Who are the top golfers without a major win?

Best golfers without a major win Rickie Fowler Rob Schumacher/USA TODAY Sports

Who are the top golfers without a major win?

PGA Tour

Who are the top golfers without a major win?

(Note: This story originally appeared in the April 17, 2017 issue of Golfweek.)

The golf world for years wondered if Phil Mickelson had what it took to win a major championship. He answered the question once and for all in his 49th major start, winning the 2004 Masters at age 33 and claiming four more major titles in his next 35 attempts.

Dustin Johnson’s wait was short by comparison, the current World No. 1 getting it done in his 29th major start at the 2016 U.S. Open.

Henrik Stenson was 0-for-42 in major championships before breaking through at the 2016 British Open.

Sergio Garcia, of course, labored longer than anyone in the sport’s history prior to his first major victory at this year’s Masters, his 74th major start.

Each of the four was arguably considered the best golfer without a major. It’s the ultimate backhanded compliment, recognizing a player’s success while simultaneously pointing out his definitive shortcoming.

With Johnson, Garcia and Stenson all notching their first major wins over the past 12 months, there’s a fresh list of candidates for this timeless debate.

Taking talent level, past accomplishments, major experience, current form and potential into account, here’s our list of the five best golfers in the world without a major title.


Best golfer without a major win

(Getty Images)

Brandt Snedeker

He has eight PGA Tour wins and has won at least once in four of the last five years. Snedeker’s most recent brush with major glory came at the 2013 Masters, where he co-led entering the final round. He shot 75 in the final pairing and finished five shots behind winner Adam Scott. A final-round 74 cost him at the 2012 British Open, where he finished T-3, and he shot 77 in the final round of the 2008 Masters en route to another T-3. But, at age 36, he still has a few years to capture that maiden major.


Rickie Fowler

(Getty Images)

Rickie Fowler

There’s no question Fowler’s talent is major-worthy. That’s been apparent for some time. Now at age 28, with some still surprised he hasn’t won more than four times on the PGA Tour, his resume is solid but not mind-blowing. He has a Players Championship under his belt and ran into some tough luck in the summer of 2014, finishing two shots behind Rory McIlroy at the both the British Open and PGA Championship. This year’s T-11 Masters showing was his best major performance in three years, and he’s playing much better than he did during an up-and-down 2016. Multiple majors still seem likely for Fowler, but we thought the same about Sergio Garcia back in 1999. Stay tuned.


Hideki Matsuyama will go for his fourth win in five starts on Sunday.

(Getty Images)

Hideki Matsuyama

Matsuyama clearly knows how to close tournaments. The man has five international wins since October, including the WGC-HSBC Champions, Hero World Challenge and Phoenix Waste Management Open. It’s not like he’s been racking up wins against weak fields. And he’s been close at the majors before, with a T-7 finish at the 2016 Masters and T-4 finish at the 2016 PGA Championship. Did we mention he’s only 25 years old? Currently ranked No. 4 in the world and No. 2 in the FedEx Cup standings, we don’t expect Matsuyama to remain on this list for very long.


Best Golfer without a major win

(USA TODAY Images)

Matt Kuchar

Major or no major, 38-year-old Kuchar is living proof that nice guys don’t necessarily finish last. He has seven PGA Tour wins, 87 top 10 finishes and has made nearly $40 million on the Tour. His resume also includes wins at the 2010 Barclays, 2012 Players Championship and 2013 Match Play. His T-4 finish at this year’s Masters proves he still has a chance to get over the major hump before his 40th birthday. And he almost always gives himself a chance to play four rounds, missing the cut just three times in 28 major appearances since 2010.


Best golfer without a major Lee Westwood

(Golfweek File)

Lee Westwood

He hangs tough under pressure at the Ryder Cup, where he’s fifth all-time among Europeans with 21 points won, just behind Seve Ballesteros and ahead of Jose Maria Olazabal. For whatever reason, the 43-year-old just hasn’t been able to get it done on Sunday at the majors. He has 18 top-10 finishes and finished one shot behind the winner at the 2008 U.S. Open (Tiger Woods) and the 2009 British Open (Stewart Cink). He finished T-2 at the Masters last year and has 23 career European Tour wins, but time is running out if he hopes to join Garcia as a late-blooming major champion.

(Coming Thursday: Should Sergio Garcia be in the World Golf Hall of Fame?)

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