5 best players without a green jacket
AUGUSTA, GA. (AP) - One of the most popular labels in golf is the best player to have never won a major, which can be looked at two ways. The bad news is that it means a player has never won a major. The good news is that he’s at least thought highly enough to be considered.
The best player at Augusta National to have never won the Masters?
That stings a little bit more.
Just ask Greg Norman, who lost by his own doing twice, by an improbable chip-in and to a Spaniard who simply outplayed him. Johnny Miller and Tom Weiskopf won’t forget the 40-foot birdie putt by Jack Nicklaus on the 16th hole in 1975. Ernie Els came close, and he found out how badly it hurt last year when he didn’t qualify to return. Masters champions can return the rest of their lives.
Here’s five players haunted by never winning the Masters:
5. TOM WEISKOPF
Weiskopf doesn’t have a green jacket, but he at least got his name in the record book at Augusta National as the most runner-up finishes _ four _ without ever winning. Worse yet for Weiskopf is that he had those four second-place finishes over seven years.
It wasn’t a lack of effort, and more than anything it was bad timing at Augusta. He was three shots out of the lead in 1969 and wound up one shot behind George Archer. Three years later, he couldn’t make up any ground against Jack Nicklaus, finishing three shots back. In 1974, he again was three shots back of Dave Stockton and finished behind Gary Player. The following year was painful.
Weiskopf had a one-shot lead over his nemesis, Nicklaus, and they went back-and-forth on the back nine until Nicklaus holed his long birdie putt on the 16th and Weiskopf never caught up. He missed a birdie putt on the 18th, and the Golden Bear had another green jacket.
He summed up his career best from the broadcast booth when asked what Nicklaus was thinking as he stood over an important shot. “If I knew what he was thinking,” Weiskopf said, “I’d have won this championship.”
Miller falls into this category for his sheer talent and three runner-up finishes, though it certainly wasn’t a weekend collapse. He first showed potential in the majors with a 68-68 weekend at Augusta in 1971, finishing two shots behind Charles Coody. He matched the low score of the final round in 1981 when Miller shot a 68, but all that did was give him a tie for second with Nicklaus, two shots behind Tom Watson.
His best chance, as with Weiskopf, was in 1975.