Golf: The 3 players most likely to win their first major in 2020

Our golf expert David Kristiansen has used this enforced hiatus to look at some of the contenders for the top prizes when the players finally return to the course.

David Kristiansen

The Covid-19 virus has put the season on hold for the time being and as of now everything up until the PGA Championship in the middle of May is either postponed or canceled.

But hopefully, we can continue the season at some point over the summer and when we do get back to less serious matters like golf, we will once again start counting the days to the next major.

Bay Hill, Torrey Pines and The Players are all great tournaments, but we, of course, know that the only thing that really matters is the majors.

So, who are the three guys who in my opinion is most likely to get added to the list that includes Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Jack Nicklaus and Lucas Glover?

You know the world isn’t fair when Lucas Glover has more majors than Colin Montgomery, Ricky Fowler, Matt Kuchar and Lee Westwood combined!

Sungjae Im

Im Honda Classic

This unscheduled break came at an adverse time for most, but none worse than last year’s rookie of the year Sungjae Im.

The South Korean finally got his maiden victory at The Honda Classic and followed that up with a 3rd place finish at Bay Hill in the last tournament that finished.

As all South Koreans, there is added pressure on Sungjae in the majors since winning one of the four big ones would get him out of the two-year mandatory military service that all South Koreans must do.

Strengths:

  • Well-rounded game. He gains substantially in all major categories.
  • His love of the game. Nobody in the top 50 in the world plays as much as him, since the start of last season he has 49 PGA tour starts, in comparison, Rory has 25 and Justin Thomas has 28.

Weakness:

  • The pressure. In addition to the looming military service, he will have the eyes of a golf crazed nation on him. And while the South Korean women racks up majors left and right, Y.E Yang’s legendary takedown of Tiger at Hazeltine in 2009 remains the only major on the men’s side.

Major most likely to win:

US Open

He is a ball-striking phenom and has proved over the past two tournaments with a win and a 3rd that he thrives in the tough scoring conditions and we all know that the USGA loves to set the U.S Open courses really tough with the Korean priced at 81.00* to take the spoils at Winged Foot in 2020.

 Bryson Dechambeau

Bryson DeChambeau

Yes, the science, the same length clubs, the bulking up and the slow play can be a little much and while I understand why some can’t seem to warm to him.

But let’s face it, it’s never boring with Bryson and if it’s one thing that the sport needs in a post-Tiger era its interesting characters and Dechambeau is nothing if not that – he is also one hell of a golfer having won on the PGA Tour five times in just over three years.

And the bulking up has made a difference as he has gained an additional .6 strokes off the tee per round this season compared to last.

Strength:

  • Search for perfection. If its an edge to be had Bryson will try to get it no matter what.

Weakness:

  • His major record. while he has won 5 times none of them have been a winning score higher than -15 and as we know majors are often won in the single digits. He has yet to produce a single top 10 in a major with his T15 in the 2016 U.S Open still being his best result.

Major most likely to win:

The PGA Championship

With his newfound distance off the tee and it being the major that most often feels like a regular tour event set up vice it should for now suit Bryson the best, but I have a sneaky suspicion that we are talking about a 3+ major champion when he gets all his calculations in order.

 Jon Rahm

Jon Rahm

Its hardly stepping out on a ledge to have the number two ranked player in the world on a list like this so will keep this short.

As the only one, he ranks in the top 5 both off the tee and putting this season, a combination that wins you tournaments and its just a matter of time before one of those is a major.

Strengths:

  • Since 2017 he has won 9 times on the PGA and the European tour.
  • He has ranked in the top 6 tee to green in 3 of his 4 seasons on the PGA tour and the year he didn’t he was still ranked 28th.
  • Contention experience. He has a top 10 in each of the four majors in the last two seasons.

Weakness:

  • None and especially not his temper. Rahm has been criticized for running a little hot at times as if this is something negative, I see this as a net positive and something he will get better and better at harnessing to drive him to victories in the years to come.

Major most likely to win:

The Open Championship

He can win everywhere but he seems to love links golf and as the winner of the Irish Open two of the last three years I must pick the oldest of the major championships as the Spaniard’s breakthrough who can now be backed at 15.00* to lift the Claret Jug at Royal St George’s in July.

 

* Odds subject to change

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