The recent trend of brand new major winners has spanned full-force into 2017, as both major winners this season, Sergio Garcia at The Masters, and Brooks Koepka at the U.S. Open, were first-timers.
Sergio has continued to play well since Augusta, with a T30 at THE PLAYERS his worst finish. His most recent start, at the BMW International in late June, resulted in a T2.
A confident Sergio at Royal Birkdale could be scary, as his game is a near-perfect match for this course.
It bodes exceptionally well for Sergio that his narrative has changed from “Will he ever win a major?” to “How many can he win?”.
When asked if a Claret Jug would mean more than a Green Jacket, Sergio answered smartly.
“It’s difficult to say. I think they’re both amazing. At the moment the Green Jacket means more, because I have it, but everybody knows how much I love The Open Championship. And I would love to at least have one of them before I kind of hang up the boots,” commented Garcia. “So definitely it’s something that I would like to achieve. And we’re going to give it a shot this week. But that’s like saying, who do you love more, your dad or your mom? So it’s a difficult question to answer.”
It feels like Sergio has been around forever, but at just 37-years old, his prime could last for years still.
Koepka partied hard after his U.S. Open victory last month, and he earned it. He could do little wrong during his 16-under record romp at Erin Hills, and it is always gratifying when years of hard work pay off.
However, it is back to business for the 27-year-old Koepka, and we are yet to catch a glimpse of post-U.S. Open Brooks. Will he be focused at Royal Birkdale?
Koepka believes so.
“I’m refreshed. I was playing the entire time. It didn’t have anything to do with the win. I planned to take some time off and kind of regroup there in the middle of the season, just to kind of finish the back half of it off. I thought it was important,” said Koepka.
As the season’s two major champions, only Garcia and Koepka have the chance to make it a multi-major season with a win in Southport. Rory McIlroy was the last to do it, winning the 2014 Open Championship and PGA Championship.
Same Season: Masters and British Open Champions
Players who have won the Masters and Open Championship back-to-back in the same season (8).
- Tiger Woods (2005)
- Mark O’Meara (1998)
- Nick Faldo (1990)
- Tom Watson (1977)
- Gary Player (1974)
- Jack Nicklaus (1966)
- Arnold Palmer (1962)
- Ben Hogan (1953)
Same Season: U.S. and British Open Champions
Players who have won the U.S. Open and Open Championship back-to-back in the same season (5).
- Tiger Woods (2000)
- Tom Watson (1982)
- Lee Trevino (1971)
- Gene Sarazen (1932)
- Bobby Jones (1926, 1930)
Credit: PGA Tour Media, Getty Images