First-time major championship winners have been all the rage in recent PGA Tour history, with nine of the last 13 major winners (dating back to the 2016 Masters) having not won on the big stage prior to their breakthrough performance.
Who has the best shot at pulling off the feat at Bethpage Black this week? Rickie Fowler tops most lists of best to never win a major, and his T9 at last month’s Masters was his 10th career major top-10.
Xander Schauffele is a big-game hunter who finished T2 at Augusta last month, and now has two runner-ups and a T6 among his last four major starts.
Time could be a factor for 40-year-old Matt Kuchar, who sits atop the current FedExCup Standings, largely off the strength of two victories and two runner-ups on the current season.
Tony Finau and Patrick Cantlay both were in contention late at the most recent Masters.
Fowler enters off a two-straight top 10s – a tie for 9th at the Masters, and a T4 at Quail Hollow. In his two most recent PGA Championship starts the now 30-year old star owns a T12 and T5.
World Ranking: 10th
Last Six Starts: 4, 9, 17, 47, 40, 2
Last Six Majors: 9, 12, 28, 20, 2, 5
Schauffele last teed it up three weeks ago at Harbour Town, where – coming off an impressive runner-up at the Masters, the 25-year old ran out of gas and posted a T63. He finished 35th in St. Louis last year, but owns two runner-ups in his last three major starts.
World Ranking: 9th
Last Six Starts: 63, 2, 24, MC, 14, 15
Last Six Majors: 2, 35, 2, 6, 50, MC
The veteran leads the PGA Tour’s points list, primarily off two wins earlier this season (Mayakoba and Sony), but he also owns four top-7s – three of which have occurred in his four most recent starts (2-12-7-2).
World Ranking: 13th
Last Six Starts: 2, 12, 7, 2, 26, 50
Last Six Majors: 12, MC, 9, MC, 28, 8
Finau hasn’t been quite as good in 2019 as he was in 2018, but did finish T5 at Augusta National, and seems to play better in the bigger events. The Utah native is not only looking for his first major, he’s really seeking his first full-field PGA Tour event, as his sole win was in Puerto Rico, an opposite field tournament.
World Ranking: 15th
Last Six Starts: 60, 5, 61, 40, 22, 25
Last Six Majors: 5, 42, 9, 5, 10, 44
Cantlay has taken his game to another level in 2019, and it’s only a matter of time before he starts piling up the wins, including majors. In 11 starts this season, he has finished in the top 10 six times – including a T9 at last month’s Masters. He also has three top-25s (T24, T17, T15).
World Ranking: 17th
Last Six Starts: 3, 9, 24, MC, 6, 15
Last Six Majors: 9, 27, 12, 45, MC, 33