The next major after winning a major: Ernie Els looks for solid effort

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog that focuses on stats that go beyond the numbers.

English: Golfer Ernie Els walks up the fairway...

Ernie Els (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reigning British Open champ Ernie Els shot a 72 yesterday and was tied for 45th after day one, six shots back of leader Carl Petterson after the first round of the PGA Championship.

It has been well-documented that in the last 16 majors there have been 16 different winners. This goes back to 2008 when Padraig Harrington won the 2008 British Open and then won the 2008 PGA Championship. Since then, we have had a different winner of the majors in all 16 events; when Els won the 2012 British Open he became the 16th different golfer to win a major in the last 16 events.

In looking at the last 16 winners of the majors, we discover that they haven’t played all that well in the next major following their major victory. In fact, of the last eight major winners, four did not make the cut in their next major, one did not play in the next major, and the other three finished tied for ninth, tied for 25th and tied for 27th.

Of the last 16 major winners, only three finished in the top 10 in the next major. Of these 16, Louis Oosthuizen has the distinction of missing the cut in the majors prior to and after winning a major. Oosthuizen won the 2010 British Open after missing the cut at the 2010 US Open and he missed the cut weeks later at the next major, the 2010 PGA Championship.

Following is a look at how well each of the winners from the past 16 majors have done in the major before their major victory and how well they performed in the major after their major win.

Golfer, Year-Major win, previous major to win… next major after win

Padraig Harrington, 2008-PGA Championship: Won 2008 British Open… tied for 35th at 2009 Masters

Angel Cabrera, 2009-Masters: tied for 20th at 2008 PGA… tied for 54th at 2009 US Open

Lucas Glover, 2009-US Open: did not play in 2009 Masters… missed cut at 2009 British Open

Stewart Cink, 2009-British Open: tied for 27th at 2009 US Open… tied for 67th at 2009 PGA

Yang Yong-eun, 2009-PGA Championship: did not play in the 2009 British Open… tied for 8th at 2010 Masters

Phil Mickelson, 2010-Masters: finished 73rd at 2009 PGA… tied for 4th at 2010 US Open

Graeme McDowell, 2010 US Open: missed the cut at the 2010 Masters… tied for 23rd at 2010 British Open

Louis Oosthuizen, 2010 British Open: missed cut at 2010 US Open… missed cut at 2010 PGA

Martin Kaymer, 2010 PGA Championship: tied for 7th at 2010 British Open… missed cut at 2011 Masters

Charl Schwartzel, 2011 Masters: tied for 18th at 2010 PGA… tied for 9th at 2011 US Open

Rory McIlroy, 2011 US Open: tied for 15th at 2011 Masters… tied for 25th at 2011 British Open

Darren Clarke, 2011 British Open: did not play in 2011 US Open… missed cut at 2011 PGA

Keegan Bradley, 2011 PGA Championship: did not play in 2011 British Open… tied for 27th at 2012 Masters

Bubba Watson, 2012 Masters: tied for 26th at 2011 PGA Championship… missed cut at 2012 US Open

Webb Simpson, 2012 US Open: tied for 44th at 2012 Masters… did not play in 2012 British Open

Ernie Els, 2012 British Open: finished 9th at 2012 US Open… (where will he finish in the 2012 PGA Championship?)

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