Lucas Glover should be able to win multiple majors, says Stan Awtrey. (How/Getty Images)
What are the odds that 2009 major winners can add to totals?
With major victories already this year, Angel Cabrera, Lucas Glover and Stewart Cink have earned the respect of their peers. Now the question is: Could any of them add to their totals or are they done?
By Stan Awtrey, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
The men who won the first three major championships this year might not exactly move the television needle. And there's a pretty good chance you wouldn't recognize any of them in the buffet line at the Golden Corral. But this trio of champions has earned the respect of their peers and should be embraced by the golfing public.
With the final major of the year, the PGA Championship, being contested this week at Hazeltine National, it's a good time to assess these players and determine their long-range prospects. Can they win additional major championships or are they done?
Masters champ Angel Cabrera has now won two majors, which also happen to be his only two victories in America. He's certainly proven that he's capable of holding up during pressurized situations; he beat Tiger Woods to win the U.S. Open at Oakmont in 2007 and came from behind to catch, and then beat, Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell in a playoff at Augusta National this spring.
Cabrera may not be warm and fuzzy, but there's a lot about his game that should make him appealing to fans. Have you noticed how fast he plays? His pre-shot routine consists of taking a look and swinging the club. Even in the first playoff hole at the Masters, when Cabrera was behind a tree, he made a decision and took his shot. His determination is to be commended. His courage is beyond question.
Cabrera has a great touch you don't often associate with such a big, barrel-chested man. Sure, he kills the ball off the tee, but he has a deft touch around the greens that's reminiscent of the greats. And he never gives up.
What are his chances of winning another major? He turns 40 in September and that's about the time people stop competing for majors, but it seems like Cabrera is only starting to hit his stride as a championship player. He could easily add to the number and possible play his way into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
U.S. Open champ Lucas Glover had been waiting in the green room to make his big-time debut since he joined the PGA TOUR in 2005. It's actually surprising at it took Glover five years to get the job done, which he did at Bethpage Black in June.
Glover was always the Clemson product who seemed to have the perfect game for the professional level. He was able to control his emotions on the course and he always seemed to come up with the big shot at the big moment. In his rookie year on TOUR he won the FUNAI Classic at Walt Disney World Resort by draining a 40-foot putt on the 17th hole and holing a 100-foot bunker shot on the 18th hole.
But Glover wasn't able to build on that success. He never played poorly; he just never won, which is exactly what people expected him to do. He was seen as a guy who might be a stalwart for many years on international teams, but he failed to make the 2006 or the 2008 Ryder Cup team. It seemed he wanted it too badly and kept getting in his own way.
So Glover took last fall off and cleared his head, and the payoff came this summer when he held on to win the U.S. Open. He should be a member of the Presidents Cup team for the second time and he's moved up to No. 20 in the Official World Golf Rankings.
"If I can win this one, I guess I can play all right," Glover said after the win at Bethpage.
What are his chances of winning another major? He turns 30 in November, so Glover should be coming into his own. Being a Southern boy, he'd love to win the Masters, but will be happy with anything. When it comes to majors, don't expect him to be one-and-done.
Open Championship winner Stewart Cink has worn high expectations since he graduated from Georgia Tech. He's been a consistent force on the PGA TOUR since he earned his card in 1997 and won with enough frequency to stay on the national radar. Cink was good enough to play his way onto the last four Ryder Cup teams.
But for some reason he wasn't able to get it done in the majors. In fact, just when he was about to start facing a lot of questions about his record in the Big Four (0-for-49), Cink broke through by winning the Open Championship at Turnberry. It was probably the least likely of the majors for him to win: Cink had missed the cut in three of the last four British Opens. Cink admitted after the victory that he was beginning to wonder if it would ever be his day.
"I'm not sure I really thought much about whether I was good enough to win a major or not," he said. "I knew I'd been close a few times, but I never really heard my name tossed in there with the group of best ones not to have won. So maybe I was starting to believe that, that I wasn't one of the best ones to never have won a major."
Always amiable and pleasant, Cink, 36, could certainly win another major championship before he steps away. He has a good record at the Masters (tied for third in 2008), the U.S. Open (third in 2001), and the PGA Championship (tied for third in 1999 at Medinah). For this Butch Harmon student, it all comes down to his ability to putt; he switched from a long putter to a short putter this spring and has done well. On the weeks he putts well, Cink is capable of beating anyone.
Even if he fails to win another major, Cink has placed himself on a very short list of players who could become a Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup captain. He loves competing in the international matches and would enthusiastically accept the responsibility. Just ask him.