William K. WolfrumThis Week at WorldGolf.com: Dec. 07, 2005

Mark your calendar:
A European will win a major in 2006

These days, if the winning trophy of a golf tournament says "Ryder Cup" somewhere on it, then Europeans need to be considered a favorite. If the prize is a green jacket, U.S. Open Championship Cup, Claret Jug or Wannamaker Trophy, however, there hasn't been much need to pay attention to the Europeans in the field, unless you're one of those fans that gets perverse glee from mocking Colin Montgomerie.

In 1999, Spain's Jose Maria Olazabal won the Masters and Paul Lawrie of Scotland won the British open. Since then, the devastating triumvirate of Shaun Micheel, Ben Curtis and Todd Hamilton hold a decisive 3-0 lead over the entire continent of Europe in major victories.

Sure, if you call home South Africa (Ernie Els, Retief Goosen) or New Zealand (Michael Campbell) you may have a shot at a major. But over the last seven years, if your address is in Europe, there really hasn't even been a need to show up to play golf's most prestigious tournaments.

"We have some great talent coming through, but how many have been up on a major leaderboard when it really matters?" Nick Faldo said earlier this year. "Winning majors is about holding your nerve under intense pressure. I know we can point to players for whom it just hasn't happened but I don't believe that's down to luck."

Well, Mr. Faldo, in 2006, a European will hold his nerve, and get some luck. Next year, a European will win a major.

You can call it the law of averages if you will, but this prediction lies more with European golfers and how they seem to be ready to take things to the next level.

Montgomerie is playing like he did several years back and has re-entered the world's top 10. England's David Howell opened eyes at the HSBC Champions tournament by holding off Tiger Woods for the victory. Spain's Sergio Garcia is, well, Sergio Garcia. Throw in Padraig Harrington, Luke Donald and Darren Clarke, and you have a solid list of contenders in Europe.

Regardless who it will be or what major it is, a European will win a major in 2006. But if not, at least the Ryder Cup Matches will be played in Ireland.

As always, WorldGolf.com welcomes your comments.

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