20 best golfers never to have won a major

2014 11 Sam Torrance Obe With The Bamp By Northcroft Golf

10 – Sam Torrance

Majors played: 41
Major debut: 1972 Open

Close shaves

The Masters: T31 (1985)
US Open: T16 (1996)
The Open: 5 (1981)
US PGA: T23 (1995)

The record-holder for most European Tour starts, former Ryder Cup captain Torrance has never had any difficulty in winning. With 21 titles to his name, he is joint tenth on the circuit’s overall ‘Career Victories’ list. However, he has only ever managed two top tens in the game’s big four, both in the Open.

Mitsubishi Electric Classic - Round One

9 – Jay Haas

Majors played: 86
Major debut: 1974 US Open

Close shaves

The Masters: T3 (1995)
US Open: T4 (1995)
The Open: T19 (1983)
US PGA: T3 (1999)

The American has won three senior majors, but he never could seal the deal in the ones that really count. His record in those events makes for decent reading - 86 career starts, 16 top tens, nine top fives, two third-place finishes - whilst he also won no fewer than nine times on the PGA Tour.

KLM Open - Day Two

8 – Thomas Bjorn

Majors played: 57
Major debut: 1996 Open

Close shaves

The Masters: T8 (2014)
US Open: T22 (2001)
The Open: T2 (2000/03)
US PGA: T2 (2005)

But for an excruciating visit to a greenside bunker on the 16th during the final round of the 2003 Open at Royal St George’s, Denmark’s Bjorn wouldn’t be on this list. A 15-time winner on the European Tour, Bjorn is now 44 and will be well aware he is running out chances to get that major monkey off his back.

Bruce Crampton

7 – Bruce Crampton

Majors played: 56
Major debut: 1956 Open

Close shaves

The Masters: T2 (1972)
US Open: 2 (1972)
The Open: T13 (1956)
US PGA: 2 (1973/75)

In the history of Australian golfers on the PGA Tour, only Greg Norman and Jim Ferrier have won more than Crampton. The difference between him and them? They both won majors. His big problem? He played slap-bang in the middle of the Jack Nicklaus era.

Sanders Misses Putt

6 – Doug Sanders

Majors played: 49
Major debut: 1957 Masters

Close shaves

The Masters: T4 (1966)
US Open: T2 (1961)
The Open: T2/2 (1966/70)
US PGA: T2 (1959)

Self-taught and snazzily-styled, Sanders was a prolific winner on the PGA Tour, winning 20 times in a 16-year period between 1956 and 1972. A major victory, however, eluded him throughout his career. His most infamous of those near misses was, of course, the 1970 Open at St Andrews.

FedEx St. Jude Classic - Round Three

5 – Steve Stricker

Majors played: 66
Major debut: 1993 US Open

Close shaves

The Masters: T6 (2009)
US Open: 5/T5 (1998/99)
The Open: 4 (2016)
US PGA: 2 (1998)

Since turning 40, eight of his 12 PGA Tour titles have arrived. His major record is decent - with 13 top tens and 31 top 25 finishes in 66 starts - but for a player as talented as he is, you can’t help but feel he has under-achieved when it has mattered most.


4 – Harry Cooper

Majors played: 38
Major debut: 1923 US PGA

Close shaves

The Masters: 2/T2 (1936/38)
US Open: 2 (1927/36)
The Open: DNP
US PGA: 3 (1925)

Cooper won 31 times on the PGA Tour between 1923 and 1939 but could never translate that success into major glory. “Something always happened that I had no control over,” he once told The New York Times.

Northern Trust Open - Final Round

3 – Sergio Garcia

Majors played: 72
Major debut: 1996 Open

Close shaves

The Masters: T4 (2004)
US Open: T3 (2005)
The Open: 2/T2 (2007/14)
US PGA: 2/T2 (1999/08)


It was thought Garcia would become a legitimate and lasting rival to Tiger Woods. As it is, however, Tiger has 14 major wins to his name, whilst Sergio has zip. He has come close numerous times, most notably in the 2007 Open Championship at Carnoustie.

U.S. Open - Round Three

2 – Lee Westwood

Majors played: 74
Major debut: 1995 Open

Close shaves

The Masters: 2/T2 (2010/16)
US Open: 3/T3 (2008/11)
The Open: 2 (2010)
US PGA: 3 (2009)

There is so much to admire about Lee Westwood’s CV. World No.1? Check. Career money leader on the European Tour? Check. Multiple order of merit crowns? Check. A win on every major continent? Check. But not a major title.

Colin Montgomerie

1 – Colin Montgomerie

Majors played: 75
Major debut: 1990 Open

Close shaves

The Masters: T8 (1998)
US Open: 2/T2 (1994/97/06)
The Open: 2 (2005)
US PGA: 2 (1995)

When it comes to golf’s majors, Colin Montgomerie has had more close shaves than a Turkish barber. Five times a runner-up and twice pipped in a play-off, the big Scot has been agonisingly close to lifting one of the big four numerous times but has always come up just short. Major glory is, quite simply, the only thing missing from Monty’s CV.


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