With the possibility of all four majors being postponed beyond the summer, Dave Tindall looks at which of the leading players are the best late-season performers...
"A proven late-season performer. Hatton has won four times on the European Tour, three of those coming in October and the other in November."
Nothing is official yet but there's a chance that all four majors could be squeezed into a tightly packed schedule in the latter months of 2020.
At the time of writing, the US Masters and PGA Championship have been postponed (as opposed to cancelled) while the US Open and Open Championship look set to follow suit.
There are several educated guesses as to when they will be rescheduled but Masters officials are reportedly already looking at an October date. If that was the case, a US Open in September and a USPGA in November could be a possibility. The Open? A little trickier but it's not impossible to have two majors in a month. After all, before it moved in the calendar last year, the USPGA was played just three weeks after The Open.
Nick Faldo believes such a schedule could help someone have a genuine crack at all four if they got on a roll. That's asking a lot but it's a factor. After all, Brooks Koepka won the 2019 USPGA on May 19 and, just under a month later, added the US Open too.
The other angle here is that some players have been better performers in the latter months of a year than others.
Naturally, that could be down to the courses they play and how often they play but, if we do get all four majors in during September to December, those with winning form in those months would get a few extra ticks in the box.
So, I've gone through the world's current top 30 and logged how many wins (PGA Tour/European Tour) they've posted in the final four months of the year.
Why just the top 30? Well, that seems a reasonable group to focus on given that 30 of the last 32 majors have been won by players ranked in the top 30.
PGA Tour/European Tour wins from September to December
- 18 Tiger Woods
- 8 Rory McIlroy
- 7 Justin Rose
- 5 Justin Thomas
- 4 Dustin Johnson, Adam Scott, Tyrrell Hatton, Paul Casey, Matt Fitzpatrick
- 3 Jon Rahm, Marc Leishman
- 2 Brooks Koepka, Webb Simpson, Xander Schauffele, Bryson DeChambeau, Matt Kuchar, Francesco Molinari, Kevin Na,
- 1 Tommy Fleetwood, Patrick Cantlay, Louis Oosthuizen, Shane Lowry, Hideki Matsuyama, Bernd Wiesberger, Rickie Fowler
- 0 Patrick Reed, Tony Finau, Gary Woodland, Sungjae Im, Abraham Ancer
Obviously, there are caveats. Tiger leads by a mile but let's not forget he has 82 PGA Tour wins.
Percentages are worth noting too as if a player has scored over 50% of his wins in that time period, that has to count for something.
Seven players on the list stand out:
September has been an excellent month for McIlroy as he's won four FedEx Cup playoff events in the month. As for other wins in the closing four months, he's also landed a WGC, capturing last November's HSBC Champions in China, and he's twice a winner of the European Tour's season-ending DP World Tour Championship in November. Rory wins big late in the year; a revised schedule could suit him.
JT is third on the above list with five of his 12 wins coming in either September, October or November. He landed his first title at the CIMB Classic in November 2015 and defended that title in October of the following year. Since then he's picked up the Dell Technologies in September 2017 while he's also captured two editions of the CJ Cup (October 2017 and October 2019).
14/1 US Masters, 12/1 USPGA, 20/1 US Open, 22/1 Open Championship
Rose's game is currently in a slump so majors later in the year give him a chance to sort things out. But beyond that, his last four European Tour wins have all come late in the year - the UBS Hong Kong Open in October 2015, the WGC-HSBC Champions in October 2017, the Turkish Airlines Open in November 2017 and the Turkish Airlines Open in November 2018. Going further back, he was also a winner at Valderrama in the Volvo Masters in November 2007.
25/1 US Masters, 40/1 USPGA, 28/1 US Open, 22/1 Open Championship
A proven late-season performer. Hatton has won four times on the European Tour, three of those coming in October (2016 Alfred Dunhill Links, 2017 Alfred Dunhill Links, 2017 Italian Open) and the other in November (2019 Turkish Airlines Open). Now a winner on the PGA Tour having triumphed at Bay Hill, his odds for the American majors are tempting. Note that he's already had two top 10s in four starts at the USPGA.
66/1 US Masters, 80/1 USPGA, 80/1 US Open, 50/1 Open Championship
Another Euro star, who has done his winning at the end of the year. Fitzpatrick has five European Tour wins and four have come from September to November. His first was the 2015 British Masters in October 2015, he added the DP World Tour Championship in November 2016 and won back-to-back editions of the Omega European Masters in 2017 and 2018, both held in September. Fitzpatrick's best major finish is T7 in the Masters while he was T21 at Augusta last year. A late-season Masters could just suit him.
80/1 US Masters, 80/1 USPGA, 66/1 US Open, 40/1 Open Championship
The Aussie won the BMW Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2017 and added the CIMB Classic in October 2018. His one European Tour win was secured in December 2015 when he romped to a six-shot win in the Nedbank Golf Challenge. Oh, his one Nationwide (now Korn Ferry) Tour victory came in October (2008). All his top 10s in the majors have been in the US Masters or Open so they look the best bets.
45/1 US Masters, 66/1 USPGA, 33/1 US Open, 50/1 Open Championship
Schauffele has won four times in his relatively brief career so far but two of those have come in the study period. The American bagged the 2017 Tour Championship in late September and trumped that with a victory in the 2018 WGC-HSBC Champions in late October. Add in his record of five top 10s in just 11 major starts and his appeal is obvious.
22/1 US Masters, 25/1 USPGA, 25/1 US Open, 28/1 Open Championship