Erin - With the past six major golf championships won by
first-timers, could there be a magnificent seventh at the US Open?
Ever since Jason Day lifted the PGA Championship in 2015,
the majors have been shared by players who had never won a major before.
Danny Willett's 2016 Masters victory was followed by Dustin
Johnson's maiden triumph at the US Open at Oakmont.
Sweden's Henrik Stenson then landed his breakthrough major
at the British Open before Jimmy Walker closed out 2016 with the PGA
The streak continued at the Masters this year, when Sergio
Garcia's long wait for a first major ended with a playoff win over Justin Rose.
Stenson believes the slew of first-time winners reflect the
fiercely competitive health of men's golf.
"I think the competition on a weekly basis is so tight
out there and so tough," Stenson said Monday after studying the course at
Erin Hills, venue for this week's US Open, which tees off on Thursday.
"It's so many players in the field that can win,"
the world number six added.
Stenson is uncertain whether the recent streak will
continue, or whether the crop of first-timers will go on to become second or
But he agreed with the suggestion that first-time winners
were inspiring other players to dream of victory.
"There could be something in that," he said.
"A lot of times you see that. If I go back to Sweden, I'm sure that
success is kind of pushing on more success. We've seen that within countries,
"It might be the case as well that you say, 'OK, he won
his first major, why shouldn't I win mine?'"
Stenson got his first look at the challenging Erin Hills
layout by walking the course on Monday.
He believes patience will be the key for whoever prevails
"Patience and par is always a good score," Stenson
said. "No matter how easy a hole might seem, stress-free pars are always
going to be good in a US Open, and patience. You've got to take the hits.
"There will be times when you want to get mad and it's
going to get to you, but you've just got to stay focused and press on."
Stenson is also predicting a roaring trade for local
"This is hayfever heaven, and I expect any local pharmacy
to sell out of antihistamines," he joked.
"I forgot to take my pills this morning, and I've been
sneezing about 50 times already."