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The second major of the season, the US PGA Championship, is almost upon us.

The championship is known for having the strongest field of the four majors, but the Wanamaker Trophy has eluded a host of world-class players over the years.

Here is a look at seven of the biggest names to miss out on PGA Championship glory…

Arnold Palmer

A win at the PGA Championship would’ve completed the grand slam, and Palmer came ever so close with three runners-up finishes. The seven-time major champion holds the tournament record for 37 consecutive starts but only held the lead after any round once in his career.

Tom Watson

Similarly, the PGA Championship was the only piece of the grand slam puzzle missing from Watson’s career. The eight-time major champ finished second in 1978, but it will be a memorable finish for the wrong reasons, as Watson held a five-shot lead heading into the final round before losing in a playoff.

Ernie Els

The former world number one has two third-place finishes to his name and, between 2003 and 2009, finished inside the top six in as many starts. ‘The Big Easy’ held the third-round lead in 1995, a year after winning the US Open, but carded a one-over-par Sunday 72 and fell two shots off the pace.

• The History of the Wanamaker trophy

Seve Ballesteros

The Spaniard won five major championships, including three claret jugs and two green jackets, but failed to show what he was capable of in the PGA Championship. Seve only made eight starts in the event and, despite his worst finish being T33 in his debut effort, could only come as close as 5th in 1984.

Billy Casper

One of the most prolific winners on Tour, Casper tasted success on the PGA Tour 51 times between 1956 and 1975 but couldn’t get his hands on the Wanamaker trophy. Regarded as the most underrated golfer in history, the American won The US Open twice and The Masters but had to settle for second place on three occasions at the PGA Championship.

Greg Norman

The LIV Golf chief had a highly productive career, but it’s fair to say getting over the line in major championships wasn’t his strong point. Who can forget the Australian’s 1986 ‘Saturday Slam’, as Norman held the lead after round three in all four majors but only converted in the Open Championship. Norman’s two PGA Championship runners-up finishes also came after holding the 54-hole lead.

Nick Faldo

The Englishman is a three-time winner of both The Masters and The Open, but through a dominant period between the late 80s and early 90s, missed out on PGA Championship triumph. Faldo’s closest efforts came in consecutive years, with second, third, and fourth-place finishes between 1992 and 1994.

The 2024 PGA Championship takes place at Valhalla in Louisville, Kentucky.


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John Turnbull A graduate of the University of Stirling, John joined the bunkered team in 2023 as a Content Producer, with a responsibility for covering all breaking news, tour news, grassroots content and much more besides. A keen golfer, he plays the majority of his golf at Falkirk Golf Club. Top of his 'bucket list' is a round of Pebble Beach... ideally in the company of Gareth Bale.

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