Major Grades! The best (and worst!) from 7 majors in 11 months
In the golf world, a lot can change in 11 months. Especially when you stuff those months with extra major championships.
Consider the state of the men’s golf world a year ago. Entering the PGA Championship, the first major of 2020, Justin Thomas sat atop the world ranking, fresh off a win at the FedEx-St. Jude. Jon Rahm was second. Rory McIlroy had fallen to third.
In the months that followed, most of the names in that top 20 would remain, but others shifted dramatically.
Several have fallen: McIlroy fell from No. 3 to No. 15. Webb Simpson from No. 4 to No. 16. Adam Scott fell from No. 9 to No. 41. Tommy Fleetwood went No. 13 to No. 34.
The most jarring name on that list is Tiger Woods, who was 15th; now he’s No. 190.
But others have risen to fill their spots. Dustin Johnson has climbed from No. 5 to No. 2. Collin Morikawa has gone from No. 12 to No. 3. Xander Schauffele from No. 11 to No. 5. Louis Oosthuizen from No. 24 to No. 9. And Harris English leapt from No. 123(!) to No. 10
Others have stayed in just about the same spot. Last August, Brooks Koepka was No. 6 and Bryson DeChambeau was No. 7. Now DeChambeau is No. 6 and Koepka is No. 7. They’ve exchanged some words since then, though.
What’s the point of this post? The point is to direct you to the latest episode of the Drop Zone, where my co-host Sean Zak and I broke down the mega-major season of every top golfer in the world. Better yet, we assigned each of them a grade. Oh, and Sean casually drops a mention that McIlroy should consider retirement. You can listen to that episode here:
But while you’re here, let’s drop a couple bonus factoids. For podcast research, I took a look at the game’s 20 top-ranked players and their performance in those seven majors, event by event. The 2020 PGA, U.S. Open and Masters, then the 2021 Masters, PGA, U.S. Open and Open Championship. We cite their full run of seven in the pod.
To identify the consistent contenders over that span, I then took the four best performances for each player (plus Paul Casey, who had a strong major run, and Phil Mickelson, who won the PGA) from those seven majors to calculate the average finish position for those four best results. Here’s what I found:
2.5 — Louis Oosthuizen
3.5 — Collin Morikawa
4 — Jon Rahm
4.25 — Dustin Johnson
4.75 — Brooks Koepka
6.25 — Xander Schauffele
6.75 — Scottie Scheffler
7 — Paul Casey
7.5 — Tony Finau
11 — Patrick Reed
11.75 — Harris English
13 — Justin Thomas
13.25 — Rory McIlroy
13.25 — Hideki Matsuyama
13.5 — Jordan Spieth
14.75 — Webb Simpson
15.5 — Daniel Berger
16 — Bryson DeChambeau
19 — Viktor Hovland
31 — Patrick Cantlay
34.75 — Phil Mickelson
N/A — Tyrrell Hatton (only made two cuts of the seven)
Plenty of food for thought. Anyway, feel free to use that as a cheat-sheet as you tune in to the podcast. Thanks for listening! You can find this week’s Drop Zone on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you typically download pods.
Thanks for listening!