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Jimmy Walker hopes Masters' history is on his side

By Garry Smits | The Florida Times-Union
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AUGUSTA, Ga. -- History suggests that Jimmy Walker could have a good Masters week.

The Oklahoma City native and Baylor graduate is the most recent major champion, winning the 2016 PGA at Baltusrol by one shot over Jason Day with rounds of 68-67 on Sunday when he and nine other players were forced to play 36 holes because of continual weather delays.

Walker has made three cuts in three starts at Augusta, with a tie for eighth in 2014 as a Masters rookie. He said joining the major championship club last year has been an obvious thrill and despite a slow start this season he's convinced that a game good enough to win one major is good enough to win more.

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"It's cool ... it's fun when your friends talk to you about it and you're recognized as a major champion and stuff on the tee," he said on Monday during a news conference at the Masters media center. "I've been trying to keep grinding as hard as I can. I haven't had ... the best year or anything so far ... a couple of chances to have some good events. But I've been banging away, working hard and yeah, definitely would like to win this week. That's why I'm here."

Since a three-year stretch from 1994-1996 in which the PGA champion came to the Augusta National Golf Club the following spring and missed the cut (Nick Price, Steve Elkington and Mark Brooks), the winner of the season's final major has made the Masters cut 17 of 19 times the following year in the season's first major.

Day tied for 10th last year off his PGA victory at Whistling Straits in 2015 and Rory McIlroy finished solo fourth in 2014, after winning his second PGA, at Valhalla. The only two missed cuts at the Masters following a PGA title since 1997 were Jason Dufner in 2014 and Martin Kaymer in 2011.

Two players won the Masters after capturing a PGA the summer before, Tiger Woods in 2001 and Phil Mickelson in 2006. Woods also had two runner-up finishes at Augusta after winning the 2006 and 2007 PGAs.

More than half of the players who made the Masters cut since 1997 finished among the top-10.

This article is written by Garry Smits from The Florida Times-Union and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.