SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - One of the most popular labels in golf is the best to have never won a major.
Here’s another one _ best to never win a U.S. Open.
Sam Snead might have won his national open if he had only known the score. Greg Norman is the only player to lose all four stroke-play majors in a playoff, and it started with the U.S. Open at Winged Foot. Phil Mickelson has more silver medals than he wants.
All of them are major champions. All of them are in the Hall of Fame. None is on the roll call of champions for the U.S. Open.
Here are the five best players to never have won golf’s second-oldest championship:
5. HARRY “LIGHTHORSE” COOPER
No player won more PGA Tour titles without capturing a major than Harry “Lighthorse” Cooper, who won 29 times. The U.S. Open is the major that haunted him more than the others.
Cooper was a two-time runner-up in the U.S. Open, and both times he had the lead going into the final round.
In 1927 at Oakmont, he was one shot ahead of Tommy Armour, closed with a 77 and lost to Armour by three shots in an 18-hole playoff. Nine years later at Baltusrol, Cooper had a two-shot lead over Vic Ghezzi. Tony Manero came out of nowhere with a 67 on the final day to win by one shot over Cooper, who shot 73. What made the 1936 U.S. Open particularly painful for Cooper was that only two months later, Horton Smith rallied on the last day to beat him in the Masters.
4. NICK FALDO
Always a thinker, Nick Faldo was looking for the secret to winning when he met with Ben Hogan and asked him what it takes to win the U.S. Open.
“Shoot the lowest score,” Hogan replied.
Faldo, a three-time Masters and British Open champion, never quite figured that out. Even during his 10-year run in the majors, and despite having U.S. Open qualities of accuracy off the tee and grinding away at pars, his best chance came in 1988 at The Country Club. Faldo fell into a tie with Curtis Strange with three holes to play when he took bogey from a bunker. Still tied after Strange three-putted the 17th, Faldo had a 25-foot putt from the fringe to win and settled for par. Strange made a superb bunker save on the 18th for par to force a playoff. Strange wound up winning the playoff by four shots for the first of his consecutive U.S. Open titles.View Entire Story
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