Altvater: Who will be the next American golfer to win a major?Written by Fred Altvater | | BackNine@toledofreepress.com
With Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson winning major titles, who will be the next American golfer to win a major?
Of course Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson are the obvious answers to this question, but what other players on the PGA Tour have the game to win on golf’s biggest stage?
At age 45, Steve Stricker is still seeking his first major. He is still playing at a very competitive level, but time may be passing him by.
Brandt Snedeker had a very big finish to the year in 2012. In his attempt to qualify for the Ryder Cup team he finished second in the Barclays and sixth in the Deutsche Bank both FedEx Cup Playoff events. He then went on to win the Tour Championship and the $10 million that goes along with the FedEx Cup.
Snedeker also had a T-3 at the Open Championship at Royal Lytham last year. If he can stay healthy his putter makes him a contender to win a major.
Dustin Johnson has flirted with a major win in the past. In the 2010 U.S. Open he took a three-shot lead into the final round at Pebble Beach and proceeded to shoot an 82 to eventually finish T-8.
Later that year he had a one-shot lead standing on the final hole in the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. An unfortunate incident with a bunker ensued earning him a two-shot penalty and dropped him to T-5.
He also had a T-2 in the 2011 Open Championship and T-9 last year at Royal Lytham.
DJ has the length and talent to win multiple majors. If he continues to put himself in contention he will get his major.
Although Rickie Fowler has the flash and game to be very successful on the PGA Tour, he only has one win. He has one top-10 finish in the 12 majors that he has played: a T-5 in the 2011 Open Championship.
Fowler is still very young and has the all-around game to win majors. Maybe his first regular tour win last year at Greensboro will help him perform at a higher level in future majors.
Nick Watney finished seventh in the 2010 Masters and T-7 in the 2010 Open Championship later that year. He has not had a top-10 finish in a major since then.
Watney has won on great golf courses. He won the 2011 AT&T National at Aaronimink, the 2011 WGC-Cadillac at Doral and the 2012 Barclays at Bethpage. Those are very impressive events and difficult golf courses.
He is switching to all Nike equipment in 2013. Will new clubs and balls derail his major hopes or help him get his first major?
Jason Dufner has been one of the best golfers in the world over the past 18 months. He followed up his runner-up at the 2011 PGA Championship with two wins and a second place finish on tour in 2012.
His work ethic, steady demeanor and solid iron game make him a serious contender whenever he plays.
Dufner has performed very well with three top-10 finishes in his last nine majors. Look for him to be holding a major trophy soon.
Matt Kuchar is one of the most consistent golfers on the PGA Tour. He has worked to develop a golf swing that produces quality shots. Perhaps his putting needs refining, but he is always a threat.
Kuchar’s biggest win thus far was the 2012 Players Championship, but he also has four top-10 finishes in all four majors over the past three years.
If he can drop one or two more putts look for Kuchar to win a major.
Bo Van Pelt is an unassuming player who may not realize just how good he really is. He had ten top-10 finishes in 2012 and posts a top-10 in nearly 25 percent of all of the tournaments in which he has ever made the cut.
He has earned nearly $18 million in his career and has wins on the PGA, Asian, European and Australasian Tours.
A T-8 in the 2011 Masters is his lone top-10 in a major, however.
Van Pelt just needs to find a little confidence because he is a solid player who has the ability and talent to win a major before his career is over.
Bill Haas and Hunter Mahan are two more names that could pick up major wins in the near future but they have fallen outside of the Top-25 on the OWGR.
These Americans will provide the competition to a strong group of Europeans and international players in the world of golf.