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Majors Specials: Potential first time winners in 2024

Five players have become a Major champion in the last two years, winning one of the most important events on the calendar for the first time, and it seems likely that more will follow in 2024.

Scottie Scheffler made his Major breakthrough in the 2022 Masters, then Matt Fitzpatrick got off the mark in the US Open that year, swiftly followed by Cameron Smith in the Open Championship at St Andrews.

The 2023 Majors season also saw some new names up in lights. Wyndham Clark became a Major champion at the US Open, then Brian Harman caused an upset by lifting the Claret Jug in the Open Championship.

Here we take a look at five players with the potential to make the step up to Major champion in the 12 months to come. A quintet to keep an eye on in 2024.

Viktor Hovland - 12/5

FedEx Cup champion Viktor Hovland will have one main target for 2024 – become a Major champion. The 26-year-old Norwegian has just enjoyed the greatest campaign of his career and he seems almost certain to be a contender in every Major in which he tees up.

Hovland won the Memorial Tournament in June, before starring in the FedEx Cup play-offs, banking a ludicrous sum of money by following his BMW Championship victory in August with Tour Championship glory a week later.

Short-game improvements have helped make Hovland a more complete player and this greens-in-regulation machine has been threatening in most Majors, posting a top-20 finish in the last five. 

He was second in the 2023 US PGA. That event, played in 2024 at Valhalla, may be Hovland's best chance of a Major breakthrough and he is on offer at 10/1 to win the 2024 PGA Championship, and 12/5 to break his Major duck in 2024.

Patrick Cantlay - 7/1

Another former FedEx Cup champion who knows the next natural stepping stone in his career is to win a Major is Patrick Cantlay. The cocksure Californian has a disappointing record in Majors given his all-round class, but 2024 could easily be the year he finally delivers.

Cantlay has won seven PGA Tour titles – eight if including his Zurich Classic pairs success with Xander Schauffele – and banked the FedEx Cup riches in 2021. Third place in the 2019 US PGA is the closest he has come to Major success.

Cantlay has never missed a cut in the US Open, recording a top-15 finish in the last three editions, so maybe that event – at Pinehurst in June – will provide a first Major triumph for him at 18/1. The 31-year-old is 7/1 to win any of 2024's big four.

Xander Schauffele - 13/2

Cantlay's good friend, Xander Schauffele, will also expect to join the Major league soon. Schauffele relishes the difficulty of Major venues and has become a leaderboard regular in the most prestigious events on the calendar.

The 30-year-old - 13/2 to break his Major duck in 2024 - has played in 26 Majors, posting 19 top-20 finishes, including four top-threes. That hugely consistent Majors performance seems a solid grounding for the years ahead.

The US Open is a Major in which Schauffele has a magnificent record – never outside the top 15 in all seven starts – but The Open at Troon in July also seems a golden opportunity. Schauffele was second in the 2018 Open at Carnoustie and won the 2022 Scottish Open, so he is fond of links golf in Scotland and is 22/1 to win the Open in 2024.

Max Homa - 8/1

Victory in the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa in November showed what a global golfer Max Homa has become – and the Californian is another player who will be looking to contend for Major glory in the summer.

Homa posted his first Major top-10 finish in the 2023 Open and the 33-year-old is slowly but surely improving what was a poor Majors record. Pinehurst, venue for the 2024 US Open, could prove a wonderful opportunity and he is priced at 40/1 to come good.

Homa is accurate from tee to green – typically excellent on approach – and Pinehurst should play to his strengths. He would be a popular champion.

Ludvig Aberg - 5/1

The most dangerous player on the planet in the months ahead may be somebody who has never even teed up in a Major. Ludvig Aberg has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the sport since turning professional last summer and the Swedish sensation should continue his progress in 2024.

Aberg, who has already won a title on the DP World Tour and the PGA Tour, will expect to be a factor in all the Majors. Despite his lack of experience, his all-round quality makes him a leading contender for any event in which he tees up.

bet365 have a market on players to win a Major in 2024 – and Aberg may be a popular selection. The Swede is 5/1 to win his first in 2024.

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