Singh made his debut in the Open in 1989 at Royal Troon. He played 10 straight times before finally missing the cut, and he went 22 successive years at the Open until he wasn’t eligible in 2011. Nothing hurt more than 2003 at Royal St. George’s, when he was just starting to hit his stride. He was two shots behind Thomas Bjorn going into the last day, paired with Tiger Woods in the second-to-last group. Singh couldn’t get a putt to fall down the stretch, closed with a 70 and finished one shot behind Ben Curtis.
3. RAYMOND FLOYD
Only one player other than Raymond Floyd has won at least four majors without getting his name on the claret jug. That would be Phil Mickelson. More on him in a minute.
Floyd was the Masters champion in 1976 when he went into the final round at Royal Birkdale, trailing by five shots to 19-year-old Seve Ballesteros. Johnny Miller shot 66 to beat everyone. Two years later, he was runner-up to Jack Nicklaus at St. Andrews, though never really close. And in 1981 at Royal St. George’s, he started too far behind to catch Bill Rogers and tied for third. He never got any closer.
Floyd at least flirted with the idea of a claret jug in 1992 _ the year he was runner-up to Fred Couples at Augusta National. He opened with a 64 for a two-shot lead over Nick Faldo at Muirfield, but that was that. Faldo had a 64 the next day to put Floyd five shots behind, and the American never broke par the rest of the week.
Just not on links courses of the Open.
Mickelson played the Open 10 times before he cracked the top 10. That was in 2004, his great year in the majors, and playing overcautiously at Royal Troon when it was still and soft enough for him to make a charge, he wound up one shot out of a playoff. Nearly another decade of mediocrity followed, with a collection of middle-of-the-pack finishes and missed cuts, when out of nowhere he nearly won last year at Royal St. George’s.
Mickelson made a thrilling charge on Sunday, only to be stopped when he missed a 3-foot par putt. He finished tied for second, three shots behind.
The British Open is his worst major, but the quality of his game _ four majors, 40 wins on the PGA Tour _ make him the second-most accomplished player in golf history who doesn’t have his name on the silver jug.
1. BYRON NELSON