The men who can be Golf’s eighth-successive first-time Major winner
Among the many remarkable things about Brooks Koepka’s US Open victory last weekend, was the fact that the American was yet another first-time Major winner.
Koepka’s 16-under par win meant it was the seventh-straight Major to crown a debutant victor.
It’s a run the sport has never seen before, although there was a series of six new winners between 2002 and 2004.
Gone are the days when you could rely on Tiger Woods to win at least two of the big ones in any calendar year.
And new pretenders Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy can’t quite find that top-level consistency.
Plus, with so much quality throughout the field, it’s highly likely we’ll see yet another first-time Major winner next month at the Open Championships.
So, who might it be at Royal Birkdale?
Hideki Matsuyama – 16/1
The 22-year-old hit two of the rounds of the weekend at Erin Hills.
Few could match Matsuyama’s 65 on Friday, or his 66 on Sunday.
It left him with a fine second place, but it could have been so much more but for a 74 on day one. String it all together though and Matsuyama is assured for a Major win sooner rather than later.
Rickie Fowler – 20/1
First-round leader in Wisconsin, we were all wondering if this was finally Rickie Fowler’s time.
A 73 on Friday put the American on the back foot, while another less-than-stellar final day ended his hopes.
All the talent is there though, that’s a given, and Fowler boasts two top-five Open finishes.
Jon Rahm – 25/1
Next month’s Open will be just Jon Rahn’s fifth Major, but nobody would be surprised if he won one soon.
Rahm has already collected six top-five finishes this year, and his experiences at both the US Open and Masters will have put him in good stead.
He as short as 25/1 for a reason, and will be inspired by Spanish compatriot Sergio Garcia’s Masters success.
Tommy Fleetwood – 40/1
Fourth at the US Open was arguably Tommy Fleetwood’s best result yet – but it was no fluke.
The 26-year-old began the year with victory in the Abu Dhabi Championship, and has followed that up with a second in the WGC in Mexico, and a runner-up spot in the Shenzhen Internatonal.
As he heads to Birkdale, Fleetwood has never been in better form.
Justin Thomas – 50/1
Surely Justin Thomas is a Major-winner in-waiting?
The 24-year-old set a new US Open ecord last weekend with a nine-under par on day three.
But like Fleetwood, Thomas has been on it all year.
In January, he record back-to-back wins at the Tournament of Champions and Sony Open – including a 59 in the latter.
Throw in a fifth at the WGC in Mexico and New Orleans, plus a fourth in the Memorial before last weekend’s ninth, and we’re surprised Thomas isn’t much shorter than 50/1.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing