Europe’s Major Hopes Need to Buck Up Ideas

Another major. Another misfire. The high hopes of Henrik Stenson et al squashed. The European drought continued in Augusta. A drought that increasingly looks like a famine.

We’ve been here before. There were 18 long years between Max Faulkner clinching the British Open and Tony Jacklin replicating the feat. Another nine years passed from Jacklin’s US Open victory and Seve Ballesteros winning the British version. 

Perhaps I am slightly spoilt. Seve’s 1979 victory at Royal Lytham began a purple patch for those of us in Europe. Seve, Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer, Jose Maria Olazabal and Sandy Lyle became multiple major winners. Ian Woosnam and Paul Lawrie chipped in with famous single victories.

In 1999 Olazabal’s Masters victory was complimented by Paul Lawrie winning the Open. But after the cheers of that year came the silence of the new millennium. 

The difference between this losing streak and those of the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s is that we should be winning majors now. We can win the Ryder Cup. We have more players than ever acquitting themselves on the US tour. We have nine players in the world’s top 30.

And since 1999 Rich Beem, Ben Curtis and Zach Johnson himself have all come from relative obscurity to win majors. No unknown European has made that leap into immortality. 

Of the big guns Sergio Garcia and Padraig Harrington should have won by now. Others, like Darren Clarke, may now rue missing out when they had the game to conquer one of the majors. Colin Montgomerie is the master of the near miss – but surely the clock is rapidly counting down on Monty’s chances.

So what’s the problem? It can’t be preparation – exposure to the US Tour has brought a new level of professionalism in Europe. Seve, Faldo, Woosnam, Lyle, Langer and Olazabal have proved we can win in America. The Ryder Cup shows we have players with big games for big occasions. 

And as Beem, Curtis and myriad others have proved Tiger doesn’t win every major. 

It strikes me, despite the countless theories, as an almost unsolvable mystery. My only answer is that the European players buck up their ideas and realise that the Ryder Cup only comes with a limited amount of bragging rights.

It’s time for the Europeans to shape up. I want one of the majors back and I want it as soon as possible. Guys, it’s over to you!

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