In the era of a five-Major season, which began in 2013, we have had 20 women winning a single big one. The days of any player dominating the game are gone for now as we've seen a flurry of first-time Major winners. But to be able to peak at one of the five biggest weeks of the year remains the ultimate skill and we still have a host of huge names who are yet to get over the line.
In no order we look at those who will be hoping to tick off a Major in the near future.
Alison Lee had offered little in terms of the Majors having qualified for the Solheim Cup team in her rookie season in 2015. There was always potential but never the results. Then she met Fred Couples in September of 2023 and she hasn't looked back since. They played together at the Berenberg Invitational Pro-Am in New York and the former Masters champion then began texting Lee to reinforce what a good player she is.
"He just was hammering into me like you need to believe," said Lee. "You're a good player. You need to go out there and believe you're the sh-- and you can do it."
And it's worked a treat. From going from playing on the lower tours and considering her future in the game, Lee is now a true contender again.
This is surely a case of when and not if. You might say that Charley Hull isn't a prolific winner but she's been playing on the LPGA Tour since she was a teenager and she won the Tour Championship in 2016. Otherwise there have been nine top 10s, there were three in 2018 alone, and it feels like she's getting closer with every season.
Her 2023 Major season was a curious one; there were three missed cuts while the other two were second places. At Walton Heath she pushed Lilia Vu for much of the final round, before that she closed with a 66 to threaten to land the ground-breaking US Women's Open at Pebble Beach. And it was here that she uttered the 'shy kids don't get sweets' line before taking on a shot under the famous cypress tree on the 18th.
Rose Zhang's rise is one of the game's big talking points. The Californian turned pro in June 2023, after a sensational amateur career, and she was then victorious in her first start after beating Jennifer Kupcho in a play-off, becoming the first player to win on her professional debut on the LPGA Tour since 1951. In her first three Majors as a pro she finished inside the top 10 on each occasion so, if we somehow needed proof that her game measured up to the really biggest stages, then we had already had it.
"I know that I have the mental grit to be able to compete well on these difficult courses, so going into a Major week, it's all the same, and it's the same kind of drive that I had in the previous ones."
Bizarrely Carlota Ciganda's two wins on the LPGA Tour came as far back as 2016 though the Spaniard has remained an ever-present threat to land a Major. In 2023 she closed with a storming 64 at the Women's PGA Championship but it wasn't quite enough to prevent Yin Ruoning from becoming just the second Chinese player to win a Major.
Then Ciganda was disqualified from the Evian in 2023 for signing an incorrect scorecard after she refused to accept a two-stroke slow play penalty. When Ciganda does make the breakthrough it will likely be a hugely popular victory and it would also be the first time a Spanish female golfer has won one.
Megan Khang somehow took 191 starts to win on the LPGA when she edged out Jin Young Ko in a play-off in 2023. Otherwise there have been a flurry of high finishes in the Majors and Khang is already a three-time Solheim Cupper and she's been slowly climbing the world rankings. Her best Major to date has been the US Women's Open, in which she made her debut at the age of just 14, and it might well be the one where she gets over the line.
"US Opens are such a challenge and I think kind of knowing that going into the week definitely helps the mentality. You know you're going to come out here, pars are always going to be great, and you've got to take advantage of the holes that you can."
Linn Grant still hasn't played in a Chevron Championship – she missed the 2023 version as she wasn't vaccinated against COVID-19. In May of the same year travel restrictions to enter America were loosened and the Swede then won on her fourth start on US soil. In 2022 she famously won the Scandinavian Mixed by a whopping nine shots from Henrik Stenson and Marc Warren.
As an amateur Grant contended at the 2020 US Women's Open when she played her way into the final tee time on the Saturday before falling away. Some observers believe that the Swede has the potential to become a World No. 1 and a Major or two in the near future is very foreseeable.
It might surprise you to learn that only two Japanese women golfers – Chako Higuchi (1977) and the highly memorable Hinako Shibuno (2019) – have won a Major. Nasa Hataoka has been in two play-offs for a Major, in the 2018 Women's PGA Championship she made a brilliant Sunday charge when posting a 64 that included two eagles. But she would then lose to Sung Hyun Park after the Korean added a second birdie in two holes. Then at the 2021 US Women's Open at Olympic she again finished strongly with a 68, only to lose at the third extra hole to Yuka Saso.
“On the first play-off I had to wait over an hour, so I was kind of excited. It got me all excited and uptight. But this one since it was right away, I decided I would just be relaxed, then just keep doing what I'm supposed to be doing, and this was the result.”
Leona Maguire led the Women's PGA Championship at Baltusrol in 2023 after both 36 and 54 holes but things didn't go her way on the Sunday and she would eventually tie for 11th. The Irish star has already recorded a top-20 finish in each of the five Majors and she remains a good bet to add to her two LPGA Tour wins with something on the very highest stage.
Of her week at Baltusrol, an effort that put her inside the world's top 10 for the first time, she explained: "It's one thing playing good golf in regular tournaments but knowing that you can compete with the best golfers in the world and at a Major, at a venue like Baltusrol, I think I take a lot of confidence from that."
Angel Yin has been playing Majors since she was just 13 and Solheim Cups at 18. At the 2019 US Women's Open a closing 68 left her two shots shy and her closest effort came at the Chevron Championship in 2023 in its first start away from Mission Hills. At The Woodlands in Texas Yin finished on 10-under, the same mark as Lilia Vu, but she then saw her approach end up wet at the first extra hole from the middle of the par-5 18th fairway – and Vu would make a birdie four to put an end to things.
"I've just come a long way," Yin said. "I'm just really happy with who I am, where I am, and what I'm doing right now. Just a lot to appreciate."
Atthaya Thitikul is the youngest golfer ever to win a professional tournament at just 14 years and four months when she won in her native Thailand on the LET. Since then she has won twice on the LPGA Tour, both in 2022, which helped her to the No. 1 spot in the world at just 19. She had the lowest stroke average on the LPGA Tour despite not winning in 2023 but her consistency is something else, which is backed up by her Major efforts. In her last 12 starts she's posted five top 10s. If you were to make a prediction for a first-time Major champion in 2024 then Thitikul would be on most people's shortlist.
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Mark has worked in golf for over 20 years having started off his journalistic life at the Press Association and BBC Sport before moving to Sky Sports where he became their golf editor on skysports.com. He then worked at National Club Golfer and Lady Golfer where he was the deputy editor and he has interviewed many of the leading names in the game, both male and female, ghosted columns for the likes of Robert Rock, Charley Hull and Dame Laura Davies, as well as playing the vast majority of our Top 100 GB&I courses. He loves links golf with a particular love of Royal Dornoch and Kingsbarns. He is now a freelance, also working for the PGA and Robert Rock. Loves tour golf, both men and women and he remains the long-standing owner of an horrific short game. He plays at Moortown with a handicap of 6.
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