They’re the cream of the major championship crop, circa 2012 — the Athlon Dream Team, if you will. If you're drafting a majors fantasy squad, these 20 players should be sitting atop your board. After a 2011 season that saw international players capture three of the four majors, we're expecting a slight resurgence from the Americans, most notably from the familiar name at the top of the list. But it’s worth noting that six of our top eight hail from outside the States, giving this list a decidedly international flavor.
Three of the four reigning major winners are on this list, and collectively, this group owns 23 major championships, with that number a virtual certainty to grow this year — especially since 13 of these elite players have yet to win their first and are entering 2012 hungry for that career-defining breakthrough.
Throughout the month of March, we'll be unveiling Athlon Sports’ 20 players to watch for majors season, with commentary on each from the Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee.
No. 20: Jim Furyk
Born: May 12, 1970, West Chester, Pa. | Career PGA Tour Wins: 16 | 2011 Wins (Worldwide): 0 | 2011 Earnings (PGA Tour): $1,529,690 | World Ranking: 61
Brandel Chamblee's Take:
The only difference between 2010, when Jim Furyk won the FedExCup, and 2011, when he had one of the worst years of his career, was one club, the putter. Jim switched to a long putter late in the season to try to find answers on the greens, but they wouldn’t come until the Presidents Cup, where he switched back to the conventional method and looked like the man who had 16 wins and a U.S. Open title in his career.
At 41 years old, Jim might not have that many great years left, but I have long thought of him as the Hale Irwin of this generation. Hale won a third U.S. Open late in his career, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Jim won his second in 2012.
Major Championship Résumé
Masters - T24
U.S. Open - Cut
British Open - T48
PGA Championship - T39
Best Career Finishes:
Masters - 4th (1998, 2003)
U.S. Open - 1st (2003)
British Open - 4th/T4 (1997, 1998, 2006)
PGA Championship - T6 (1997)
Top-10 Finishes: 18
Top-25 Finishes: 31
Missed Cuts: 13