The top Major performers of 2020/21: Which players were best for golf punters?

Collin Morikawa won two but who else stood out in the rush of seven Majors played over the last 12 months?

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Collin Morikawa to win the 2022 US Open at 22/1 with Planet Sport Bet

After having seven Majors to bet on since August 2020, golf punters will suddenly have to go seriously cold turkey.

With the Open Championship now in the books, it's eight-and-a-half months until the next Major, the 2022 Masters.

Time to take stock then. A chance to have a closer reflection on what's just gone and maybe put some plans in place for next year.

Without doubt, the star of the show over this recent burst of Major golf was Collin Morikawa.

Last August, the American was a burgeoning talent taking his first footsteps at this level. Now, he's a two-time Major winner with a better strike-rate at this stage of his career than even Tiger Woods (Tiger won 'just' two of his first 21).

Morikawa won the first (2020 PGA) of the seven Majors played over the last 12 months and also the last (2021 Open). It was his first appearance in both events.

Between those two victories, Bryson DeChambeauJon Rahm and Hideki Matsuyama joined the Majors club while Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson increased their tallies to two and six respectively.

Morikawa was 28/1 for the PGA and 35/1 for the Open while Mickelson went off at a three-figure price. DJ and Rahm were favourites at around 9/1 but 25/1 DeChambeau and 45/1 Matsuyama went in at decent prices when making the big breakthrough.

While those six winners made the headlines, golf punters were also keeping a close eye elsewhere.

Many bookies pay out on 10 places in the Majors these days so plenty of each-way cash was exchanging hands too.

To reflect that, Planet Sport sifts through the top-10 finishers in all those seven 2020/21 Majors to produce a list of which players were best to bet on.

There were some surprising findings.

Who could have predicted that Dylan Frittelli would bank as many top 10s (two) as Justin Thomas over those seven Majors?

A total of 42 players managed at least one top 10 but that list didn't include Patrick Cantlay, Viktor Hovland, Tyrrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Sergio Garcia or Lee Westwood.

What sort of odds would you have got on that collective disappointment?

Anyway, time to focus on those who did shine, starting with that man Morikawa.

Collin Morikawa

2 wins, 2 top 10s

Morikawa had played just one Major (T35 in the 2019 US Open) before showing nerves of steel to close out victory in last August's PGA Championship at Harding Park with 13-under. He was again unflappable when landing the Open Championship at Royal St George's with 15-under, his price of 35/1 reflecting a previous lack of links knowledge. Morikawa also cracked the top 10 in two other of the seven 2020/21 Majors with T8 when defending the PGA at Kiawah and T4 in the US Open at Torrey Pines. His next mountain to climb is Augusta National (T44 and T18 so far).

Jon Rahm

1 win, 4 top 10s

The "why hasn't he won one yet?" chatter was starting to ramp up over the Spaniard and it would have been a huge disappointment had he failed to take any of the seven chances put his way. Rahm came up trumps in the sixth, birdieing the final two holes to score a dramatic US Open win at Torrey Pines, the scene of his first PGA Tour success. He also posted T7 and T5 in the Masters, the second after he'd just become a Dad, as well as T8 at the 2021 PGA and T3 at Royal St George's.

Dustin Johnson

1 win, 3 top 10s

DJ was in scintillating form in the 2020 Majors, finishing joint-second in the PGA at Harding Park and tied sixth in the US Open at Winged Foot before producing a dominant display to win November's rescheduled Masters by five shots after shooting a record score of 20-under. He suffered a dip in 2021 but showed a return to form with T8 at Royal St George's, his first Open top 10 since 2016.

Bryson DeChambeau

1 win,1 top 10

There was one huge high for DeChambeau when his bomb-and-gouge tactics worked a treat in the 2020 US Open at Winged Foot although, to be honest, he needed the other parts of his game to be on point too. That followed T4 in the 2020 PGA but he didn't manage anything better than T26 in the four 2021 Majors. He does have the win but golf's biggest hitter has failed to make the top 10 in 19 of his 21 Major starts.

Phil Mickelson

1 win

Mickelson hadn't had a top 10 in any Major since 2016 when he pitched up at Kiawah Island in pretty modest form. But the left-hander rolled back the years, leant on all his previous experience at this level (five previous Major victories), and produced a fairytale two-shot win after shooting 6-under. He wasn't a factor in any of the other 2020/21 Majors but his loyal backers didn't care about that after landing the jackpot at Kiawah.

Hideki Matsuyama

1 win

Nowhere near as surprising as Mickelson's but Matsuyama's memorable Masters win came somewhat out of the blue given that he'd not had a top 10 in a Major for four years and failed to win any event since 2017. Becoming the first Japanese man to win a Major was a fantastic achievement and, although he didn't manage another top 10, Matsuyama wasn't worse than T26 in the five other Majors he played in 2020/21.

Louis Oosthuizen

4 top 10s

The South African's backers must wonder how they didn't bag a win in the 2021 Majors. Oosthuizen was the 54-hole leader at Torrey Pines and Royal St George's and third with 18 to play at Kiawah Island but had to settle for tied second place in the PGA, runner-up again at the US Open and tied third at the Open Championship. Add in a third in the 2020 Open and he posted four top threes in the seven Majors: good for each-way punters but agonising for those who backed him to win.

Brooks Koepka

4 top 10s

Koepka bagged four Majors in eight starts during a fantastic burst between 2017 and 2019 but, despite confirming his reputation as a perennial challenger at this level, he wasn't able to add to his tally. After T7 in the 2020 Masters, he missed the US Open with injury and was still feeling the effects of a knee op when missing the cut at the 2021 Masters. But after that he was T2 in the PGA, T4 in the US Open and T6 at the Open to make it 16 top 10s in just 30 Major starts.

Scottie Scheffler

4 top 10s

Apart from Morikawa, Scheffler emerged as the new kid on the block during the seven Majors of 2020/21. The languid American was a leaderboard regular and managed four top 10s despite only playing in six after missing the 2020 US Open at Winged Foot with COVID. His first came at the 2020 PGA (T4) where he had a piece of the final-round lead while Scheffler added T8 (PGA), T7 (US Open) and T8 (Open) in the final three - and all at 40/1 or above.

Tony Finau

4 top 10s

Finau may still frustrate win-only punters in regular PGA Tour events but the smart cookies have been making good money on the American over the last few years by backing him each-way in Majors. That continued in 2020/21. Finau delivered four times with T10 in the 2021 Masters, T4 and T8 in the two PGAs and T8 in the 2020 US Open. He almost added another when T15 at Royal St George's.

Xander Schauffele

4 top 10s

Schuaffele also made the top 10 in over half the 2020/21 Majors but plenty of punters expected more - i.e. a win - when backing him at around 16/1. He rounded 2020 off with T10 in the PGA and solo fifth in the US Open and then added T3 in The Masters and T7 in the US Open. It's hard to argue with his strike-rate: Schauffele has nine top 10s in just 18 Majors.

Players who managed 3 top 10s

Paul Casey, Justin Rose, Will Zalatoris, Rory McIlroy

Players who managed 2 top 10s

Matthew Wolff, Patrick Reed, Harris English, Webb Simpson, Justin Thomas, Dylan Frittelli, Corey Conners, Jordan Spieth, Daniel Berger

READ MORE: Collin Morikawa halfway to the Grand Slam but can he beat Tiger?

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