Statistics can be massaged in wonderful ways, and here's a good one: in the last 14 majors, dating back to the 2008 PGA Championship, we've had 14 different winners. And 11 of those are first-timers. (Trivia: the repeat winners are Padraig Harrington, Angel Cabrera and Phil Mickelson.)
What does that sample size, which is getting large enough to be statistically valid, suggest? Well, first off, there's more parity in the game now than ever before. Second, it appears to be a lot tougher to win that second major than the first. And third, well ... you-know-who has been out of the mix for almost all of this.
One of the quirks of the recent blast of one-and-done major winners is how quickly many of them vanish from the scene as soon as they win. Well, not from the scene per se, but from highly competitive golf. Take a look at 2009 in particular: Cabrera, Lucas Glover, Stewart Cink and Y.E. Yang have had trouble sustaining success since their majors.
In 2010, Louis Oosthuizen won the British Open with such a commanding performance that we had to figure we were seeing the birth of a new golf superstar. But aside from a T9 at the next U.S. Open, he was all but irrelevant with three missed cuts in five majors. Gah.
Then came this year at Augusta. He lost on the second hole of a playoff to Bubba Watson -- you may have heard something about it -- and won raves all over the golf world for his cool under pressure and his steady putting stroke.
So what does he do next? Wins the Maybank Malaysian Open by three strokes the very next weekend. There's absolutely no better script for Oosthuizen than that.
"I was a little surprised to win here after that," Oosthuizen said at the time. "I thought I would be a lot more tired."
Golf is a game of streaks, and if Oosthuizen can build one that stretches over months rather than days, he'll break the longstanding majors curse. (Yes, we're calling it a curse until it's broken.)