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Who Really Is The Greatest Player Never To Have Won A Major?


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1 hour ago, rukahs said:

Monty deffo. Steve Stricker is on the list also. A decent english player too but I won't mention him due to his new part time job.

I'm curious, can we have another clue at least?

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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, Rocky Ball-boa said:

I'm curious, can we have another clue at least?

 

 

See the post above yours 🙂

 

He's had some good results in them too:

 

 

Masters
Starts: 21
Best finish: 2nd (2010, 2016)
Top 10s: 6
Cuts made: 17

PGA Championship
Starts: 23
Best finish: 3rd (2009)
Top 10s: 2
Cuts made: 15

U.S. Open
Starts: 20
Best finish: 3rd (2008, 2011)
Top 10s: 5
Cuts made: 17

Open Championship
Starts: 27
Best finish: 2nd (2010)
Top 10s: 6
Cuts made: 21

Edited by rukahs
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1 hour ago, elwhippy said:

Lee Westwood. Case closed. 

 

24 minutes ago, rukahs said:

 

 

See the post above yours 🙂

 

He's had some good results in them too:

 

 

Masters
Starts: 21
Best finish: 2nd (2010, 2016)
Top 10s: 6
Cuts made: 17

PGA Championship
Starts: 23
Best finish: 3rd (2009)
Top 10s: 2
Cuts made: 15

U.S. Open
Starts: 20
Best finish: 3rd (2008, 2011)
Top 10s: 5
Cuts made: 17

Open Championship
Starts: 27
Best finish: 2nd (2010)
Top 10s: 6
Cuts made: 21

 

If only Lee Westwood had lovely Helen on his bag earlier in his career?

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The honest answer is likely somebody that nobody is thinking of and many do not know about.  Who knows about any minority players who were forbidden/banned in the early days of golf, right?

 

All of the guys mentioned are the answers based on resume with Westwod being my pick to get one if he could.

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OK, I am checking the stats on the four majors.  For now, let us consider runner-ups and top fives.

 

Jay Haas: no runner-ups, and nine top fives.

Colin Montgomerie: five runner-ups, six top fives.

Lee Westwood: three runner-ups, twelve top fives.

 

So far, Lee Westwood has the best record, so maybe he is the one?

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Luke Donald wasn’t the best player, but he was indeed very very good. 

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I’d have to go with Monty. He was the guy on the European tour for quite a long time. Had a number of close calls in majors and certainly seemed to have the type of game to win one. The Ryder Cup really raises his stature in the game, but even without it he was a heck of a player. 

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Most wins on the PGA Tour without a win is Light Horse Harry Cooper…31 wins.  Macdonald Smith had 25 and zero and both had their career over nearly a century ago.  More recent vintage it would be Doug Sanders with 20 wins/zero majors.

 

Im not exactly sure what it tells us but the list with zero majors and quite a few wins is much more interesting on the Euro tour.

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_golfers_with_most_European_Tour_wins


https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_golfers_with_most_PGA_Tour_wins

 

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7 hours ago, DoughBack18 said:

I’d have to go with Monty. He was the guy on the European tour for quite a long time. Had a number of close calls in majors and certainly seemed to have the type of game to win one. The Ryder Cup really raises his stature in the game, but even without it he was a heck of a player. 

Agree.   Didn't he top their Order of Merit (money list) like 7 times?

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It is a tough choice between Westwood and Montgomey but I have to say Westwood. Monty has won all over the world except in the US, not counting senior tour, while Westwood has won all over the world plus on the PGATour. Stricker along with a number of other US pros could be considered but none have the "infamy" so to speak of Westwood and Montgomery.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/17/2024 at 9:40 PM, Shilgy said:

Most wins on the PGA Tour without a win is Light Horse Harry Cooper…31 wins.  Macdonald Smith had 25 and zero and both had their career over nearly a century ago.  More recent vintage it would be Doug Sanders with 20 wins/zero majors.

 

Im not exactly sure what it tells us but the list with zero majors and quite a few wins is much more interesting on the Euro tour.

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_golfers_with_most_European_Tour_wins


https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_golfers_with_most_PGA_Tour_wins

 

 

Good call on Harry Cooper, plenty of high finishes in majors too with 4 runner ups and 12 top 5s.

 

But it's also pre 1940 which is impossible to compare to the modern era. 

 

I'd vote for Westwood too. It's close between he and Monty, but Westwood has a stronger record in the USA and the majors in general. Westwood is ~10 years younger, so slightly different (stronger?) generation as well.

 

Westwood has 2 wins in his 268 PGA Tour starts and 16 top 3 finishes, 30 top 5s, and 48 top 10s.

 

Monty has of course 0 wins in 148 events, 10 top 3s, 13 top 5s, and 24 top 10s.

 

In terms of their record outside of the US tour they're about the same. Sure, Monty has 31 Euro Tour wins vs Westwood's 25, but Westwood also has 4 Japan Tour wins, 6 other Asian Tour ones, 1 Sunshine, and 1 Australasian Tour win to go with 2  others. That's a total of 41 Professional victories. Monty has 10 other wins as well: 2 on the Asian Tour, 1 Australian, and 7 other. Among that other is a skins game which I am not counting because that's ridiculous so that also adds up to 40. I guess you could add the Champions tour victories if you want then Monty has a slight lead. He has 7 more + 6 Euro Senior tour wins. 

Edited by Golfnutgalen
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Posted (edited)
On 5/18/2024 at 2:28 AM, PJE said:

I’d say Westwood. He came awfully close and if I recall correctly he didn’t choke away or squander opportunities? Other guys just played better than he did.
Montgomerie was a fantastic player but when he had his best opportunity to take a major, the US Open, he flat out choked. He hit one of the worst 7 irons (maybe it was a 6) of all time to take himself out of it.  

Actually, Westwood had a (very long) putt to win the 2009 Watson/Cink Open at Turnberry on the 72 hole. He three putted to miss the playoff by a shot - I'd say that was a squandered one.  Pretty sure he also lost the Tiger/Rocco US Open by a shot when he missed a short putt on the 71st or 72nd hole?

 

Monty is my choice for this unfortunate title because he lost two playoffs (one after shooting a 65 to tie Elkington at the 95 PGA, birdieing the past three holes but losing in sudden death).  Yes, he blew the 06 US Open but people forget that Mickelson was behind him, so he hadn't won it yet even if he had parred the last.

 

Maybe it's just me but I don't really remember Stricker or Haas being right in contention at the business end of a major, despite their solid records.

 

30 minutes ago, OBbogey5 said:

It’s Montgomery. But not only is he majorless, he’s North American less. How is he a great player if he couldn’t win in America?

Because he played the majority of his career on the European tour (and won 7 Orders of Merit as #1 player in consecutive years). You could argue that his lack of time in the states probably counted against him in the majors though.

Edited by ColinKelvin
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1 minute ago, ColinKelvin said:

Actually, Westwood had a (very long) putt to win the 2009 Watson/Cink Open at Turnberry on the 72 hole. He three putted to miss the playoff by a shot - I'd say that was a squandered one.  Pretty sure he also lost the Tiger/Rocco US Open by a shot when he missed a short putt on the 71st or 72nd hole?

 

Monty is my choice for this unfortunate title because he lost two playoffs (one after shooting a 65 to tie Elkington at the 95 PGA, birdieing the past three holes but losing in sudden death).  Yes, he blew the 06 US Open but people forget that Mickelson was behind him, so he hadn't won it yet even if he had parred the last.

 

Maybe it's just me but I don't really remember Stricker or Haas being right in contention at the business end of a major, despite their solid records.

 

Because he played his entire career on the European tour (and won 7 Orders of Merit as #1 player in consecutive years).  You could argue that his lack of time in the states probably counted against him in the majors.


I’m with you, in that Monty > Westward, but it isn’t the typical best player to not win a major scenario. The European Tour in the 90s was definitely the European Tour.. unless you were good enough to go win in America. Montgomery either know he couldn’t get it done in the US and enjoyed dominating Europe, or he was hell bent on staying home for his career. 
 

I guess this debate could be split up into two categories. The players that should have won a major, and those who had a fantastic career without winning a major. I’d say Westwood should have won a major given his opportunities, and Montgomery had a tremendous career without winning one. Montgomery has less heartache, and save the US Opens, he wasn’t really to be found in the others. Westwood was all over all four. 

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On 5/17/2024 at 8:28 PM, PJE said:

I’d say Westwood. He came awfully close and if I recall correctly he didn’t choke away or squander opportunities? Other guys just played better than he did.
Montgomerie was a fantastic player but when he had his best opportunity to take a major, the US Open, he flat out choked. He hit one of the worst 7 irons (maybe it was a 6) of all time to take himself out of it.  


The finish at the 2006 U.S. Open was pretty wild. Monty choked. Furyk choked. Mickelson choked. Ogilvy was clutch as hell to get the victory. 

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1 minute ago, OBbogey5 said:


I’m with you, in that Monty > Westward, but it isn’t the typical best player to not win a major scenario. The European Tour in the 90s was definitely the European Tour.. unless you were good enough to go win in America. Montgomery either know he couldn’t get it done in the US and enjoyed dominating Europe, or he was hell bent on staying home for his career. 
 

I guess this debate could be split up into two categories. The players that should have won a major, and those who had a fantastic career without winning a major. I’d say Westwood should have won a major given his opportunities, and Montgomery had a tremendous career without winning one. Montgomery has less heartache, and save the US Opens, he wasn’t really to be found in the others. Westwood was all over all four. 

I'll admit I was always a Monty fan (as I am Scottish) but from memory he contended in 3 of the 4 majors and had some extremely close calls / heartache:

 

1992 US Open

1994 US Open (PO)

1995 PGA (PO)

1997 US Open

2005 Open

2006 US Open

 

He was a USO specialist because he was one of the game's best/straightest drivers, and never did well at the Masters as his putting wasn't a strength.

 

Westwood - I take your point on 2 PGA tour wins but I don't really think career-wise that they compensate for Monty's hefty lead in European tour wins (that tour was so much stronger back then), and Monty does have 3 senior majors (I don't think they count for much tho!). I also think Westwood's genuine close calls (rather than Top 10s/5s but way behind) were:

 

2008 US Open - missed PO by a shot

2010 Masters - led into final round, shot 75.

2009 Open - led for a while and missed PO by a shot

2013 Open - 2 shot lead into final round but faded

2016 Masters - Spieth collapsing gave him a sudden chance but he was outplayed by Willett in the last 3 holes.

 

It's very close and I reckon both players fit into your two categories - great careers and great chances missed; for me, losing 2 playoffs gives Monty the unfortunate edge. The last hole disasters they had in the 06 USO and 09 Open respectively were their best chances.

 

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Posted (edited)

For me it has to be Colin Montgomerie.  Won a ton of Order of Merit titles on the European Tour when it was a very competitive circuit.  Had his close calls in majors but just couldn't close the deal.  Played like Tiger in the Ryder Cup, though.  His loss at the 2006 U.S. Open was VERY tough for me to take because I knew if he could just par that last hole that he was going to win it.  Phil was spraying the ball everywhere and his luck ran out on 18.  After Monty made that long putt on 17, I was like "OMG, is he going to do it?!?!"  Hit that amazing drive to get right in the fairway too but he just had too much time to think of his approach, picked the wrong club, and hit a fat shot.

Edited by NormanFan
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Posted (edited)

Westwood doesn't have as many runner ups in majors compared to Monty (3 vs 5) but beyond that his lead is significant.

 

Major finishes

9 vs 6 top 3s

12 vs 6 top 5s

19 vs 10 top 10s

35 vs 21 top 25s

 

And again, he's not that far behind in Euro tour wins (25 vs 31) and he has 2 PGA Tour wins to go with more international wins. 

 

They were both European Tour player of the year 4 times.

 

Edited by Golfnutgalen
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Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, Golfnutgalen said:

Westwood doesn't have as many runner ups in majors compared to Monty (3 vs 5) but beyond that his lead is significant.

 

Major finishes

9 vs 6 top 3s

12 vs 6 top 5s

19 vs 10 top 10s

35 vs 21 top 25s

 

And again, he's not that far behind in Euro tour wins (25 vs 31) and he has 2 PGA Tour wins to go with more international wins. 

 

They were both European Tour player of the year 4 times.

 

What that tells us is that Westwood was consistently good for longer in the majors. Monty's form fell away in the early 2000s. I just think the fact that he had two T1 major finishes (i.e. no one beat him over 72 holes, twice) edges it. 

 

They were actually pretty similar players in their prime - both superb drivers, very strong iron players but never consistently great putters. Westwood was also a mediocre chipper at times. Both Ryder cup legends with winning records too (Monty unbeaten in singles...). 

Edited by ColinKelvin
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