Way-too-early 2023 golf major championship winners

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ST. ANDREWS in Scotland — Australias Cameron Smith won this 150th edition of the major golf season. The OpenAnd Lift the Claret JugSunday, St. Andrews

Smith became the sixth player in his 20s who won a major and the second consecutive winner of a first-timer. Matt Fitzpatrick took home his first major at The. U.S. OpenThe Country Club, Brookline, Massachusetts in June

Unfortunately, the Masters will not be held for nine more months. Although the FedEx Cup playoffs and the Presidents Cup will still be played during August and September respectively, another major season has passed.

Which players are the next to be major champions by 2023? These are my best guesses – unless one of my predicted winners jumps into LIV Golf and is declared uneligible by any governing body between now & then.

The Masters

When: April 6-9th, 2023
Where: Augusta National Golf Club Augusta, Georgia
Champion in defense: Scottie Scheffler

Rory McIlroy was the 2023 winner



Rory McIlroy, who finished in third place at the Open Championship, reflects on his performance.

McIlroy is the only player who has played better this season than Scheffler, who won a green jacket for his first major this spring.

McIlroy placed in the top ten at each of four majors this season. He was second at The Masters, eighth and eighth at The PGA Championship, fifth at The Open, and tied for fifth at The U.S. Open. According to research by ESPN Stats & Information, McIlroy is only the fourth player to average a top-five finish in the majors without winning one since 1983. Ernie Els (2004), Rickie Fowler (2014), and Ben Crenshaw (87) were the others.

McIlroy is a four-time major champion and has played eight full seasons since his last one (the 2014 PGA Championship). McIlroy has had many near-misses, finishing in the top 5 in majors nine times and in the top 10 17 times during that stretch, the most by any player since 2015.

McIlroy knows that the drought must end at some point and Augusta National is the best place for him to do so. He would be the sixth player to win a green jacket during the Masters era. The only ones who have accomplished this feat are Jack Nicklaus (Tiger Woods), Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen. McIlroy will attempt to join them in 2023 for the ninth time.

McIlroy seemed to be able to exorcise Masters demons in April. McIlroy famously took a 4-stroke lead during the final round of 2011, hooking his No. He was able to score an 80 and he got 10 into the cabins. He shot an 8-under 64 on Sunday this past spring, which was the lowest score ever recorded in the Masters final round. Scheffler was 3 shots behind him. Scheffler had fun on Sunday, when Scheffler holed out from a greenside buner.

McIlroy finished in the top ten at the Masters six times after completing three-fourths the career grand final. He seemed to have some ideas this spring.

McIlroy declared after the 2022 Masters that he has known for a long time that he can do it. Ive always known I have the game to win here, McIlroy said after the 2022 Masters. Its a matter of playing the game for four days straight and not making huge numbers and shooting yourself in your foot.

PGA Championship

When: May 18-21 2023
Where: Oak Hill Country Club, Rochester (East Course), Rochester, New York
Champion in defense: Justin Thomas

Cameron Young was the winner in 2023

Young almost won the PGA Tours Rookie of The Year award when he eagled 72nd hole at Old Course on Sunday. Smith was 1 shot behind Young with his solo second place shot.

Young is only the second player from 1958 to finish in top three at The Open and PGA Championship. Thomas finished 1 shot behind Young, and he tied for third at Southern Hills PGA Championship. Collin Morikawa won at Harding Park the 2020 PGA Championship and at Royal St. Georges the 2021 Open Championship.

Young will be able to take advantage of many galleries at Oak Hill. Young was raised outside of New York City, and attended Fordham Prep School. His father, David Young, is the longtime head pro at Sleepy Hollow Country Club in Scarborough-on-Hudson, New York, just north of the city.

Young hasn’t won on the PGA Tour yet, but his rookie season was spectacular. In 21 starts, he has nine top-25 finishes, including six top-10s as well as four runner-ups. He was also second at The Sanderson Farms Championships, Genesis Invitational, and the Wells Fargo Championship. He is only a matter time before he wins his first victory.

Young is one of the longest hitters from the tee on the tour. He is second in shots taken off the tee (.942), and sixth in driving distance (317.6 meters). He is an excellent irons player and a good putter.

Oak Hills East Course hosted a major the last time it hosted one in 2013. Jim Furyk beat Jason Dufner by 2 strokes. Nicklaus (1980), and Shaun Micheel (2003) won all the other PGA Championships played at Oak Hill. In 2013, the course was restored. The project involved the removal many trees and even a small pond. The fifth hole is a completely new par-3.

U.S. Open

When: June 15-18, 2023
Where: Los Angeles Country Club (North Course)
Defending champion Matt Fitzpatrick

Winner in 2023: Xander Schauffele

Smith has won the The Open in St. Andrews. Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay, and Viktor Hovland from Norway will be the best players in 2023 without a major championship. Schauffele did win a silver medal at the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Schauffele, 28 years old, has also been a good player in the majors. Since 2017, he has had nine top-10 finishes in majors, including two runners-up at 2018 Open at Carnoustie. He did not make the cut at the Masters but was in the top 15 for the three majors this year.

Schauffele won the Travelers Championship in June, his first individual PGA Tour win in more than three decades. He won the Scottish Open just before The Open. He also finished first at the JP McManus pro-am, a 36-hole charity tournament in Ireland. Schauffele teamed up with Cantlay in winning the Zurich Classic, an April team event in New Orleans.

Schauffele is a native of La Jolla, California. He would love to win his first major in Los Angeles first U.S. Open. Since 1948, when Ben Hogan won at Riviera Country club, the tournament has not been hosted in Los Angeles. Los Angeles County Club is the third Southern California venue to host the U.S. Open. Riviera Golf Course in San Diego and Torrey Pines Golf Course (2008 and 2021 respectively) are the others.

The North Course is famous for its baseball glove-shaped bunkers. It also has peninsula greens and elevated golf boxes. The 2017 Walker Cup was hosted by Los Angeles Country Club. Scheffler, Morikawa and Cameron Champ were among the U.S. teams that beat Great Britain and Ireland 19-7.

The Open

When: July 20-23, 2023
Where: Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Merseyside (England)
Champion in defense: Cameron Smith

Jon Rahm was the winner in 2023

Rahm is one the most skilled ball-strikers around the world, which will be very useful if the winds blow hard on the west coast England next year.

The Open will be held at Royal Liverpool Golf Club for the 13th consecutive time. This course is considered one the most difficult in the rota. Woods won his third Claret Jug when he famously hit his driver just once in four rounds. He instead hit irons off of the tee, and then hit mid and long clubs into greens.

Rahm won his first major at 2021 U.S. Open Torrey Pines. In 2021, he finished in the top ten in each major. Although his results in majors were not as good, his form was still good. He is the leader in ball-striking, shots gained off the tee (1.106), and sixth in total shots gained (1.805).

Rahm has never participated in an Open at Royal Liverpool. He was third at Royal St. Georges 2021 and tied for 11th in Royal Portrush. He would be the Spanish player who won The Opens third Claret Jug in 1988.

This will be the first time Royal Liverpool hosts The Open since McIlroys win in 2014. Next July, there will be a completely new par-3 17th.

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