With the beginning of the big 4 Major Championships just around the corner, it’s time to place a few bets as for who’s going to bring home the bacon. That’s right, the US Masters (April 5-April 8), the US Open (June 14-17), the Open Championship (July 19-22) and the US PGA Championship (August 9-August 12) are only a few weeks (or months) away. So let’s take a quick look at who’s playing, the courses, and who’s most likely to bring home the gold according to Bleacherreport.com.
The US Masters is the only Major Championship in the world of golf that is played at the same venue each year. As such, Augusta has been the home of the US Masters since 1934. Legends like Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Ben Hogan, Tom Watson, Arnold Palmer, Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Mark O’Meara, Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson, and Tiger Woods have all had the pleasure of hoisting up the famous trophy. Between Nicklaus and Woods, they’ve earned ten victories between them – a truly astounding feat. Who can forget the nail biter of a match last year when the lead changed hands a whopping eight times on the final day of play. When it comes to Augusta, experience is key on the famous old course. With this in mind, Bleacherreport has Phil Mickelson pegged to take home the win.
This year, the US Open comes to the Pasatiempo Golf Club in San Francisco, California. While only four men have won the championship four times (Willie Anderson, Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, and Jack Nicklaus), no one can compare to the triumph of Rory McIlroy last year. Any doubts about Rory’s resilience were quickly dispelled as he shot a 6 under par 65 on the very first day followed by an impressive 66 the day after. At the 2011 US Open, Rory set 11 records, including the highest overall winning score (268) and the lowest winning score (-16). With the competition looking really stiff, for this year it’s going to be all about performance under pressure. According to Bleacherreport, Lee Westwood is the man destined to keep his cool under fire.
It’s arguable that The Open Championship is the most prestigious of all Majors. The nine courses on the Open rotate through Europe – five in Scotland and four in England. The Scottish courses are Carnoustie, Muirfield, St. Andrews, Troon, and Turnberry, whereas the English courses are Hoylake, Lytham & St. Anne’s, Royal Birkdale, and Royal St. George’s. The interesting thing about the Open is that it’s had its fair share of unlikely champions. The past 20 years have seen Ian Baker-Finch, Justin Leonard, Ben Curtis, John Daly, Louis Oosthuizen, and Paul Lawrie take home the Open trophy. Perhaps it’s this unpredictability of the Open that has Bleacherreport rooting for a former alpha turned underdog. That’s right, Tiger Woods is the pick for winning the Open Championship.
The final stop on the 2012 countdown is the USPGA Championship – this year to be played in North Carolina. With a $1.5 million prize, the USPGA boasts the richest prize purse of any of the other Major Championships. While money may not drive everyone, it makes one hell of an incentive. While American players have historically dominated the USPGA Championship, the last few years have seen something of an upset in the American golfing dynasty. With this in mind, Bleacherreport has marked Englishman Luke Donald as the future 2012 victor of the USPGA.
So there you have it, Rockheads – one (cave)man’s opinion on the upcoming Masters season. Have a prediction of your own? Leave it in the comment section!