradley in 2011 to get his own PGA Championship title, playing very well at Oak Hill Country Club last August to win.
Maybe he's having a PGA Championship hangover, but he's done very little since then in terms of contending. In eight events this season, he's had three top-10s: a fifth and two T9s. He missed the cut at his first major since the PGA, the Masters.
He has that low-key personality that makes it difficult to determine when he's actually connected, but there is talent somewhere behind that expressionless look.
Dufner is 171st in strokes gained putting, and when he gets that squared away, he'll be on the first page of the leaderboard again.
Charl Schwartzel was a key figure in one of the most exciting Masters finishes in recent history.
Starting the final round four shots out of the lead, the South African native put together a stirring back nine that included birdies on the last four holes. That helped him defeat Australians Jason Day and Adam Scott and put on one of the coveted green jackets.
Schwartzel has been largely ineffective in the majors since then and, as a matter of fact, hasn't won again on the PGA Tour since the 2011 Masters. He's made a lot of money but hasn't been a serious contender.
He's only 29 and really hasn't been plagued by injuries, other than a torn abdomen he suffered at the 2012 U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco.
It has been long believed that England's Justin Rose was far too good to have never won a major.
He ended all of that talk with his victory last June at the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club.
A shoulder injury has held him back post-U.S. Open, but he tied for 14th at the Masters and, at age 33, will definitely be in major championship discussions for quite a while.
If he could get his game into the kind of shape it was at Merion last year, a place like Pinehurst No. 2, where this year's Open will be held, could be a very nice fit.
Webb Simpson knows what it takes to win a major championship. He won the 2012 U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco by being the only one in the final 18 players off the tee to play his round under par.
This year, he's eighth in strokes gained putting and fifth in birdie average, but wasn't a factor in any of the majors last year and missed the cut at this year's Masters. He's made over $4 million in the last two years thanks to 10 top-10 finishes in that time.
Simpson is only 28, meaning there's plenty of time for him to add to his major championship total.
There were plenty of reasons to believe that Adam Scott was going to become the first player to successfully defend a Masters title since Tiger Woods did it in 2000-01.
Scott had been playing well for quite a while and had the maturity and professional experience to know how to do what was necessary when the Masters heat kicked in. But it didn't happen this year, as he tied for 14th.
The man's swing is too good—his game is too good—for him not to get a second, third or who know's however many more major titles.
Count on it.
In 2007, Zach Johnson won the Masters in something of an unusual way. He didn't go for any of Augusta National's critical par fives over the four days of the tournament and won by two shots.
He defied the standing logic that said players have to dominate the par fives to be able to be fitted for a green jacket. Normally, dominating those holes means going for those greens in two and getting chances at eagles. Johnson laid up, however, on every one and finished the week 11 under par on the par fives.
It certainly didn't hurt him that his driving accuracy was second-best in the tournament.
Johnson has won seven times since his Masters triumph. He's played well this year, winning the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in January and has won over $2 million already.
Pinehurst No. 2 could be a good U.S. Open site for him.
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