x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Major win is no guarantee for future glory

Winning one of golf's top prizes is not always a springboard to success. Remember Ben Curtis?

Tiger Woods became the youngest player in the modern era to win a major championship when he ran away with the 1997 Masters tournament at Augusta at the age of 21 years, three months and 14 days.

Only three other golfers under the age of 27 have won one of the sport's big four titles since then. Martin Kaymer become the third when he won a play-off in last year's US PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. Justin Leonard and Ben Curtis are the others.

Woods has followed his first major with 13 others in his quest to overhaul Jack Nicklaus's record of 18, but the other two young champions have failed to capitalise on their respective career highlights.

Leonard looked destined for great things when he captured the 1997 British Open at Royal Troon but has since been frustrated with three second-place finishes in majors, although he has recorded 12 PGA Tour wins.

Curtis won in his debut in a major championship at the 2003 British Open at Royal St George's. But he has managed only two wins since that PGA Tour Rookie of the Year season, both of them coming in 2006. He has missed the halfway cut in 16 of his 26 subsequent major appearances.