With the Ryder Cup on the horizon, the 2020-21 golf season is slowly drawing towards a close. It’s been a cracking season full of interesting stories, and as usual the four major championships have delivered plenty of drama. It’s every golfer’s dream to earn a major triumph, and this year we have seen two men claim a maiden major title in Hideki Matsuyama and Jon Rahm. There was also a throwback performance from Phil Mickelson, who rolled back the years at the PGA Championship, while Collin Morikawa cemented his status as one of golf’s rising superstars.
Let’s take a look back at this year’s four majors in more detail, and remind ourselves of the drama that unfolded.
After Dustin Johnson’s sensational performance at the 2020 Masters, held in the autumn due to the coronavirus pandemic, the American was heavily tipped to defend his title when the tournament came back around in its familiar spring timeslot. However, Johnson never really got going, and instead it was Hideki Matsuyama who ruled supreme, becoming the first male Japanese golfer to win a major.
Matsuyama led by four shots going into the final round, and the question was whether he could cope with the pressure. Despite the attentions of Will Zalatoris, Xander Schauffele and Jordan Spieth, Matsuyama held his nerve and claimed the Green Jacket with a 10-under-par final score.
Whilst Matsuyama’s triumph in the Masters was somewhat unexpected, Phil Mickelson’s stunning victory at the PGA Championship blew the latest golf betting out of the water. At 51 years of age, little was expected of Mickelson, having not won a major championship since winning The Open in 2013, but he rediscovered his best form to pip Brooks Koepka to the PGA Championship title at Kiawah Island.
He led Koepka by one shot heading into the final round, and many expected that Mickelson would flag in the closing stages, and the Koepka would step to the fore in a tournament he had won twice previously. But the veteran held strong, and proved that ager is just a number. In lifting the trophy, Mickelson became the oldest major champion of all time.
For a few years now, Jon Rahm’s name has been frequently mentioned in the golf betting tips for major championships, and at this year’s US Open, the Spaniard finally broke his duck and won his maiden major title. It was a seminal moment for Rahm, who dedicated his win to the late Seve Ballesteros, who had been one of his idols growing up.
Heading into the final round at Torrey Pines, Rahm was three shots adrift of leaders Russell Henley, Mackenzie Hughes and Louis Oosthuizen, but birdies on the 17th and 18th holes secured a dramatic victory for the 26-year-old. Now, he can focus his attention on adding more and more major championship titles to back up his supreme talent.
After its cancellation in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was a real joy to see the return of The Open. With Royal St George’s this year playing host to the oldest major championship, the sun beat down on the Kent venue and provided testing conditions. In the end, it was Collin Morikawa who triumphed, backing up his 2020 PGA Championship win with a second major title.
From the end of the second round onwards, Morikawa had established himself as one of the frontrunners, with Jordan Spieth and Louis Oosthuizen providing stiff competition. But Morikawa proved too strong in the end, winning by two clear shots with a 15-under-par final score. Now, it’s anyone’s guess how many major championships the American can go on to win.