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Underdog Story: Why Unknown Major Champions Are Good For Golf

ST ANDREWS, SCOTLAND - JULY 18:  Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa celebrates his seven-stroke victory in the final round of the 139th Open Championship on the Old Course, St Andrews on July 18, 2010 in St Andrews, Scotland.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
David Cannon/Getty Images
John ThomasCorrespondent IJuly 28, 2010

Louis Oosthuizen. Graeme McDowell. Y.E. Yang.

These three players have won the three of the last four Major Championships in golf. Yang took home the 2009 PGA Championship after outlasting Tiger Woods in the final round.

Irishman Graeme McDowell won the 2010 U.S. Open, cruising to a victory on the final day.

Oosthuizen is the most recent Major champion, winning the 2010 Open Championship at St. Andrews by a whopping seven strokes.

These are all great stories to follow. However, in a poll conducted by Harris Interactive, Tiger Woods tied Kobe Bryant for the title of America's Favorite Sports Star. Americans still love Tiger, despite his recent transgressions and mistakes.

So, that poll result poses a question. Which is better for the sport of golf: An underdog Major winner or a popular Major winner?

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are two of the biggest American figures in golf. Many casual golf fans rally around these players whenever they are competitive in Major Championships.

However, isn't there a part of everyone that wants the underdog to win?

First of all, the story behind them is often inspirational. Louis Oosthuizen grew up poor and ended a champion. It also reveals one of the great facets of golf. On any given weekend, anyone can be a champion.

In addition, every great sports movie is centered around the underdog. Rocky, Rudy, and Hoosiers are all great movies centered around the story of an underdog.

Although some may like the great plays made by the favorites, golf needs unknowns to win tournaments. It keeps the game interesting and makes for a great story.

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