SAN FRANCISCO -- A peculiar piece of history will be on the line at the British Open.
U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson became the 15th player to win the last 15 majors, matching the longest such streak since the Masters began in 1934. There also were 15 consecutive different major champions from the 1994 through 1998.
There are a couple of similarities between the streaks. The first one started with the 1994 PGA Championship when Nick Price won his second straight major that year. The latest streak began with the 2008 PGA Championship when Padraig Harrington won his second straight major.
In both cases, the streak reached 15 different winners at The Olympic Club.
More interesting, however, is that Simpson's win made it nine straight first-time major champions. According to research specialist Tom Ierubino, the longest previous streak of first-time major winners was eight, from Steve Jones at the 1996 U.S. Open through O'Meara at the 1998 Masters.
Does this mean that the depth of talent is greater than ever? Possibly.
Then again, Tiger Woods probably has something to do with that. He won 12 out of 35 majors from the 1999 PGA Championship through the 2008 U.S. Open. And it would make sense that with Woods recovering from a myriad of issues -- plus the fact he's getting older -- there is more opportunity for others.
There are plenty of turning points that kept alive the streak of 15 different winners. Louis Oosthuizen could have just as easily won the Masters this year. Woods gave up a Sunday lead for the first time at Hazeltine in 2009. Phil Mickelson had the look of a winner at Royal St. George's last year until missing a 2-foot putt on the 11th hole.
The streak ends only if one of those 15 major champions -- Simpson, Watson, Keegan Bradley, Darren Clarke, Rory McIlroy, Charl Schwartzel, Martin Kaymer, Oosthuizen, Graeme McDowell, Mickelson, Y.E. Yang, Stewart Cink, Lucas Glover, Angel Cabrera or Harrington -- wins next month at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.