The start of the 2019 golf season is only a few weeks old, but we can’t resist speculating about the players in with a chance of bagging their first Major this year.
Who could deny the roguish brilliance of 23-year-old slugger Cameron Champ? His outrageous long game and youthful exuberance would surely mean there’d be no fear if the opportunity presented itself.
The same can be said of Bryson DeChambeau who will have memories of his dominant autumn run fresh in his mind. He might be unorthodox but he’s the hottest golfer on the planet right now, in spite of a disappointing showing in the Ryder Cup.
On the other side of the Atlantic, Britain’s own Tommy Fleetwood continues to improve at a rate of knots – many would argue it’s a matter of when not if for the Birkdale lad. His record of 4th and 2nd in the last two US Opens would suggest that the tournament represents his best chance when it rolls into Pebble Beach in June. Watch this space.
Schauffele is a master shotmaker with an iron in his hand, cosying up to pins before confidently finding the back of the cup
Our bet, however, is a little more left field. Xander Schauffele hasn’t received quite the fanfare of a Champ or DeChambeau but the 2017 Rookie of the Year has made steady progress since turning pro in 2015, and now looks ready for the biggest stage of all.
He won the Tour Championship and finished 3rd in the FedEx Cup in that breakthrough season, before following it up last year with seven performances inside the top 10, including a T-2 at The Open in July and T-3 in the BMW Championship.
Clearly peeved to have missed out on a win next to his name during that campaign, Schauffele has wasted no time in chalking up two already this term. He took home the trophy at the WGC-HSBC Champions tournament after battling passed the talented Tony Finau in a playoff, before chasing down the leaders in the Sentry Tournament of Champions with a final round 62 to emerge victorious once more.
Schauffele is a master shotmaker with an iron in his hand, cosying up to pins before confidently finding the back of the cup – helpful at Augusta and The Open in particular. But it’s his resilience to pressure that gives us hope that this might be the year the new World Number 6 becomes a Major sensation.