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15 … and counting? Another major looks wide open
Golf’s major championships used to be so easy to predict.
Tiger Woods could be counted on to win most of them. Mickelson would grab one every now and then. Occasionally, some little-known player _ say, Ben Curtis or Shaun Micheel _ would slip in to steal one away.
Now, it feels like a total crapshoot, a blindfolded toss at a dart board.
Over the past 15 majors, there have been 15 different winners. Amazingly, the last nine are all first-time champions. Come Sunday, who’ll be holding the claret jug, symbol of the British Open champion? Who knows?
Keegan Bradley. Bubba Watson. Webb Simpson.
“It goes to the depth of the game of golf on a worldwide stage as to how many great players are now winning and competing in major championships,” Mickelson said Tuesday at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.
The era of diversity started after Harrington won his second straight major title _ and third in a little over a year _ at the 2008 PGA Championship. At that point, the big stage was producing little drama. Harrington was actually a breath of fresh air, breaking up Woods‘ monotonous hold on the major events.
At the end of `07, Woods won his 13th career major at the PGA. The following summer, he dramatically pulled out the U.S. Open on one good leg, beating Rocco Mediate in an 18-hole playoff at Torrey Pines. All that was left to do was chase down Jack Nicklaus, who holds the gold standard with 18 major titles.
But things were about to change.
Woods underwent season-ending knee surgery after Torrey Pines, opening up things for Harrington. But the real turning point came the following year, around Thanksgiving, when the world’s best player was exposed as a serial philanderer. Woods‘ marriage fell apart and he dropped out of sight for five months, looking to salvage what was left of his reputation.
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
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