It is possible to carve out a perfectly respectable golf career without ever winning an event on one of the major tours. The prize money and kudos that comes with a handful of top 10 finishes on the European or PGA Tour would suffice for most of us mere mortals. But, having spent hours in the wind and rain swinging, chipping and putting those who have reached the elite level of golf want the glory. They want to win tournaments and more than anything else they want to win a major championship.
Each year the best players in the world compete for the four majors: the Masters, the US Open, the Open Championship and the PGA Championship. They’ll all have their favourites but in truth any of them will do.
Below is a list of who we judge to be the 10 best golfers never to have won a major (as of end of 2015). Some of them still have a shot at getting off this list while others will somehow have to get to sleep at night knowing that Keegan Bradley is a major champion and they’re not!
Miguel Angel Jimenez
Imagine how much fun a dinner party would be with the so-called ‘most interesting man in golf’ if he could regale you with the story of that time he won the US Open. Unfortunately for your imaginary dinner plans Miguel Angel Jimenez has never won a major, with his joint runner up finish in the 2000 US Open the closest he came (if you can call a 15 shot gap between him and Tiger Woods close, as Woods gave one of the best performances ever at a major).
Jimenez is not just one of the biggest characters in the game but he is a prolific winner with 26 professional wins and he’s also the oldest man to win on the European Tour but a major now looks beyond him.
If Matsuyama goes through his entire career without picking up a major win it will be a huge shock. At the age of 18 the Japanese star burst onto the scene with his victory at the 2010 Asian Amateur Championship. He went on to turn pro and win multiple events on the Japan Golf Tour before picking up his maiden PGA Tour win at the Memorial Tournament in June 2014. A top five finish at the Masters is his best major effort to date but with time on his side he will surely claim one of the big ones.
When Luke Donald reached the top of the world rankings in May 2011 people questioned whether he could justifiably be called the best golfer on the planet without a major title. He confounded those critics at the end of the 2011 season when he became the first player to top the money lists on both the PGA and European Tours but still couldn’t pick up a major. With swing troubles affecting him badly it would take an impressive renaissance for Donald to end his major hoodoo.
In 2014 Rickie Fowler joined Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus as the only players who have finished inside the top five of each major in one season. That year he placed second at both the US Open and the Open Championship and certainly has the game to win any of the majors in the future.
Fowler’s current wins include the so-called ‘fifth major’, the Players Championship, along with other big tournaments so he just needs to put it all together over a major weekend for us to see him presented with one of the big ones in his bright orange get-up.
Colin Montgomerie is not going to be remembered as fondly as Seve Ballesteros but golf fans could argue for hours about which of those two is the best European golfer of all time. Monty dominated European golf at his peak topping the Order of Merit an incredible eight times in a career which has so far produced 48 professional wins. However, he can be a prickly character and never won a major whereas Ballesteros was widely loved and won five majors.
Montgomerie still gives it a go in the majors and has finished second in three of them but his failure to close out for the win will be the only blot in an otherwise incredible career. He was often a great US Open bet but four top three finishes were as good as it got for him at that one and despite success on the senior tour, Monty will always wonder about the majors that got away.
Lee Westwood has done most things in golf but a major championship continues to allude him. He’s won over 40 professional titles and finished in the top 10 of 17 major tournaments in a wonderful career that stretches over 20 years and counting but hasn’t quite managed to win one of the big boys.
In 2010 Westy finished second at both the Masters (he was three shots back from Phil Mickelson) and the Open (he three putted on the final green to miss out on a play-off by a single shot). He’s still competing at the highest level and would be one of the most popular winners of a major should he manage the feat although as the years tick by this looks less and less likely.
Sergio Garcia would also be an incredibly popular winner of a major. The Spaniard is yet another European player on this list who has a career which almost any other golfer would be envious of but which will not be truly complete without a major victory.
Sergio has finished at least fourth in each of the majors and runner up an incredible four times. His extended break from competition in 2010 may prolong his career and with his amazing ball striking he is sure to be a threat in the majors for years to come. Many still bet on Sergio at each of the majors and time is still – just – on his side.
Some call Matt Kuchar “Mr.Consistent”, others call him a walking cash machine. Either way it is clear that Kuchar is one of the very best players in the game. He has a swing and putting stroke all of his own but has made it work to the tune of millions of dollars.
Cries of “Koooooch” have been heard all around the world as he rolls in another putt but he needs to improve on his showing in the majors to round off an enviable career.
There is very little to be said about Henrik Stenson that has not been said before. The best Swedish golfer ever has topped the rankings on both sides of the Atlantic, been a vital part of Ryder Cup teams and won tournaments all over the world. He even stripped down to his pants to hit a ball out of a water hazard.
Stenson is one of the best ball strikers in history but he’s never finished higher than third in any of the majors. After undergoing knee surgery to prolong his career, expect Stenson to continue to challenge for major honours for years to come.
Of all the incredibly talented golfers in this list none have been as unlucky in their quest for a major title as Dustin Johnson. At the 2010 PGA Championship he thought he’d made it to a three way playoff but was given a two stroke penalty for grounding his club in a bunker that he thought was waste ground and at the 2015 US Open he missed an eagle putt to win outright before missing a three footer to hand the win to Jordan Spieth.
Johnson is one of the longest hitters in the game and with all his ability a major win just has to come his way at some stage.
Betting on the Majors
If you want to have a bet on any of the majors, or indeed just about any other golf tournament going, the great golf bookies we work with all offer a range of free bets, enhanced odds and other promotions to help you profit. We also provide great value betting tips as well to give you just about everything you need to enjoy betting on golf – especially the majors where many bookmakers bring out even better freebies than normal, all of which we’ll cover here so you don’t miss out.