The 10 Best Golfers Never to Win a Major

Fred Altvater@@tolohgolfrContributor IINovember 12, 2012

The 10 Best Golfers Never to Win a Major

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    One of the lists a professional golfer never want to find his name on is the “Best Player Without a Major."

    Colin Montgomerie is one of the all-time leaders in this category over the last 30 years.

    He is fourth on the all-time European Tour wins list with 31 career wins.  He won the European Tour’s Order of Merit eight times and was also Player of the Year on the European Tour in four different years. 

    Monty's lack of a major title has even affected his consideration for the World Golf Hall of Fame.

    He won nearly everything there is to win in golf and was a key member on eight European Ryder Cup teams.  He captained the European Ryder Cup Captain that soundly defeated the USA at Celtic Manor in 2010. 

    Monty had several opportunities to win a major over his career.  He finished runner-up five times in major championships.

    Here is a list of 10 of the top-ranked golfers in the world who have not won a major championship and desperately want to win at least one before their golfing careers are over.

Sergio Garcia

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    Sergio Garcia burst onto the world golf scene as a bubbly teenager from Spain.  His golf game had a flair reminiscent of his fellow countryman the legendary Seve Ballesteros.

    He has had a stellar career and was ranked in the Top 10 in the Official World Golf Rankings for 300 weeks from 2000-2009.

    Garcia has won eight times on the PGA Tour and has 10 more wins on the European Tour, with total career earnings of over $28 million.

    Who can forget Sergio's fun-filled 1999 PGA Championship at Medinah Country Club just outside of Chicago when he battled Tiger Woods for the Wanamaker Trophy?  His closed eyes, flailing swing and subsequent run and jump up the fairway after his trouble shot shot from against a tree showed his enthusiasm and youth.

    At the time, everyone felt it was just the beginning for the precocious 19-year-old, and he would certainly win multiple majors.

    Sergio played a solid four rounds and was runner-up in the 2008 PGA Championship to Padraig Harrington at Oakland Hills in Detroit. 

    The tournament that has left a mark on his soul was his collapse at the 2007 Open Championship at Carnoustie.  Sergio had led the three previous rounds and had a comfortable three-shot lead at the start of the final round.  Needing an eight-foot putt for the win on the 72nd hole, he missed by inches and then lost in a playoff to Padraig Harrington.  

    Sergio has never had the same intensity and fire in his game since that loss.

    He has been a Ryder Cup specialist, and he always excels in the biannual event. 

    Why can't Sergio bring some of his Latin fire to a major championship and get his name off this list?

Dustin Johnson

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    Dustin Johnson is ranked No. 18 in the Official World Golf Ranking and has been one of the best players on the PGA Tour for several years.

    He is considered one of the best athletes on tour, and his prodigious length gives him a big advantage at most venues.

    Dustin has won at least one PGA Tour event in each of the last five years and has had three excellent chances to win majors.

    He had won the 2009 and 2010 AT&T National Pro-Am at Pebble Beach heading into the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble. 

    DJ led by three shots over Graeme McDowell heading into the last round on Sunday at the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.  Nerves and inexperience got the best of him, and his final round 82 moved him down to a tie for eighth place.

    He bounced back at the 2010 PGA Championship held at Whistling Straits.  He was in contention coming down the last hole on Sunday evening when he inadvertently grounded his club in a bunker on his second shot.  The subsequent penalty kept him out of a playoff, and Martin Kaymer picked up the hardware.

    His best finish in a major was at the 2011 Open Championship at Royal St. Georges when he was in contention until the 14th hole on Sunday and eventually finished T-2 behind Darren Clarke.

    Dustin is a very good player and, at 28 years old, still has plenty of time to add multiple majors to his resume'.

Matt Kuchar

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    Matt Kuchar is one of the nicest guys on tour, as well as one of the most consistent.

    Over the past two seasons, he has 18 Top 10s and 32 Top 25s, and he has won over $8 million.

    He won the 2010 Barclays in the FedEx Cup Playoffs and won this year at the Players Championship.  These wins in big events over elite fields prove that he has the game to compete and win a major tournament.

    Kooch was a factor in two majors in 2012, finishing T-3 in the Masters and T-9 at the Open Championship.

    He has four career PGA Tour wins and is ranked No. 17 on the OWGR.

    After some difficult years earlier in his career, Kuchar has seemed to find just the right mix of family and golf in his life, and he is a threat to win each and every time he tees it up.

    At 34 years old, his time is now. 

Ian Poulter

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    Ian Poulter just capped off one of the best years of his career.  He displayed an "out-of-body" golf game in the Ryder Cup and led the charge for the European win at Medinah.

    He just put on another of his unworldly putting clinics as he won the WGC-HSBC in China.  He won the 2010 WGC-Accenture Match Play event and is on the short list of golfers who have made winning two WGC events part of their resumes.

    Poulter is known for his bright plumage, colorful wardrobe and exceptional match play abilities. 

    He is also one of the best putters to ever play the game and doesn't need an anchor to perform his magic on the greens.

    In addition to his two PGA Tour wins, he has another 14 professional wins around the world.  Poults turned professional in 1995 and joined the PGA Tour in 2005.  He is ranked No. 15 on the OWGR and, at age 36, needs to get his major soon.

    This last win in China, plus his performance in the Ryder Cup, could give him just the boost he needs to get some major hardware in 2013. 

Steve Stricker

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    Steve Stricker just ended another successful campaign on the PGA Tour.  He has entered 416 events over his 22-year career and has made 308 cuts.  Over that time, he has amassed 93 Top 10s and won over $35 million.

    Not too bad for a quiet and humble guy from Madison, Wisconsin. 

    Strix has 12 wins on the PGA Tour and has won eight of those over the past four seasons.  He is currently ranked No. 12 on the OWGR but was in the Top 10 for more than two years and was the highest ranking American player while Tiger Woods was having his problems.

    From 2006-2009, he had five Top 10 finishes in major championships, but he has only had one Top 10 finish in his last 15 majors.

    Stricker has been a force on four Presidents Cup and three Ryder Cup teams.  He has finished inside the Top 10 on the PGA Tour's money list four times in the last six years.

    He was PGA Tour Comeback Player of the year in 2006 and 2007.  He also was given the Payne Stewart Award in 2012.

    These are all Hall of Fame credentials.

    Darren Clarke and Ernie Els have proven over the past two years that a 40-something can still win a major.

    The one gaping hole in 46-year-old Steve Stricker's illustrious career is the lack of a major win. 

Jason Dufner

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    Jason Dufner won twice and had one runner-up finish in 2012.  He climbed to No. 7 in the OWGR and is a factor every time he tees it up.

    He won $3 million in six Top 10 finishes in 2011 on the PGA Tour, which included a tough loss to Keegan Bradley in the 2011 PGA Championship.

    He added another eight Top 10s in 2012, plus $4.8 million in earnings.

    Dufner was also T-5 in the 2010 PGA Championship and collected another Top 10 in a major at the at the 2012 U.S. Open at Olympic Country Club.  He has had one of the best records of any golfer in the majors over the past three years.

    He has become known for his unflappable personality and accurate iron game.  He has even been compared to Ben Hogan in his ball-striking ability. 

    Dufner is a tireless worker on the range and, if he keeps putting himself in contention, will get his major.

    He is 35 years old, so his window is still wide open, but time is of the essence.

Adam Scott

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    Adam Scott is 32 years old and has been one of the top golfers in the world for over 10 years.  He won the 2004 Players Championship and added the 2011 WGC-Bridgestone to his resume.

    Putting problems have confused him and hampered his career at times.  He even went to the long putter anchored into his chest, and that has helped him regain some confidence on the greens and become a factor to win a major.

    He has won 18 events around the world.  He was runner-up in the 2011 Masters and the 2012 Open Championship.  Scott has had four Top 10 finishes in the last eight majors. 

    Adam Scott came just one putt short of capturing the 2012 Open Championship at Royal Lytham.  He had led after 54 holes but struggled throughout the final round to maintain his lead.  As it turned out, Ernie Els made a long putt on the 72nd hole, and Adam Scott missed his putt to get into a playoff with Els.

    His game is solid right now, and he could win more than one major title before his career is over. 

Justin Rose

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    Justin Rose gained international attention when he made a run at winning the 1998 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale while still an 18-year-old amateur.

    During his 14-year career, he has posted Top-10 finishes in all of the majors.  In 2012, Rose was T-8 at the Masters and T-3 in the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island.

    Rose performs very well in the big events and on the most difficult courses.  He won the 2010 Memorial at Muirfield Village and the 2010 AT&T National at Aronimink.  He won the 2011 BMW Championship a FedEx Cup Playoff event and the 2012 WGC-Cadillac at Doral.

    He has continued to improve and is reaching the point in his progression where a major championship title is a reality.

Lee Westwood

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    Lee Westwood has been the European Tour's Player of the Year on three different occasions, and he won the Order of Merit twice.

    With 22 career wins on the European Tour, as well as wins on the PGA, Japan, Asian and Sunshine tours, he has won all over the world. 

    He has been a member of eight Ryder Cup and four Seve Trophy teams. 

    Westwood has had eight Top 10 finishes In the last 14 major championships.  He was T-3 in both the 2012 Open Championship and PGA Championship.

    He has even decided to move to the U.S. and take up PGA Tour membership in hopes of winning that elusive first major.

    He has done everything that there is to do in golf except for win a major.

    At 39 years of age, he still could win several majors, but his window is beginning to close.  He feels a sense of urgency and may be placing too much emphasis on a major win to perform down the stretch.

Luke Donald

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    When Luke Donald became the first player to ever win the money titles on the PGA and European Tours in the same year, he won two events in the U.S. and two more in Europe in 2011. 

    He added wins at the Honda Classic on the PGA Tour and the BMW PGA Championship on the European Tour this year. 

    He was ranked No. 1 in the world for 56 weeks until Rory McIlroy finally knocked him out of the top spot.

    He is known for having a phenomenal short game.  Luke is not the longest player on the tour, but inside 150 yards of the green, he is money.

    He is committed to winning a major championship and has had three Top 10 finishes in the last eight majors.

    With his gritty grind-it-out attitude and short game, Luke Donald is always a threat to win at a major event.

A Few Other Names to Consider

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    Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Steve Stricker are possibly the most in need of a major or two to complete their careers and punch their tickets into the World Golf Hall of Fame.  

    Here are a few others that have performed at the top level over the last few years but still lack a major championship trophy.

    Nick Watney, Hunter Mahan, and Brandt Snedeker have all won big events.  Each have the game to win a major and should contend over the next few years.  They are all still young and have some time to get it done.

    Peter Hanson and Bo Van Pelt are two names that have performed well recently in majors.  They have both had solid careers and are very consistent.  

    Winning a major is viewed quite differently by the players and golf fans from any other tournament win.  Players put extra pressure on themselves and their games to get that Green Jacket, U.S. Open Trophy, Claret Jug, and Wanamaker Trophy.  

    Which of these golfers can pick up a major win and erase his name from the "Best Golfer to Never Win a Major"?