Sam Tremlett has a look at the nearly men. 8 Pros who are the best players never to win a Major Championship.
8 Best Players Never To Win A Major
In no particular order here are the players we think are the best never to win a Major.
1) Colin Montgomerie
Colin Montgomerie is arguably one of the best players to ever play on the European Tour. He unbelievably won the European Tour Order of Merit eight times, seven in a row from 1993. He has had 52 professional wins, but has come agonisingly close in several Majors never quite sealing the deal. In 1994 at the US Open he was in a playoff with Ernie Els and Loren Roberts but shot a 78. In 1995 at the PGA Championship he lost to Steve Elkington in a playoff after the Aussie birdied the first extra hole. He also famously double-bogeyed the final hole in the 2006 US Open at Winged Foot. Nonetheless, Monty was one hell of a player.
2) Rickie Fowler
“Rickie Fowler?!” I hear you say. Yes by now he should have won a Major. He seems to be a perennial contender in the big tournaments but cannot seem to hold it together, get a bit lucky, or hole a crucial putt. There is always something missing. In 2014 he placed tied 5th at the Masters, tied 2nd at the US Open and Open, and finally had a tied 3rd at the US PGA. He also had two top-5 finishes last year. For someone of his talent and scoring ability, he needs to win a Major especially considering all his American mates, Spieth, Thomas, Johnson, and Koepka, have all won Majors. Fowler is in danger of being left behind.
3) Lee Westwood
Now that Sergio Garcia is off the ‘best player never to win a Major list’, probably the next man most people want to win one is Lee Westwood. A man with 42 professional tournament wins and countless top-five, and top-10 finishes, Westwood has similarities to Monty in that he could never get over the line. At the 2010 Masters Tournament and 2013 Open Championship, Westwood had the lead after 54 holes, and yet average rounds cost him the tournament victories. Phil Mickelson actually won both of those Majors!
4) Luke Donald
Former world number one Luke Donald, has had 17 professional wins, but hasn’t had as many top-10s in Majors as you might think. He has had eight top-10 finishes in Majors with his best finish coming at the 2005 Masters and 2006 USPGA where he tied for 3rd. Although perhaps his defining moment in his career was in 2011 when he became the first man to top both the European and PGA Tour money lists.
5) Paul Casey
Along with Donald, Casey has also had 17 professional wins, but has had one more top-10 finish with nine. His best shot at Major glory was at the 2010 Open championship when he was four shots behind eventual winner Louis Oosthuizen. He shot 75 which gave Oosthuizen plenty of breathing space, whereas if he could have applied some pressure with early birdies, then who knows what could have happened.
6) Ian Poulter
Ryder Cup legend Ian Poulter has had a few close shaves with major victory, his closest arguably coming in the 2008 and 2013 Open Championships. Bad third round 75s in both tournaments cost him dearly as he would lose both by four strokes. If he could’ve applied some of his Ryder cup heroics into his Major game then there is no doubt he would have won one by now. Alas it has not meant to be for Poults so far.
7) Steve Stricker
At last Stricker stops the English dominance on this list. The American has 23 professional wins along with 13 top-10s in Majors. His career earnings are over $43 million which is the highest of all the players never to win a Major. His closest opportunity came in 1998 when he was tied with Vijay Singh for the lead at the USPGA Championship. Unfortunately Singh would shoot a two-under-par final round whereas Stricker shot level par.
8) Matt Kuchar
Finally Matt Kuchar rounds out this list. He came so close to victory at the Open Championship in 2017, and no doubt, had it not been for Jordan Spieth taking THAT drop and playing sublime golf in the last five holes, Kuchar would have won his first Major. That week he shot 65, 71, 66, and 69, and any other week that would probably have been enough to win but it was not to be. He will probably get some more opportunities to win a Major as he is only 39 and has some good years ahead of him, but time will tell if he can take one of those opportunities.
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