Winning one of golf's four majors not only takes an insane amount of talent; it also takes uncanny doses of composure and ice water running through one's veins.
The pressure of winning a major on Sunday can make even the most talented golfers crack.
Now, just because a guy has a collapse at a major, it doesn't mean he won't mature into a golfer that can handle the moment. After all, there was a long period of time where Phil Mickelson would have been a contender for this list.
Well, Lefty eventually figured out how to improve his decision-making and steady his putting stroke, and now his place among the all-time greats of the game is secure.
These next three golfers will not be able to follow that path, however. They are destined for excellent careers, but no major titles. First, have a look at this year's final Masters leaderboard.
Lee Westwood has had a brilliant career, but the former world No. 1 has not been able to catch that elusive first major. He's been close. In fact, as PGA Tour Media points out, he's been historically close:
On top of the top-three finishes, after his seventh-place finish at the Masters this Sunday, Westwood has finished in the top 10 of a major 17 times.
Westwood's remarkable ball-striking allows him to be a consistent factor at majors, but his shaky putting prevents him from winning one.
The pressure of hunting for a major title will amplify a golfer's weaknesses, and there is no place where the effects of pressure are more noticeable than on the greens.
In the following tweet from Paddy Power, Westwood's resolve is on display, but so is the appropriate amount of doubt:
At 40, Westwood is moving away from the prime of his career. As age takes a toll on his swing, he will be in contention less frequently, and when he is, he is destined to come up short again.
Over the last few seasons, I've been convinced that Matt Kuchar would have his major breakthrough. After Sunday, I'm giving up on this notion.
With two birdies in his first three holes on Sunday, Kuchar grabbed a share of the Masters lead at six-under. So what did he do on the very next hole? He needed four putts to get down on a par three and carded a double bogey.
It wasn't all that surprising. Kuchar has been terrible with the lead lately. In his two tournaments leading up to the Masters, Kuchar fumbled away back-nine leads in the final round to watch someone else claim the tournament title.
Kuchar wound up finishing fifth at the Masters, and this was the third straight year he's been in the top eight at Augusta. After his round, via Golf Channel's Jay Coffin, Kuchar had this to say on entering the final day of the Masters in striking position:
“It’s an exciting place to be but it’s a tough one. I don’t know how many opportunities you get at winning the Masters Tournament. I don’t know how many more I’ll get."
Kuchar's steady and consistent ways will surely land him a few quality looks at a major championship.
It's not all gloom for the 35-year-old. He has battled pressure successfully en route to winning The Players Championship and a WGC event.
Still, as Kuchar's failures in majors begin to mount, it becomes more difficult for him to overcome. He is destined for more major failures.
Hunter Mahan is a streaky golfer. He is one of the tour's better ball-strikers, but he can get himself into trouble, and his short game is inconsistent. Still, when he's in a groove, he's one of the best players on the planet.
He is not currently in one of his grooves. Mahan was decent at this Masters while finishing in 26th at four-over, but he was certainly never a threat. He was a serious threat in majors last year.
Mahan was in contention in the final round at both the U.S. and British Opens last season. He shot a 75 in the final round of both.
Coming up short on the big stage was not new to Mahan. In the 2010 Ryder Cup, Americans' hopes came down to Hunter Mahan beating Graeme McDowell.
Mahan had a pivotal chip to the 17th hole. He was about 15 feet away, and his chip shot traveled about a third of that distance. As you can see, it was not the most difficult chip:
Mahan was clearly broken up about his failure, and he gave an emotional and gut-wrenching interview following his match.
Obviously, I feel for the guy. He is a talented player with good intentions. He's just got demons in his head in pressure situations that he will never be able to conquer.
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