Each week for the remainder of the golf season we will be rolling out a mailbag, with any and all questions invited from readers and fans around the world. Have a good question you want answered? Hit me up on Twitter at @shanebacon or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try to get to it in the coming weeks. Here we go ...
@shanebacon what active PGA golfer that ALREADY has won a major will win the most majors throughout the rest of his career?
— Slammin' Sammy Meade (@zmgrop) April 23, 2014
Bacon: First, I'm going to assume that we're talking youth here, because the answer if we were discussing everyone would obviously be Tiger Woods and his 14 majors.
So, I'm throwing out anyone with three or more majors or anyone that is 40 or older.
My default answer is Rory McIlroy, just because he already has two different major wins and by a combined 16 shots. McIlroy might be in a bit of a major slump right now, but as I've said before, Rory seems like the type that will win 4-5 majors over the course of his career simply by bringing his A game to random majors. When his game is clicking there isn't anyone out there on this planet that can compete, so Rory is my default answer.
But, I figured I'd go look at the list of one-time major winners and see which name I like. Here is the list of current one-time major winners with a good shot at winning another major; Zach Johnson, Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel, Martin Kaymer, Webb Simpson, Keegan Bradley, Adam Scott, Justin Rose and Jason Dufner.
Of that list, the first name that caught my eye was Scott, just because he always seems to be in the hunt at majors over the last three years. But, the killer instinct from Scott isn't exactly there, as we've seen in the past, so I'm going with a kid that I think has the game, and the mentality, to win at the highest level a couple times before he retires.
I think Keegan Bradley, who is just 27, will eventually figure out his weird antics on the golf course and calm them down a bit. When he does that, I think he is the competitive type with enough talent to not only win one or two more majors, but compete in plenty for the next few season.
Scott and Rose will probably win another major at some point in their career, as will Oosthuizen, but for a kid with one PGA Championship under his belt, I see Bradley competing at plenty of majors in the next few years and wouldn't be surprised if he added a Claret Jug or a second Wanamaker Trophy to his resume by the time he turns 30.
@shanebacon you get one round at any tour course not named Augusta. Where do you play and why?
— No Laying Up (@NoLayingUp) April 23, 2014
Bacon: Wow, what a great question and one that really got me looking around at the courses that host events at a consistent clip.
I'm not counting any random major championship courses, because it would be too easy to pick one of the private clubs that hosts a U.S. or British Open. No, this is going to be true PGA Tour events on true PGA Tour courses that we see each year.
I've played TPC Scottsdale and TPC Sawgrass. I've been lucky enough to go around Pebble Beach and Spyglass, and had plenty of awesome experiences at PGA West.
So looking at the schedule, my first thought was Harbour Town, followed by East Lake, Muirfield and the Plantation Course.
But, I think I'm going Congressional. Sure, it's a venue that occasionally hosts major championships, but this Quicken Loans National event has seemed to call Congressional home and after walking it during the 2011 U.S. Open, I would be pumped to get a chance to play it.
@shanebacon no way Tiger plays the US Open, this soon after surgery...is this another what if major?
— Brian Jones (@_BWJones) April 22, 2014
Bacon: At this point, with Tiger in the field or no Tiger in the field, aren't they all "what if" majors?
Seriously, would you bet money on a single golfer right now to win any major in 2014? I sure wouldn't. Phil Mickelson is a guy that is always in the hunt at Augusta National and he missed the cut this season. Rory McIlroy continues to be the favorite while Tiger is away and he hasn't exactly been in contention on a Sunday at a major in quite some time.
I think the thing we all need to embrace, instead of looking at the fact that "OMG TIGER ISN'T HERE WHAT DO WE DO," is the fact that this is an exciting, random time in golf history. Nobody is dominant, nobody is taking control of the tour, and we have a list of 50 or so guys that could win any major and a list of 300 guys that could win any PGA Tour event.
Sure, having a figure to either root for or against helps sports because it allows people to pick a side, but this isn't some terrible time for golf if we could just get past the fact that Tiger is hurt and he isn't coming back anytime soon. While he might be the biggest name in the game, he isn't the game and it would help the viewership, the tournaments and the overall perception of golf if we could spend more time on everyone else and less time on the guy that is home recovering from back surgery.
@shanebacon - lots of RC talk on Tiger. Q onPhil: 1) Does he make it on points, 2) If not, a pick ? 2-0 in Scotland 2013
— Brian Sullivan (@BriansullyMD) April 22, 2014
Bacon: As of now, Phil is in on points, but if he somehow fell out of that I am pretty sure that he would be a pick from Tom Watson.
The Ryder Cup is an important event and the Americans really, really need to win it this year if they don't want it to get out of hand (similar to how I said the Internationals really needed to win that Presidents Cup in 2013 to keep the event interesting).
That said, the Ryder Cup is also a business, and Mickelson or Woods not being there hurts the business side of things. I don't see Phil missing out on this Ryder Cup, mainly because it could be his last one.
Mickelson turns 44 in June, meaning he will be 46 the next time they play this event. It wouldn't be crazy to think that Phil would qualify in 2016, but with his health issues, how much he loves spending time with his family and his level of passion for the game as he gets older, I could see his game deteriorating over the next 2-3 years, hurting his chances of qualifying for the next Ryder Cup (and he seems like the type that might tell the captain of the next team to pick a younger guy if he didn't qualify, similar to Steve Stricker last year).
So yes, I think Mickelson will be on this team no matter what happens, because he's a guy that a lot of the younger dudes like, and he is a great draw for an American team that would be starting Jimmy Walker, Patrick Reed and Harris English if qualification ended today.