25 golfers who could still win their first major this season


There are plenty of big-name golfers still capable of winning majors who have not yet done so. Here’s a look at 25 golfers who we feel have a good chance at winning their first major in 2021 (building up to the most likely).


Matt Kuchar

Daniel Dunn/USA TODAY Sports

OK, we’ll consider this a sentimental pick. Kuchar, who turns 43 in June, has enjoyed plenty of success on the PGA Tour. He’s a 17-time winner as a pro and has 12 top-10 finishes at major events. However, he only has one top-10 placement this season overall and missed the cut at the Masters. Still, Kuchar has the potential to be a good major storyline at some point in 2021.


Brian Harman

Jim Dedmon/USA TODAY Sports

Entering the AT&T Byron Nelson, Harman finished inside the top 20 at five consecutive tournaments. That included two in the top five. Harman has just one top-10 finish during his major career, but he tied for 12th at the Masters in April. Whether he turns out to be a serious contender at the remaining major events in 2021 is uncertain, but Harman is a consistent golfer with the talent to draw dark-horse status at the season’s biggest tournaments.


Billy Horschel

Stephen Lew/USA TODAY Sports

The Dell Technologies Match Play winner, Horschel doesn’t have a great track record in major-championship play (only one top-10 finish). Still, Horschel is playing well this season (14 cuts in his first 16 matches, five top-10s entering the Byron Nelson). Horschel won’t be on many major radars this season, but all he needs is one strong weekend and that could change.


4 of 25

Matthew Fitzpatrick

Matthew Fitzpatrick

Erich Schlegel/USA TODAY Sports

Oddsmakers continue to love Fitzpatrick, whether on a daily basis or as a major long shot. Sometimes, as any seasoned wagerer knows, a long shot will pay off. That said, Fitzpatrick won’t be a favorite in any of the three remaining 2021 majors, but he’s got the game to challenge on the weekend. His best major finish is a T7 at the 2016 Masters, where he finished in a tie for 34th this year.


Tommy Fleetwood

Jim Dedmon/USA TODAY Sports

There’s no doubt that Fleetwood, who has eight victories as a pro, is one of the most popular golfers in the world, but the bloom might be off his major championship-potential rose. Since posting three top-five finishes at majors (two at the U.S. Open, one at the Open Championship) from 2017-’19, Fleetwood’s best placement at one of those events is a T19 at the Masters in 2020. That said, it’s still worth keeping an eye on Fleetwood at both Opens this year.


Harris English

Getty Images

English entered the AT&T Byron Nelson with five top-10 finishes this season and a victory at January’s Sentry Tournament of Champions. There’s a quiet confidence about English, who shouldn’t turn heads if in contention at the remaining majors in 2021. He placed fourth at the 2020 U.S. Open, tied for 19th at last year’s PGA Championship, and finished T21 at the Masters in April.


Cameron Champ

Stephen Lew/USA TODAY Sports

We’ve been hearing for a couple of years how Champ is poised for a breakout season. Yet, he hasn’t won since September 2019. Maybe that’s a good thing in terms of pressure. Come on, this guy played a shot near an alligator, so nothing should rattle him. There might not be much pressure placed on him for the rest of the 2021 major schedule, either. Champ, who tied for 26th at the Masters in April, finished T10 at last season’s PGA Championship — the best of his major career. 


Joaquin Niemann

Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports

Niemann, along with the likes of Abraham Ancer and Emiliano Grillo (neither on this list), fall in the same line of quality, rather young, golfers who have the ability to contend at a major sooner rather than later. Niemann seems to stand out among this trio because he’s posted two second-place finishes (both in January at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and Sony Open). The Chilean’s best finish at a major was T23 at last year’s U.S. Open.


Jason Kokrak

Stephen Lew/USA TODAY Sports

This might be a hunch pick. Kokrak turned pro in 2008, but the casual golf fan probably knows nothing about him. That could change in 2021. He earned four top-10 finishes in his first 17 events of the 2020-21 season and won the CJ Cup in October. Kokrak has never finished better than T19 at any of his previous major events, but it seems like he’s playing well enough this season to at least seriously contend.


Max Homa

Rob Schumacher/USA TODAY Sports

The 2021 Genesis Invitational champion (his second career PGA Tour victory), Homa is another dark horse to keep an eye on for the remaining major slate in 2021. We feel safe saying that even though Homa’s major resume is not all that impressive. In fact, he’s made the cut just once in six career major starts. That said, Homa really has nothing to lose while his game continues to progress. 


Si Woo Kim

Rob Schumacher/USA TODAY Sports

Kim won The American Express in January — for one of his three top-10 finishes entering the Byron Nelson — and placed inside the top 15 at the Masters. Simply put, Kim is someone to keep an eye on when it comes to making a little noise at any one of the remaining majors on the 2021 slate. He also tied for 13th at the PGA Championship last season, so the ability to contend at an elite level seems to be there. 


Corey Conners

Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports

Conners ranks among the PGA Tour leaders in winnings (more than $3 million) and top-10 finishes (seven entering the Byron Nelson). The Canadian also finished tied for eighth at Augusta in April, so there is reason to believe he could again be a factor during the rest of the 2021 major schedule. For those looking to put a little cash down on a major dark horse with favorable odds, Conners might be your guy.


Sungjae Im

Joshua S. Kelly/USA TODAY Sports

Consistency has been somewhat of an issue for Im, who won the Honda Classic in 2020, but — heading into the Byron Nelson — missed the cut in five of his previous tournaments. He has three top-10 placements in 2021, but also missed the cut at the Masters this season after he tied for a second there in 2020. Im’s major success down the road all depends on which golfer shows up at whatever major event is on the docket.


Patrick Cantlay

Stephen Lew/USA TODAY Sports

Cantlay ranks among the top 15 in the World Golf Ranking, and oddsmakers continue to treat Cantlay as a perennial major favorite. That said, Cantlay has finished outside of the top 10 in each of his last six major tournaments, and he missed the cut at the 2021 Masters. Nobody is arguing that Cantlay isn’t among the best players on the PGA Tour, but one has to wonder if there’s too much pressure to win a major. 


15 of 25

Scottie Scheffler

Scottie Scheffler

Michael Madrid/USA TODAY Sports

A year ago, Scheffler tied for fourth at the PGA Championship? Will he have similar success at the event this season? He also finished tied for 18th at the Masters in 2021, so Scheffler has shown he can be a factor when the lights shine the brightest. Not to mention, since early February, Scheffler has posted top-10 finishes at four PGA Tour events. Keep an eye on Scheffler at Kiawah Island.


Tyrrell Hatton

Rob Schumacher/USA TODAY Sports

The somewhat volatile Englishman has won a tournament each season since 2019 and is the reigning Abu Dhabi HSBC champ from this year. Oddsmakers are a big fan of Hatton, who has placed inside the top 10 six times at major tournaments. Most recently, he tied for 18th at Augusta in 2021. Look for Hatton to possibly be a factor at the Open Championship, where he put up a T6 back in 2019 and a T5 in ’16. 


Daniel Berger

Orlando Ramirez/USA TODAY Sports

The winner at Pebble Beach this year, Berger is an intriguing option when it comes to his major potential. He returned to action at the Byron Nelson following nearly a month off from tournament action, so we expect him to regain his focus. A consistent talent, Berger has two top-10 finishes in major play (none beyond 2018) but missed the cut at the Masters this season. His decent play in 2021 makes Berger someone worth watching, at least to contend on any given major weekend.


Sam Burns

Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports

Burns has made more than $2.7 million as of early May, thanks to his first career PGA Tour victory at the Valspar Championship. That was preceded by a tie for fourth at the Zurich Classic. He’ll turn 25 in July but seems to be playing well above his years while showing the confidence of a seasoned veteran. Whether all that’s enough to record a major championship victory this season remains to be seen.


Will Zalatoris

Rob Schumacher/USA TODAY Sports

Following his second-place finish at the Masters, Zalatoris has gone from a long shot to a possible major favorite in 2021. Let’s not forget that he tied for sixth at last year’s U.S. Open, giving Zalatoris top-10s in his last two major events. Now, he’s never played the PGA Championship or the Open Championship, but that might not matter if Zalatoris continues to build momentum and confidence.


Tony Finau

Stephen Lew/USA TODAY Sports

At 31, it seems maybe time is running out on Finau to win a major championship. If that makes sense? There just seems to be a little Rickie Fowler aura lurking around Finau, a talented golfer who has just one professional victory, but nine top-10 finishes in majors. The story with Finau, though, is that he’s not a closer. He has four top-fives on his major resume and tied for 10th at the Masters this year, but we’re still wondering if he’ll finally get over the hump.


Cameron Smith

Stephen Lew/USA TODAY Sports

The man with the mullet , Smith has become a popular figure on the PGA Tour while enjoying a strong start to 2021. Smith has placed inside the top 10 in six of his first 15 events this season and made 14 cuts over that span. He teamed with Marc Leishman to win the Zurich Classic and tied for 10th at the Masters. That all sounds like a guy who might be ready to take the next step in his career and pull out a major victory. 


Paul Casey

Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports

We talked about a sentimental favorite in Matt Kuchar earlier on this list. The same goes for Casey, who turns 44 in July. He hasn’t won a PGA Tour event since 2019, but he seems to turn up his game when it comes to the majors. Though he’s still searching for that first major title, Casey has finished within the top 10 in such events on 10 occasions during his career. Casey tied for second at last year’s PGA Championship, which is up next on the major docket.


23 of 25

Xander Schaufele

Xander Schaufele

Jim Dedmon/USA TODAY Sports

Among the PGA Tour leaders with six top-10 finishes (heading into the Byron Nelson). Schaufele has been a stud when it comes to contending at major championships. In the 15 majors events he’s started, Schaufele has placed inside the top 10 on eight occasions. That included a tie for third at this year’s Masters. All that seems to add up to Schaufele close to sealing the major deal.


Viktor Hovland

Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports

As of May 12, Hovland recorded six top-10 finishes, won the Mayakoba Golf Classic in December, and also finished second twice and third another two times this season. It’s probably safe to say that Hovland is the “It” guy on the PGA Tour. Perhaps it’s only a matter of time before he wins a major. Will that time come sooner rather than later? Hovland’s major tournament experience totals six events. He tied for 21st at Augusta in April.


Jon Rahm

Stephen Lew/USA TODAY Sports

Entering the Byron Nelson, Rahm led the PGA Tour with nine top-10 finishes this season. There’s no doubt he’s currently the best player in the world who has yet to win a major championship. Maybe because he’s placed inside the top five in at least one major tournament every year, starting in 2018. Rahm finished tied for fifth at the Masters this season. The question, however, is whether the pressure to win a major is starting to mount for Rahm?

Jeff Mezydlo has written about sports and entertainment online and for print for more than 25 years. He grew up in the far south suburbs of Chicago, 20 minutes from the Mascot Hall of Fame in Whiting, Ind. He’s also the proud father of 11-year-old Matthew, aka “Bobby Bruin,” mascot of St. Robert Bellarmine School in Chicago. You can follow Jeff at @jeffm401.


Click here to get More Details

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *