Matt Kuchar — Getty Images
Matt Kuchar — Getty Images
Here are the candidates.
Matt Kuchar -- 5 PGA Tour Wins -- Career Highlight: 2012 Players Championship -- Top-10s in majors -- 4
Kuchar is definitely in this conversation for the way he has played over the last four seasons, with a win at the Barclays in 2010, the Players in '12 and his recent success at the Accenture on Sunday. It might have taken his career some time to develop, but Kuchar is one of the most consistent players on tour these days, and with two top-10s in majors in 2012, including a T-3 at the Masters, it seems that he could be ready to breakthrough above all these other names.
Dustin Johnson -- 7 PGA Tour Wins -- Career Highlight: 2010 BMW Championship -- Top-10s in majors -- 5
Johnson is obviously a guy that has nearly taken himself off this list with his play through three rounds at the 2010 U.S. Open and his situation later that year at the PGA Championship when he was assessed a two-stroke penalty on the final hole, leaving him out of a playoff with Bubba Watson and Martin Kaymer. Some thought those two crushing defeats would have halted Johnson's major process, but he had a chance at the '11 British Open and remains one of the most talented golfers in the world with some of the highest upside.
Steve Stricker -- 12 PGA Tour Wins -- Career Highlight: 2007 Barclays -- Top-10s in majors -- 10
Stricker has had an interesting career (call him the American version of Westwood), winning two events in 1996 and then going five years before winning another one, only to go five more years before finding the winner's circle once more. That '07 Barclays win catapulted Stricker to another level, and he's been in this zone ever since, but his success still hasn't translated in the majors. Stricker, who seems like the perfect candidate to do well at the U.S. Open, has only on top-10 in the event since 1999 and despite his play over the three season on tour, has yet to card a top-five in a major over that stretch.
Brandt Snedeker -- 5 PGA Tour Wins -- Career Highlight: 2012 Tour Championship & FedEx Cup -- Top-10s in majors -- 4
His resume might not compare to someone like Stricker, but if a guy can putt this well, it sure seems like he'd be someone you'd really like to take in majors if he's hitting the ball with any success at all. Snedeker definitely seems like the type that can win the U.S. Open (three top-11 finishes over his last five seasons) but he has sprinkled in quite a few missed cuts in the four big events for such a marquee name. Still, when he's hitting the ball anywhere close to the hole it's basically game over for the rest of the field.
Hunter Mahan -- 5 PGA Tour Wins -- Career Highlight: 2012 Accenture Match Play -- Top-10s in majors -- 4
The continued knock on Mahan's golf game is his ability to get the ball close to the hole when he'd miss greens, and it seems this season he has really addressed that (he was brilliant with his wedge this past week at Dove Mountain). Mahan has one of the best golf swings in the world, and sure seems like the type of player that could win multiple majors, it's just puzzling how little success he's had at the big four (not a single top-five in his career).
Verdict: While it's nearly impossible to compare some of these guys, I feel like the best way to answer this question is simply asking yourself, "Of these guys, who do you think is MOST LIKELY to win a major this year?" With that said, I'm going Dustin Johnson. Sure, Kuchar played excellent golf this past week at the Accenture, and Snedeker was brilliant at Pebble Beach, but I feel like despite Johnson's current funk, he is the guy that I like at all four major venues (long enough at Augusta, powerful enough for Merion's rough, seems to be the perfect fit for Open-style golf and will always be a contender at the PGA because he can make a ton of birdies). So Johnson is my pick, what do you think?
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