Masters

After Masters, top players eye more majors

2017-04-10 13:24
Rory McIlroy (Getty Images)

Augusta - Now that Sergio Garcia has donned the green jacket for winning the Masters, top golfers are already looking ahead to the next major challenges to come.

The first stop is June 15-18 at Erin Hills, Wisconsin, for the US Open on a course designed by architects to host one of the sport's toughest tournaments.

Then it's on to the British Open at famous Royal Birkdale, near Liverpool, July 20-23, followed by the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow in North Carolina from August 10-13.

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy, the world number two who finished in a share of seventh at the Masters, said he is keen to have another crack at the majors.

McIlroy's wins include the US Open, the British Open and the PGA twice, and he will fancy his chances later this year in all of the majors, but especially at Quail Hollow, where he has won in 2010 and 2013 and lost in a playoff in 2012.

"I'm looking forward to getting back out there in a few weeks and just competing again and having another chance to be in contention," he said.

"I think Erin Hills is a bit of an unknown to everyone. But Birkdale is one of the best Open courses that's on the rota. And going to Quail Hollow for the PGA and I've had success there in the past. So nothing but positives ahead I feel.

"And my game feels in good shape. It's just a matter of working hard and putting myself in position to win. I'll turn my focus to trying to get ready for the US Open in June and try to add to my major tally there."

Dustin Johnson, who won the 2016 US Open at Oakmont, will seek to defend his title at Erin Hills after being forced to pull out of the Masters following a freak accident.

Coming into the event as world No 1, Johnson damaged his back in a fall on the eve of the tournament and withdrew just minutes before he was scheduled to tee off for the first round.

"It sucks," he said.

LOOKING FOR REDEMPTION

Garcia, who won the Masters in a playoff on Sunday from Justin Rose, said his first major success in 74 attempts had given him a taste for more.

"The positive thing for me is I feel like I have so much room for improvement," Garcia said.

"I'm 37, not 22, but I still feel like I have a lot of great years in me. And I'm excited for those."

Top players who missed out on glory at the Masters will be queuing up to join McIlroy, Johnson and Garcia in Wisconsin and also at Birkdale and Quail Hollow.

England's Rose, twice a Masters runner-up and a former US Open winner, is looking forward to shaking off his disappointment at Augusta National.

"It's going to sting for sure," he said of the Masters defeat. "So I look forward. You know, for me, golf is about April to September.

"That's where the big tournaments are. That's where the tournaments that change your career are. So this is the first one of four.

"I feel motivated for the summer, and I will be moving on and setting goals very quickly after this."

Another player who will be looking for redemption later this year will be Australian Jason Day, who came to Augusta National ranked third in the world but had a disappointing outing by his standards, finishing in a tie for 22nd place.

Day won his first major title at the 2015 PGA Championship and the 27-year-old Queenslander is expected to be in the hunt for more this year.

Read more on:    masters  |  dustin johnson  |  rory mcilroy  |  justin rose  |  golf
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