Welcome to Teeing Off, where Devil Ball editor Jay Busbee and head writer Shane Bacon take a day's topic and smack it all over the course. And today, since it's a major, we welcome in the third man, Jonathan Wall. Suggest a future topic by writing firstname.lastname@example.org, or hit us on Twitter at @jaybusbee, @shanebacon and @jonathanrwall. Today we scramble about the lack of wins by the American contingent in the last few majors.
Bacon: If there is one storyline going around this week that's not about Tiger or Rory, it's this; American golf is DOA. The United States of America hasn't produced a champion in the last five majors, and it's starting to become a problem. Hank Haney came out and said he doesn't think an American has a chance this week. But is this just chatter before a major, or is there a real drought going on with the red, white and blue?
Busbee: We're in the midst of a serious drought, yep. You have to go all the way back to 1994 to find a year when non-Americans held all four majors at once. And before that? 1910, when there were only two majors. So, yes, this statistically isn't good news. As with so much else in golf, we can blame Tiger Woods. Had he not derailed his career, he presumably would have won a few more majors while the Dustin Johnsons and Bubba Watsons of the world got themselves up to speed. Now, though? They're not ready!
Wall: It used to be just chatter ... until every American golfer decided to stop showing up at the majors recently. People keep saying the drought is cyclical and things will turn around soon, but the more I watch some of the biggest names in American golf during the majors, the more I wonder if this drought is going to end anytime soon. The only thing I do know is someone definitely needs to step up. Who exactly is going to do that? That's the million dollar question.
Bacon: See, I am totally on the other side of this argument. As Jay pointed out, it is strange to go five majors without an American winning, but this is the most global the game has ever been. Just think, in the last four majors, we've had two South Africans not named Ernie Els or Retief Goosen win. It really boils down to who is playing the best golf, and gets the lucky end of the draw, that week and that is it. It isn't about the Europeans or the Australians being better, because there are a number of talented Americans that could win this week. Just think, the last time this tournament was held at Royal St. George's an American ranked 396th in the world walked away with the Claret Jug.
Busbee: The British does seem to reward a right-place, right-time kind of American, doesn't it? We're in the trough between the end of the Woods-Mickelson era and the start of the Fowler/Watson/whoever one, but all it takes is that one perfect weekend to put your name among the legends. This doesn't strike me as a statistically significant drop, though another year or so sans Americans would raise a few eyebrows.
Bacon: It is funny we bring up Bubba as a hope at this event. Isn't he starting to look like Mickelson when he crosses the pond? Like his game keeps getting denied a passport?
Busbee: I just want so badly for someone named Bubba to win a major. And since Bubba Smith and Bubba Gump aren't viable, I'll run out Watson.
Wall: If we're running out potential American major winners, don't you think Stricker probably has the best shot to win this week? He's playing better than almost any other player at the moment, has a solid game and doesn't make many mistakes. If anybody is going to end the drought this week, I think it'll be him.
Bacon: I think the random insert of an American name playing well just shows how up in the air it really is. One week we're crowning Bubba the king of this country, the next it's Nick Watney, and now Stricker. Do I think Stricker is a great pick? Absolutely. But would it shock me if he missed the cut? No, not really. There are 20 Americans that have a chance to win, and another 15 that could if they played out of their mind, like Charl at the Masters this year. It all just goes back to the fact that there is no dominant player right now and each of these majors is a complete crapshoot.
Now you're up. Is this American drought in majors a big deal, or just making something out of nothing? Will an American win this week?