Commentary

Major win hardly assures more to come

Originally Published: August 10, 2010
By Bob Harig | ESPN.com

Louis OosthuizenWarren Little/Getty ImagesLouis Oosthuizen had missed the cut in seven of his previous eight majors before St. Andrews.

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. -- The victory was as dominating as it was surprising. Louis Oosthuizen took a five-stroke lead at the halfway point of last month's Open Championship and never really looked back.

He cruised to such an impressive win that many wondered where he had been hiding. After all, Oosthuizen had missed the cut in seven of his eight previous major championship appearances. He had but a single European Tour victory on his résumé.

Now we wonder whether he is destined for further greatness, if the light has switched on and his name will be on major championship leaderboards for years to come.

Not so fast.

That's no knock on Oosthuizen, who seemingly has the swing and the mindset to be a successful player, if not a consistent major winner, well into the future.

But plenty of examples from the past decade show that winning one major does not necessarily assure a player of a championship hardware haul.

This is the 10th straight year that we've had a first-time major winner -- and from each of the previous years, at least one player who won a major for the first time has yet to win another.

Here is the rundown, starting in 2001, and it serves as a cautionary reminder that nothing is guaranteed in golf.

2001

David Duval, British Open, Royal Lytham & St. Annes. Duval has not won on the PGA Tour since, let alone another major championship, and he has struggled to remain on tour for several years.

David Toms, PGA Championship, Atlanta Athletic Club. Toms has six PGA Tour titles since winning the PGA, but none since 2006. His best finish in a major since then is a tie for fifth at the 2007 U.S. Open.

2002

Rich Beem, PGA Championship, Hazeltine National. Beem capped a great year with his PGA victory, the last of his three PGA Tour titles. Since then, he has finished among the top 100 money winners once and missed the cut in 14 majors.

2003

Mike Weir, Masters, Augusta National. Weir has just two victories since winning the green jacket. He has seven top-10s in majors, the last in 2007.

Jim Furyk, U.S. Open, Olympia Fields. Furyk is probably the best of the one-major-and-counting bunch, a consistent top-10 player in the world. He has won seven of his 15 tour titles since capturing the U.S. Open. He has had three top-5s at majors since, including runner-up finishes at the 2006 and 2007 U.S. Opens.

Ben Curtis, British Open, Royal St. George's. Curtis was the shock winner in his first major appearance. He has won two PGA Tour titles since, both in 2006, and has three top-10s in majors, including a tie for second at the 2008 PGA.

Shaun Micheel, PGA Championship, Oak Hill. Micheel hit a memorable approach shot to the 72nd green for a tap-in birdie, clinching his first -- and so far last -- PGA Tour victory. He was runner-up to Tiger Woods at the 2006 PGA.

2004

Todd Hamilton, British Open, Royal Troon. In one of the game's great upsets, Hamilton dueled Ernie Els during the final round, then beat him in a four-hole playoff. It was his second victory of the year, but he has had just one top-20 in a major since.

2005

Michael Campbell, U.S. Open, Pinehurst. Campbell's game left him soon after he captured the U.S. Open. He did win the HSBC World Match Play Championship later that year, but he has no worldwide victories since. He did finish tied for fifth at the British that year and tied for sixth at the PGA, but has been plagued by injuries and missed 12 cuts in majors.

[+] EnlargeGeoff Ogilvy
Sam Greenwood/Getty ImagesGeoff Ogilvy has been streaky since stumbling into his U.S. Open win at Winged Foot four years ago.

2006

Geoff Ogilvy, U.S. Open, Winged Foot. The Aussie got a gift when both Phil Mickelson and Colin Montgomerie botched the final hole, and he has been a hot-and-cold player ever since. Ogilvy has won three WGC events and captured this year's SBS Championship in Hawaii, but he goes long spurts in hiding.

2007

Zach Johnson, Masters, Augusta National. Johnson held off Tiger Woods, among others, to capture his first major and has not disappointed since. He has added five victories, running his PGA Tour total to seven -- although his best finish in a major since his Masters win is a tie for 10th at last year's PGA.

2008

Trevor Immelman, Masters, Augusta National. Immelman has been hampered by injuries since winning his second PGA Tour title, playing just 13 times last year. He has no top-10s the past two seasons.

2009

Lucas Glover, U.S. Open, Bethpage. Glover had never made the cut at a U.S. Open before winning it, and he had a strong season with five top-10s and a 17th-place finish in the final FedEx Cup standings. He finished fifth at last year's PGA.

Stewart Cink, British Open, Turnberry. Cink denied Tom Watson's bid to become the oldest major champion in history and seemingly was poised to become a top-10 player, but he has just a single top-5 finish since.

Y.E. Yang, PGA Championship, Hazeltine National. Yang became the first Asian-born player to win a major and toppled Tiger Woods in the process. He has had a so-so year, with two top-10s, including a tie for eighth at the Masters.

2010

Graeme McDowell, U.S. Open, Pebble Beach. McDowell, from Northern Ireland, starred in college at UAB and collected five European Tour titles before winning his first major. He has admitted to difficulty in coping with all that comes with winning a major.

Louis Oosthuizen, British Open, St. Andrews. Oosthuizen won by seven strokes, and the victory was so dominating that it was natural to wonder whether he had more majors in his future. Playing in his first tournament in the U.S. since the win, Oosthuizen shot 65 at the Bridgestone Invitational in the final round to finish tied for ninth.

Bob Harig covers golf for ESPN.com. He can be reached at BobHarig@gmail.com.

Bob Harig | email

Golf Writer, ESPN.com