Golf Majors: 4 Veteran Players Who Need to Win One

Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports /
Sergio Garcia 2017 Masters
Apr 9, 2017; Augusta, GA, USA; Sergio Garcia celebrates after making a putt on the 18th green during the first playoff hole to win The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports /

In golf majors are what define careers. Here are four veteran stars who have yet to win one of the game’s crown jewels.

Nearly 18 years ago, Sergio Garcia closed his eyes and swung at his ball, which was basically stymied against a giant tree at Medinah CC during the final round of the 1999 PGA Championship. Soon, he was sprinting and jumping up the 16th fairway en route to a very unlikely par. Listening to a replay of the telecast, almost the entire broadcast team took that moment to anoint Sergio as a player destined to go toe-to-toe with the great Tiger Woods in pursuit of the four men’s golf majors.

As remarkable as that shot was that day, it ultimately wasn’t enough to catch Tiger. But that didn’t seem to matter much at the time — Sergio looked like a future superstar of the game, bound to win multiple majors before he was done.

Tiger Woods won the second of his 14 Majors that day. Nearly 18 years and 74 Majors later, Sergio Garcia, at the age of 37, finally won his first at the 2017 Masters.

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By normal standards, Garcia has no doubt had a remarkable career. He came into the 2017 Masters with 30 career wins worldwide, including the Players Championship in 2008. He has been a pillar of the European Ryder Cup teams for nearly 20 years. He has over 60 million dollars in career earnings, and he seems to be on TV a lot on major Sundays. All that said, until he got it done at Augusta in a playoff over Justin Rose, Sergio was considered an underachieving failure by many.

For that reason alone, whether you like him or not, you have to tip your hat to Garcia for his resiliency — he finally managed to meet the standard by which great golf careers are validated. Never again will he make a list of great players who never won a major, and at age 37, he appeared to be in danger of being listed there permanently. That’s a list that even 60 million dollars can’t pay your release from.

Unfortunately, there are a few other active names who can’t seem to escape that list of majorless players. Their time to win their way off is dwindling, and the barrage of young talent in golf keeps getting deeper and deeper, but they still play on in search of that ultimate validation. These four players are all over the age of 35, have all seriously contended in golf’s biggest events multiple times and are all hoping to be the next Sergio. In no particular order:

Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports /

Matt Kuchar

Kuchar has been a picture of consistency throughout his career. He has been Player of the Year, led the money list and picked up 13 career wins, including the Players Championship in 2012. He has finished inside the top 10 in all four majors. He is now 38 and still searching for his career-defining win.

Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports /

Lee Westwood

Is it just me or does it seem Westwood has been contending in majors for the last hundred years? Ok, it’s really only been 20 years of close calls, much like it was for Sergio. Westwood is without question the most accomplished player on the planet without a major championship to his credit. With 42 professional wins, 10 Ryder Cup appearances and three European Tour Player of the Year awards, Westwood is consistently in contention and consistently fails to perform on Sunday. At 43 years old, he has to hear the clock ticking.

Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports /

Luke Donald

At age 39 and with 16 professional wins worldwide, Donald is the only player to ever lead both the PGA Tour and European Tour money lists in the same season, which he did in 2011. For his efforts, he was named Player of the Year on both sides of the pond. He has also spent more than 50 weeks as the No. 1 player in the world ranking.

Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports /

Brandt Snedeker

The 36-year-old has 12 professional wins, including the Tour Championship in 2012. Snedeker is another one that seems to constantly be in featured groups and is always a pre-tournament favorite.

These four players are all very accomplished in their careers. To an extent, they are unlucky to be competing in the era of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, overlapped by guys like Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth. There are also players such as Padraig Harrington, Ernie Els and even Bubba Watson and Angel Cabrera who have taken multiple majors during these years.

Kuchar, Westwood, Donald and Snedeker have all had Hall of Fame-level careers, but without a major championship, history may forget about them. Instead, they will forever be on the list of great players who failed to validate their careers in the way that golf demands its legends do. But all four still have time, and it would be great to see them join Sergio as late-blooming major champs. It’s the ultimate accomplishment in golf.

Next: Top 50 Golfers of the Tiger Woods Era

Who do you think will be the next first-timer to win a men’s golf major? Let us know in the comments, and keep it here at Pro Golf Now for more PGA Tour updates.