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Old 09-06-2019, 08:15 AM
wayne1218 wayne1218 is offline
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Way-Too-Early 2020 major championship winners

The Masters
Where: Augusta National
When: April 9-12

Michael Collins, ESPN.com
Winner: Brooks Koepka
Why he'll win: Three down, one to go. The entirety of the fall, winter and spring will be dedicated to being prepared for Augusta National Golf Club in April. Let's be honest, when Koepka sets his mind to do something, no one can stop him.

Michael Eaves, ESPN
Winner: Rickie Fowler
Why he'll win: He's played too well at Augusta too many times not to have won it already. Plus, just about every great putter has won the Masters, and Fowler is one of the best in the world.

Chris Fallica, ESPN Stats & Information
Winner: Jon Rahm
Why he'll win: In 2018, a bad Thursday cost him the event. In 2019, he couldn't make a putt on Thursday or Friday. He's the third-best player in the world right now behind Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy. He'll put it all together at Augusta in 2020 to capture his first major title.

Charlotte Gibson, ESPN The Magazine
Winner: Brooks Koepka
Why he'll win: If I'm being honest, I was tempted to write Brooks Koepka to win all of the 2020 majors. His consistency is unparalleled right now. No matter what course, what tournament, Koepka always looks unfazed. After finishing second at Augusta behind Tiger Woods this year, the two-time U.S. Open and two-time PGA Championship winner will be putting on his first green jacket in 2020.

Bob Harig, ESPN, ESPN.com
Winner: Xander Schauffele
Why he'll win: The 2017 PGA Tour rookie of the year, Schauffele has played in just 11 major championships, but already has five top-six finishes and has missed just one cut. He was in the mix during a stressful back nine at Augusta in April, coming up one short of Tiger Woods but showing he has what it takes to win at the first major of 2020.

Ian O'Connor, ESPN.com
Winner: Tiger Woods
Why he'll win: Just like this year, his body will be fresh in April and not yet beaten up by the compressed majors schedule. This might be the only event Woods wins in 2020, but given his love for the course and the unmatched prestige of the tournament, I don't see a good reason why he won't go one-and-done for a second consecutive year while tying Sam Snead's record of 82 PGA Tour victories and tying Jack Nicklaus' record of six green jackets.

Nick Pietruszkiewicz, ESPN.com
Winner: Justin Thomas
Why he'll win: I had the words "Tiger Woods" typed here leading into the 2019 Masters and talked myself out of it. (Said he'd go top five, but chickened out on going all-in. I might regret it again.) Thomas could do what Koepka has done: go on a run and dominate the sport. If not for a wrist injury in 2019, who knows how this past year in golf goes -- maybe Woods doesn't win the Masters, Koepka isn't as dominant, McIlroy isn't holding a $15 million FedEx Cup paycheck.

Mark Schlabach, ESPN.com
Winner: Brooks Koepka
Why he'll win: Koepka seemed on his way to winning his first green jacket in April -- until his putter went cold and the golf gods once again smiled on Tiger Woods. Koepka wins the Masters to claim the third leg of the career grand slam.

Tom VanHaaren, ESPN.com
Winner: Brooks Koepka
Why he'll win: Koepka came up short in the Tour Championship, and the Masters is the first of the majors on the schedule. It just feels like he will have some motivation to win this one after missing out on the $15 million bonus money from the FedEx Cup to finish the 2019 season.

Kevin Van Valkenburg, ESPN The Magazine
Winner: Jordan Spieth
Why he'll win: This is going to be the moment when Spieth cements his return from the wilderness. He's got his putting figured out, now he just needs to find a swing thought he can trust and stick with it. I refuse to believe he's lost it forever. His real strength was always his iron play, and I'm convinced that's coming back. If it doesn't, it might be time for a coaching change and a total rebuild.

Total votes: Koepka 5; Fowler, Spieth, Woods, Schauffele, Rahm 1
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Old 09-06-2019, 08:16 AM
wayne1218 wayne1218 is offline
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PGA Championship
Where: TPC Harding Park
When: May 14-17

Collins
Winner: Tony Finau
Why he'll win: Welcome to the big time, Tony "Phenom." I'll be patting myself on the back for having seen this one coming. Everyone forgets Finau turned pro in 2007 ... when he was 17! He might be the oldest 29-year-old on the PGA Tour, but he is more than ready for this moment.

Eaves
Winner: Xander Schauffele
Why he'll win: His overall game was built to win majors, and it might have even been built for a track like Harding Park. And remember, California players tend to play well at California venues.

Fallica
Winner: Xander Schauffele
Why he'll win: A major in the state of California? Sounds like a perfect spot for Xander Schauffele to win his first major, as few players right now have consistently contended in big events like he has.

Gibson
Winner: Jordan Spieth
Why he'll win: At 24, Jordan Spieth captured his third major. But ... that was two years ago. And he's long overdue for another major victory. It's been a bumpy road the past few years, but after finishing in a tie for third at Bethpage Black this year, it feels like Spieth is finally finding his rhythm again.

Harig
Winner: Rory McIlroy
Why he'll win: After another disappointment at the Masters, McIlroy bounces back at Harding Park, where he won the 2015 WGC match play tournament. A third PGA ties him with Gene Sarazen and Sam Snead, just one behind Tiger Woods and two back of Walter Hagen and Jack Nicklaus for most victories in tournament history.

O'Connor
Winner: Rory McIlroy
Why he'll win: He hasn't won a major since 2014, and he's too damn good a player to let this drought linger any longer. When McIlroy first saw Harding Park, he said, "It suited my eye." He'll carry his Tour Championship and three-win 2019 season momentum into the spring and finally nail down major No. 5.

Pietruszkiewicz
Winner: Rickie Fowler
Why he'll win: I cannot help myself. See if this sounds familiar: He has to win one at some point. Right? The PGA feels like the least pressure, the most likely place where he can close with a bunch of birdies, shoot 64 and hold a big trophy high up in the air.

Schlabach
Winner: Rory McIlroy
Why he'll win: McIlroy hasn't won a major title since 2014, but that long drought ends at TPC Harding Park, where he won the 2015 WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship.

VanHaaren
Winner: Justin Thomas
Why he'll win: Thomas had to withdraw from the 2019 PGA Championship because of his wrist injury. Once he was fully healed later in the season, he played well and built some momentum heading into 2020. This would be a symbolic victory for him after withdrawing the previous year.

Van Valkenburg
Winner: Rory McIlroy
Why he'll win: If I had one wish in golf, I'd wish for McIlroy to get back the swagger he had in 2014. It is obvious he still has the game. Statistically, 2019 was probably his best year on Tour. But the way he wilts when the spotlight is brightest is disheartening. Maybe he can recapture some of the mojo he had when he won the Match Play at Harding Park in 2015. (Feels like a lifetime ago!)

Total votes: McIlroy 4; Schauffele 2; Spieth, Fowler, Finau, Thomas 1
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Old 09-06-2019, 08:17 AM
wayne1218 wayne1218 is offline
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U.S. Open
Where: Winged Foot
Where: June 18-21

Collins
Winner: Rickie Fowler
Why he'll win: Go find video of Steve Young winning his first Super Bowl. Young asks a teammate to "get the monkey off my back." That's what this will feel like for Fowler -- even though he is still relatively young. It feels like a deep sigh of relief. Expect Fowler to have a great Sunday and be in the clubhouse as the final groups collapse coming in.

Eaves
Winner: Brooks Koepka
Why he'll win: The tour hasn't seen a player as mentally as strong as Koepka since Woods, which once again will bode well for him in this major and particularly given Winged Foot's layout.

Fallica
Winner: Brooks Koepka
Why he'll win: I'd love to say Phil Mickelson will exorcise the ghosts of Winged Foot, but it's hard to imagine. Nobody handles U.S. Open tracks like Koepka, and it's hard to imagine he won't be in the mix on Sunday.

Gibson
Winner: Brooks Koepka
Why he'll win: Is it crazy to think that the world No. 1 could claim two majors in 2020? At the close of 2019, Rory McIlroy might be looking to take over the World No. 1 spot, but Brooks Koepka will always be the more consistent player in majors. He's already won two U.S. Opens, what's one more?

Harig
Winner: Brooks Koepka
Why he'll win: Expect Winged Foot to be a treacherous test, which should be no problem for Koepka, who seemed to handle beasts such as Shinnecock and Bethpage quite well. Winged Foot is staging the U.S. Open for the sixth time, and Koepka will triumph in a major championship for the fourth consecutive year and fifth overall.

O'Connor
Winner: Patrick Cantlay
Why he'll win: What he did at the Memorial, in Jack Nicklaus' house, and again at the BMW showed Cantlay is ready for really big things. Once the world's top-ranked amateur for a record 55 weeks, he will come of age as a pro by acing the toughest test in golf at a course, Winged Foot, that broke his fellow former SoCal prodigy, Phil Mickelson, last time around.

Pietruszkiewicz
Winner: Brandt Snedeker
Why he'll win: He's been in the mix before. He's got five top-10s and seven top-20s since his first U.S. Open in 2005 at Pinehurst. (He's also got three missed cuts, but we're going to ignore those for now.)

Schlabach
Winner: Brooks Koepka
Why he'll win: After Gary Woodland cruised around Pebble Beach in June, I expect a market correction from the USGA in 2020. Koepka won with 1 over at Shinnecock Hills in 2018; he'll win his third U.S. Open title in four years with a similar score at Winged Foot.

VanHaaren
Winner: Rory McIlroy
Why he'll win: McIlroy didn't win a major in 2019 despite putting together a successful season. That changes in 2020 -- whether it's at the U.S. Open or one of the other three majors, McIlroy will come out on top in one of these tournaments.

Van Valkenburg
Winner: Brooks Koepka
Why he'll win: At this point, it seems silly to pick anyone else for the game's toughest test. It's certainly possible that someone could have a career week like Gary Woodland did at Pebble Beach, but I'd be stunned if Koepka finishes anywhere outside the top five at Winged Foot. Obviously he's as strong as anyone on tour (shoutout ESPN The Magazine Body Issue), so digging the ball out of gnarly rough is a strength, but Koepka's greatest skill in the U.S. Open is mental. He never whines about the course, he just marches on.

Total votes: Koepka 6; Fowler, Cantlay, Snedeker, McIlroy 1
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Old 09-06-2019, 08:18 AM
wayne1218 wayne1218 is offline
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The Open
Where: Royal St. George's
When: July 16-19

Collins
Winner: Rory McIlroy
Why he'll win: With the pressure of playing at home in Northern Ireland in 2019 now in the past, McIlroy is not going to let Koepka have a major and not get one of his own. McIlroy will want to be Player of the Year in 2020. A victory at The Open could push him ahead slightly going into the playoffs.

Eaves
Winner: Rory McIlroy
Why he'll win: With the pressure of trying to win The Open this year on his home track behind him, McIlroy will hoist the jug one more time.

Fallica
Winner: Marc Leishman
Why he'll win: Royal St. George's has yielded surprising winners in Ben Curtis and Darren Clarke the past two times the event has been held there. And of course in 2019, Shane Lowry was a long shot winner. So I'll go with someone a bit off the radar to continue those trends. Leishman has come close to lifting the Claret Jug and might get another good chance in 2020.

Gibson
Winner: Tommy Fleetwood
Why he'll win: With The Open returning to Royal St. George's for the first time since 2011, I'm anticipating another United Kingdom showdown. Shane Lowry will be looking to defend his title, but my money is on this year's runner-up: Englishman Tommy Fleetwood. It'll be on Fleetwood to end the English curse. And after improving his best Open finish for a third year in a row, I think he has a Claret Jug in his future.

Harig
Winner: Adam Scott
Why he'll win: The Aussie hasn't won in three years, but he did have two top-10s in majors this year and The Open has seen some close calls. Hard to believe Scott will turn 40 after he shows up at Royal St. George's, but The Open is the major that discriminates by age the least.

O'Connor
Winner: Jon Rahm
Why he'll win: He's the most talented player in the world without a major (not Rickie Fowler or Tommy Fleetwood), and he's won seven PGA and European Tour events before his 25th birthday. Rahm is a big body with a bigger game and the best chance to make it three Euro champions in a row at golf's version of a true world championship.

Pietruszkiewicz
Winner: Matt Kuchar
Why he'll win: Because I am saying 2020 will be the year where two of the game's bigger names shed the "Best Player Never To Win A Major" label. Fowler gets his at the PGA and Kuchar gets his at Royal St. George's. So unless I am wrong, golf's worst title -- BPNTWAM -- shifts to Tommy Fleetwood.

Schlabach
Winner: Tommy Fleetwood
Why he'll win: The Englishman hasn't yet won on American soil, but he's one of the better links players in the world. McIlroy couldn't handle the pressure of playing in The Open in his native Northern Ireland, but Fleetwood will fare better at Royal St. George's in Sandwich, England.

VanHaaren
Winner: Tommy Fleetwood
Why he'll win: He came so close in 2019 but ran into a buzzsaw with how well Shane Lowry played. Fleetwood has been close in majors before, finishing second in The Open in 2019, second at the U.S. Open in 2018 and fourth at the U.S. Open in 2017; it seems like it's time for him to push to the top.

Van Valkenburg
Winner: Xander Schauffele
Why he'll win: We're probably due for a quirky Open champion, like a seemingly past-his-prime Ian Poulter or a relative unknown like Erik van Rooyen. But for now, I'll stick with Schauffele, who is already has five top-10 finishes in majors, even though he's played in only 11 of them. Schauffele looks like the player Rickie Fowler was five years ago, the young phenom poised to break through in a major. If that happens, you could easily see him snagging several majors.

Total votes: Fleetwood 3; McIlroy 2; Leishman, Rahm, Kuchar, Scott, Schauffele 1
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