The 2023 golfing season is well underway, with a number of marquee events on the PGA Tour already taking place. And it won’t be long before the first major of the year is here. The Major season begins in April with The Masters at Augusta, before the PGA Championship, US Open, and The Open Championship all follow in consecutive months.
Last year’s Masters Tournament was won by talented American Scottie Scheffler. He held off a late charge from Northern Irelands Rory McIlroy, who shot a final day course record of 64. But after starting the day ten strokes behind tournament leader Scheffler, it was always going to be a big ask to overthrow the Dallas, Texas native, who duly won by three strokes. In turn, he picked up his first major championship, and surely it will be the first of many for the 26-year-old.
Heading into this year’s Masters tournament, sportsbook Bovada, where you can bet on golf online, make McIlroy the favorite to make up for last year’s disappointment and lift his first major in eight years. Whether the 33-year-old can finally climb back onto the top step of the podium and secure the green jacket remains to be seen. But in honor of the Northern Irishman being the betting favorite for the tournament, we’ve decided to take a look back through history at Great Britain’s most recent major winners.
Since 2010, British golfers have been a force to be reckoned with on the international stage. The country has produced some of the best golfers in the world, and they have been rewarded with some impressive major championship trophies.
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Graeme McDowell – US Open 2010
Graeme McDowell was the first to get the ball rolling with his U.S. Open victory in 2010. A native of Northern Ireland, the same as McIlroy, McDowell had an impressive amateur career before turning pro in 2002. He pulled off the major upset at Pebble Beach in 2010, becoming the first-ever European to win the U.S. Open that year.
The US Open 12 years ago remains McDowell’s only major success. He did finish in 5th place at The Open two years later, but that was the closest he ever got to repeating his finest hour. He won’t be complaining mind you, especially with the $1.35m windfall he managed to secure for the victory.
Darren Clarke – The Open Championship 2011
The next British major champion was Darren Clarke at the Open Championship in 2011. Clarke is one of the most popular players on the tour and was seen as a fan favorite during his major run. He had two top 10s in the event leading up to his win, and his victory was seen as a popular one by the golfing world.
Clarke’s victory was particularly emotional, coming five years after the tragic passing of his wife Heather. The Northern Irishman dedicated the victory to her and their two children, with his post-match victory speech triggering tears the world over. The Claret Jug couldn’t have gone to a nicer human being or player, and nor could the $1.5m grand prize.
The victory came as a surprise to many. Clarke had only ever managed three top-ten finishes at majors throughout his career, and they came around the turn of the millennium. So, the fact that he picked up this victory over a decade on for his best-ever major finish – a ninth-place finish at the 2000 PGA Championship – took the world by surprise.
Justin Rose – US Open 2013
Justin Rose continued Britain’s purple patch in 2013 with victory at the US Open at Merion. Rose had previously been the top-ranked amateur in the world and turned pro at 17. His victory at Merion included a memorable birdie on the 72nd hole to clinch the title.
Despite being born in South Africa, Rose qualifies as English through his parents. The family returned to the UK when Rose was a child, eventually settling in Hampshire.
Prior to his maiden major success, Rose had threatened to pick up one of golf’s top prizes. He finished third at the PGA Championship the year before his finest hour. After lifting the US Open in 2013, he would twice finish second at the Masters, as well as finishing second at The Open Championship. He picked up a whopping $1.44m for his US Open triumph a decade ago.
Danny Willett – The Masters 2016
Danny Willett made headlines in 2016 with his Masters victory. Willett is one of the most talented players on the European tour and was seen as a dark horse heading into the tournament. He pulled off the upset, becoming the first British golfer to win the prestigious event since Nick Faldo exactly two decades prior.
The victory began a purple patch for Yorkshire golf. Willett hails from Sheffield, England, however, resides in Rotherham, around 10 miles down the road. Just like Justin Rose before him, he’s a member of Rotherham Golf Club. And as you’ll find a little later in the piece, the great county of Yorkshire provided more champions down the line.
Rory McIlroy – PGA Championship 2012 & 2014, US Open 2011, The Open 2014
Rory McIlroy has been one of the most dominant players in the world since turning pro in 2007. He won four major championships between 2011 and 2014, including two PGA Championships, a US Open, and The Open. He has also come close to Master’s glory, finishing as runner-up to Scheffler last year, as well as enduring a final-day collapse back in 2011 to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory.
The Northern Irishman hasn’t picked up a major in eight years now, but many feel like 2023 could be his year. He has been world number one for a cumulative time of 111 weeks.
Matt Fitzpatrick – US Open 2022
Britain’s final major winner once again hails from Sheffield, Yorkshire. Proud Sheffield United fan Matt Fitzpatrick won the US Open last year and he will be looking to defend the crown on the tour this year.