Stenson shouldn’t expect flurry of majors after Open triumph
These are heady days for first-time major winners, as Henrik Stenson became the latest in a precession of them at the Open Championship.
The Swede produced a spell-binding final round of 63 at Royal Troon to break his duck in the big four tournaments, but should savour the moment rather than dream of leapfrogging to further success.
That’s because a history of one-and-done major winners is emerging in golf, with a growing number of players unable to capitalise on the surge of momentum their first victory brings.
Starting with Trevor Immelman’s 2008 Masters success, there have been 21 first-time winners in the 35 editions of the Masters, US Open, Open and PGA Championship to date.
Only four of those players have gone on to add another grand slam title to their CV so far.
Martin Kaymer, Rory McIlroy, Bubba Watson and Jordan Spieth have all been able to add multiple majors to their haul, with the Northern Irishman the only one of the quadrant to win more than two titles.
Of the 17 other first-timers waiting to join that club, most have had trouble breaking back into the top-10, yet alone the winner’s circle.
Immelman, Lucas Glover, Stewart Cink, current Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke and 2012 US Open victor Webb Simpson have all failed to land a top-10 spot since their landmark wins.
YE Yang, who took the 2009 edition of the PGA Championship, registered two top-10s in the two seasons that followed his success, but hasn’t been back in that company since.
Jason Dufner, who won four years after Yang, went two seasons without featuring high up on a major leaderboard before tying for eighth at this year’s US Open. The 2010 winner of that event, Graeme McDowell, has three top 10s in 25 starts since.
Stenson, who moves up to number five in the world with his Troon success, will instead hope to follow in the footsteps of three first-time winners that have become perennial challengers.
After Adam Scott threw the major-title monkey off his back at the Masters in 2013, he has six top-10 finishes in the game’s four biggest tournaments in 14 attempts.
Similarly, Justin Rose’s game has not faltered following his maiden victory, in the 2013 US Open.
The Englishman has four top 10s in the last two seasons in major tournaments, while Jason Day, last year’s PGA Championship winner, has two in three starts this term.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.