In 2016, all four of golf's most coveted prizes were won by a first time major winner for only the fifth time in history
2016: The Year of the First Time Major Winner
With the year’s four majors now done and dusted, it’s time to reflect on golf’s big four.
The Masters in April was a spectacular tournament. Danny Willett shot a stunning bogey-free 67 (-5) to win by three from Lee Westwood and Jordan Spieth. It will be remembered for Willett’s excellent closing play, and, of course, Jordan Spieth meltdown.
The US Open was marred in controversy regarding a ruling over whether Dustin Johnson had caused his ball to move on the fifth green in the final round. DJ was told at the time he’d done nothing wrong, but seven holes later he was approached and told, as well as the rest of the competitiors, that he’d be assessed after the round. Despite the uncertainty, Johnson produced a brilliant back-nine to win despite being penalised a shot post-round.
At The 145th Open at Royal Troon, Henrik Stenson went toe-to-toe with Phil Mickelson in what some are calling the greatest Open in history. Mickelson began the day one behind the Swede and shot a 65, yet lost by three after Stenson’s record-equalling 63. Stenson matched Jason Day’s record of -20 in a major and received plaudits around the world for one of the greatest performances of all time.
At the USPGA Championship, Jimmy Walker went wire-to-wire to beat world number one and defending champion Jason Day. Walker closed with a bogey-free final round 67 (-3) on a soft and very long Baltusrol.
We asked our twitter followers what they thought of 2016’s majors:
What was your favourite major of 2016?
24% – The Masters – Danny Willett
14% – US Open – Dustin Johnson
60% – The Open – Henrik Stenson
2% – USPGA – Jimmy Walker
Of 2016’s first-time winners, who will have the most majors by the end of their career?
3% – Danny Willett
75% – Dustin Johnson
21% – Henrik Stenson
1% Jimmy Walker
For the first time since 2011, all four majors were won by first-timers, with Danny Willett capturing the Masters, Dustin Johnson winning the US Open, Henrik Stenson sealing The Open, and Jimmy Walker taking the USPGA.
It’s the first time since 2011, when Charl Schwartzel won the Masters, Rory Mcilroy won the US Open, Darren Clarke won The Open and Keegan Bradley won the USPGA.
Other years with four first-time major winners:
Masters – Mike Weir
US Open – Jim Furyk
The Open – Ben Curtis
USPGA Championship – Shaun Micheel
Masters – George Archer
The Open – Orville Moody
US Open – Tony Jacklin
USPGA Championship – Raymond Floyd
Masters – Art Wall Jr
The Open – Billy Casper
US Open – Gary Player
USPGA Championship – Bob Rosburg