Imagine Golf Blogs

High Hopes for UK and Ireland Players at 2011 Majors

Can Westwood and co emulate McDowell and bring the majors to the UK

Posted May 16, 2011 by Chris White

Luke Donald is up to number 2 in the world

Golfers from the UK and Ireland currently make up nine of the top 50 places in the world rankings, and five out of the top 10, so when did the British golfers get so good and can they keep it going? It certainly looks that way.

Lee Westwood currently leads the world rankings, and having finished three shots behind KJ Choi at the Players Championship and tied for fourth at Sawgrass, Luke Donald is hot on his heels. Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell remains fifth, despite the disastrous end to his round at Sawgrass.

Rory McIlroy remains just behind his countryman in sixth place, while Paul Casey is in ninth. Ian Poulter is ranked 22nd, Scotsman Martin Laird is in 24th, Justin Rose 28th, and Irishman Padraig Harrington is in 43rd.

In recent years, golfers from the UK and Ireland have caught up with the Americans and Europeans who have lead the rankings for so many years before, and more and more of our players are challenging for the top honours. If Donald had won at Sawgrass, he would have overtaken Westwood and become world number one for the first time in his career.

While the American contingent in the top 50 is still strong, the majority are finding themselves slipping down the world rankings rather than up, and you have to feel that more tournaments are going to be won by players from the UK and Ireland.

With the Open now just two months away, hopes are high for a homegrown winner at Royal St George’s in Kent. Although Padraig Harrington won it twice in a row, in 2007 and 2008, no homegrown player has won since the turn of the millennium, and South African Louis Oosthuizen currently holds the claret jug.

With Graeme McDowell’s success at the US Open in 2010, the other golfers from the UK and Ireland will be looking to get their hands on a major too, and what better place is there to do it than at the Open. With the US Open the next major, followed by the Open and then the PGA Championship, there are high hopes over here. They certainly have the ability – and importantly the momentum – to do so, so there is no reason why we can’t see a winner, if not more, from the UK or Ireland this year.

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