One Hit Wonders At The Majors

In the wake of Y.E. Yang’s victory at the 2009 PGA Championship, a GolfBlogger reader asked if one Major Championship had produced more “one-hit wonders” than another. That depends, I think upon your definition of a one-hitter—and that’s a very subjective mark. Still, I looked at the last twenty years of major winners, and came up with a list of winners that could fall in that category.

Shaun Micheel
Rich Beem
Wayne Grady

The Masters
Zach Johnson

US Open
Michael Campbell
Steve Jones

Open Championship
Todd Hamilton
Ben Curtis
Paul Lawrie
Ian Baker Finch

I’m sure I’ll get a lot of arguments about this. All of these men are fine players, and all have more than one tour victory. Still, I’d have to say that the ones on this list didn’t (or have not yet) lived up to the stature of a major championship winner.

2 thoughts on “One Hit Wonders At The Majors”

  1. As the person who asked the question, I realized—before Mr. GB published this post—that I should have given more definition to “one-hit wonder.”

    Several possible definitions of “one-hit wonder” come to mind. Here are two:

    1. A player wins one major but not another.
    2. A player wins one major but fewer than three (or some other number) PGA tour events.

    Now you’d want to adjust this in some way for the amount of time passed since the major win. Stewart Cink has only one major win, but it’s not fair to call him a one-hit wonder, given his performance in other events.

    I wonder if the qualification requirements of each major makes a difference in the number of one-hit wonders it produces.

  2. Getting back to yesterday and post-PGA discussion … I don’t know what everyone else was watching, especially Wayne – Tiger did congratulate Yang at the end of the tournament – that’s one thing I wanted to see. And he didn’t storm off the green at 17 with his entourage … he waited until Yang putted out, then went to 18.

    Sometimes I think people look for the absolute worst in someone, and even if they don’t see it, they will claim to have seen it.

    I am one of those who enjoy watching Tiger win, and I think that his loss at the PGA will make him more determined than ever to storm back next year. I know other pro golfers will also be working hard in the ‘off season,’ but I fully expect Tiger to develop a ‘take no prisoners’ attitude next year.

    Also, even though it was a decade or so ago, I would add Justin Leonard (British Open) to the list … and going back a bit more, how about one-time major winners like Corey Pavin and David Love? Terrific golfers, but only one major.


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