U.S. Open - Final Round
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It is strange, isn't it, that Scottie Scheffler is having the best season anyone has had since Tiger Woods in 2009 ... and yet, he has not (by any good pro's standard) played the best at golf's most important events in 2024. That distinction instead belongs to Bryson DeChambeau, who is just a couple of shots from having won two of the year's first three majors.

In fact, Scheffler is not even second or third if we're looking at major performance from a purely statistical lens.

None of this diminishes what Scheffler has accomplished thus far this season, of course. His six victories overall more than make up for the small margins by which he is trailing DeChambeau and Xander Schauffele (and Collin Morikawa, even!) at the major championships.

There is no criticism of Scheffler here only the utilization of him as a prism by which we can give DeChambeau, Schauffele, Morikawa and others their just due. Just look at this list of golfers -- all of whom made the cut at each of the first three majors -- ordered by aggregate score at those events.

PlayerTotal shotsTo par
Bryson DeChambeau824-28
Xander Schauffele829-23
Collin Morikawa835-17
Scottie Scheffler836-16
Rory McIlroy839-13
Tommy Fleetwood842-10
Patrick Cantlay847-5
Russell Henley848-4
Hideki Matsuyama849-3
Corey Conners850-2
Shane Lowry850-2
Tony Finau850-2
Keegan Bradley852E
Min Woo Lee852E
Harris English853+1
Cameron Smith854+2
Tom Kim854+2
Tyrrell Hatton855+3
Sahith Theegala856+4
Brooks Koepka858+6
Nicolai Højgaard861+9
Cameron Young863+11
Ryan Fox87321

This list will certainly shrink after The Open Championship as a number of these golfers will miss the cut, but there are a lot of interesting takeaways from distilling major performance down to aggregate score.

Shocker: Scheffler is fourth on the list! After winning the Masters and finishing T8 at the PGA Championship, he nearly missed the cut at the U.S. Open and settled at T41. That's where the top three made up a lot of those shots. It's also his only finish of the year outside the top 17 (which is stunning).

Even more impressive: DeChambeau's 28 under number pretty wild. Here's what Data Golf wrote about him in a recent newsletter.

It has kind of snuck up on us, but DeChambeau is one strong finish away from a historic major championship season in 2024. Through 3 majors, he has gained 48.8 strokes on the field. 

If he can gain another 12 strokes at The Open that will put him above 60 strokes gained for the major season, a mark that has only been hit seven times since 1983: Tiger ('00, '02, '05, '07), Spieth ('15), Phil ('04), Els ('04).

That 60 strokes gained figure is tough to reach, and DeChambeau still has a lot of work to do, but it even being on the table is awesome, and it's a testament to the track on which he currently finds himself. DeChambeau may well be playing the best golf of his entire career right now.

Better than expected: The level of success Schauffele has achieved this major season hasn't exactly been put into perspective. He jumped from 2.8 strokes gained per round to around 2.70 so far in 2024, which is startling. And his finishes at the three majors have been 8th, 1st and T7 (two of those being among his four best strokes gained performances in majors ... ever). Whether this level of play is sustainable for Schauffele (or really anyone outside of maybe Scheffler) remains to be seen, but it has easily been -- even outside his PGA Championship victory -- the best year of his professional career. 

The forgotten man: Morikawa is having a hell of a major season with T3, T4 and T14 finishes. If he somehow caps it with a second Claret Jug, he will get more of the attention he's long deserved. As it stands right now, though, Morikawa seems to be getting outshined (and rightfully so) by the three guys ahead of him who have all won majors.

Outliners becoming less common: It is more rare than ever before that somebody will break away and win a major while in the midst of an overall poor season at those events. As referenced above, your three major winners are all among the top four in aggregate scoring at this juncture. That has not always been the case, and it's possible the consolidated schedule has played a role in producing winners who played at a high level across four consecutive months. It does not mean there will never be one-off champions -- Wyndham Clark did not have a top 30 at a major last year outside of his U.S. Open victory -- but those situations will certainly be less prevalent than they used to be.

Only missing a trophy: Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy have both put together terrific, consistent major campaigns. It's been all top 30s for them and a couple of finishes near the top (Fleetwood at the Masters, McIlroy at the U.S. Open). A (not very bold) prediction: One of them will seriously contend at Royal Troon.

Excuse me?! Certainly did not envision Russell Henley beating Brooks Koepka by 10 strokes across the first three majors when this season started.