by Rob Joyce
He said it might never happen. Alas, when a putt on the first playoff hole rolled around and in late Sunday afternoon, Sergio Garcia could finally call himself a major champion with a thrilling victory over Justin Rose at the Masters. After coming up short in each of his first 72 majors, the 37-year-old overcame a rough patch in the middle of his final round, missed a clinching putt on 18, then was able to finally don a green jacket.
Long considered the best player in the world to never win any of golf’s four major championships, Garcia at long last got the monkey off his back, and now the torch passes to these five players who, despite all of their talent, have yet to win a major of their own:
5) Luke Donald:
The 39-year-old was primed to win a major earlier this decade. From 2011 to 2012 he spent 56 weeks as the world’s number one and has spent over 200 weeks total in the top-10, but hasn’t won a Tour event in nearly five years. The 2011 PGA Player of the Year has never finished higher than third in a major (2005 Masters & 2006 PGA Championship), and he’s missed the cut nine times in the last 14 majors in which he’s played. He’s currently ranked 96th in the Official World Golf Rankings.
4) Matt Kuchar:
There are few golfers more beloved than the 38-year-old from Florida – just look at the excitement his hole-in-one at 16 on Sunday garnered. Kuchar is as steady as they come on Tour, with over 80 top-10 finishes, and as a result he’s pocketed over $38 million in career earnings. That, unfortunately, makes him the highest-earning active player on Tour without a major win. He’s knocked on the door a few times, with eight top-10 finishes, including a tie for fourth over the weekend. His closest call came in 2012, when he had a share of the lead on the back nine, before bogeying 16 and finishing behind Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen.
3) Hideki Matsuyama:
Still only 25, the Japan native has 13 wins since turning pro in 2013, and has finished in the top-10 in each of the four majors in that span. Currently fourth in the OWGR, Matsuyama is the highest-ranked golfer in Japanese history. His 67 on Sunday tied for the lowest score of the day, and placed him in a tie for 11th at Augusta at -1 overall.
2) Lee Westwood:
A three-time European Tour Golfer of the Year, time appears to be going against Westwood. He turns 44 later this month and has struggled in recent years at every major outside of Augusta. Since the start of 2014 he hasn’t finished higher than 22nd in a major, with the exception of the Masters in 2014 (seventh) and 2016 (tied for second).
1) Rickie Fowler:
It’s hard to believe, but the 28-year-old turned pro nine years ago. It seemed like Fowler was poised to get over the hump after a spectacular 2014, when he finished in the top-five in every major, including a pair of second-place finishes at the US Open and the Open Championship. However, he hasn’t finished inside the top-10 since, currently sitting ninth in the OWGR.