DALY CITY, CA - JUNE 12: Lee Westwood of England watches a shot during a practice round prior to the start of the 112th U.S. Open at The Olympic Club on June 12, 2012 in Daly City, California. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Many have tried, yet no English-born player has won a major in more than 15 years. Will that trend change this week at the U.S. Open?
Despite being the top-ranked golfer in the world, Englishman Luke Donald has yet to capture his first major. The same goes for fellow friends and competitors Lee Westwood, Justin Rose and Ian Poulter. All four men are among the top-30 players in the world, yet none have gotten over the "major bubble." Can that trend change this week at the Olympic Club?
It's been a rough stretch for English male golfers in the majors. In fact, the last native-born English gent to win a major was Sir Nick Faldo at the 1996 Masters over 15 years ago. This is not to say any of the best golfers from that region don't have the talent -- they all very clearly do -- but there certainly seems to be a barrier these players must overcome if they plan on breaking the streak.
Donald certainly seems ready to get over the major hump. “I’m not going to shy away from it,” he said during a pre-Open press conference. “That’s the one thing missing on my résumé — I want to win majors.”
Westwood, 39, is an even bigger enigma when it comes to winning majors, as most golf fans (myself included) would have expected him to have at least one by now. Westy has held the tournament lead in many majors in the past before ultimately squandering the top position during later rounds. Golf commentator and former major champion Johnny Miller thinks it may be more a matter of guts than talent for Westwood.
“Some guys just can’t handle major championship pressure,” Miller said. “He can handle it well enough to have a chance to be in contention, but not enough to hit that heroic shot on the last hole like at Torrey Pines and do what he needed to do or whatever. He’s had many chances.”
In the case of Poulter, the oft-opinionated and flashy-dressed golfer once believed there would be "no one but me and Tiger" when asked about where he sees his game flourishing in the future. Since making that prediction years ago, Woods fell below Poulter in the rankings only to surpass him again over the years. A major victory remains unaccomplished for the English golf star.
Finally, Rose continues to boggle the minds of golf fans everywhere as to the lack of a major title on his resume. Once hyped to be a superstar player in his own right, Rose has seldom come close to winning a major since his impressive showing as an amateur at the 1998 British Open. With 11 wins as a professional -- including this year's WGC Cadillac Championship -- Rose has certainly shown that he has what it takes to capture his first major crown.