Top 20 golfers who never won at the Masters

best golfers who never won at the Masters

The best golfers who never won at the Masters: Greg Norman, Rory McIlroy, Lee Trevino, Bobby Jones, Tommy Armour, Walter Hagen, Tom Weiskopf, Johnny Miller, Tom Kite, Justin Rose, Ernie Els, Davis Love III, David Duval,,,,,

There have been many elite golfers who have failed to win the Masters. It’s certainly no easy task to tame that Augusta National track, even for the best of the best.

Here’s our ranking of top 20 great golfers, some still on that quest, who have not won at the Masters.

1. Greg Norman

Norman won the Open Championship twice (1986, 1993), however, its his near misses at the Masters that golf fans tend to remember most about the Shark. He finished outright or tied for second three times (1986, ’87, ’96) at Augusta, and it became agonizing to watch. Let alone that Norman’s had to live with falling short. In 1986, Norman held a one-shot lead after three rounds but fell back after a double-bogey on No. 10. However, he regrouped with four straight birdies to tie for the lead on 18. But, his approach shot landed in the gallery and settled for a T2. A year later, Norman lost to Larry Mize, and his legendary chip for birdie, in a three-way playoff. Then in ’96, he led after each of the first three rounds, but a Sunday 78 and Nick Faldo’s 67 left Norman five strokes back of the victorious Englishman.

2. Rory McIlroy

Rory has four major titles to his name, but none since 2014, when he won the Open Championship and the PGA Championship in the same season. McIlroy, who won the latter twice and also has the 2011 U.S. Open title to his credit, is still driving for that green jacket. And, it’s not like he hasn’t had his chances at Augusta. Though he hasn’t finished better than fourth (2015) at the Masters, McIlroy placed inside the top eight at each Augusta stop from 2014-’18. His missed cut in 2021 marked just that second time that’s happened at Augusta.

3. Lee Trevino

The great Trevino is one of the most successful golfers of all time, with two victories each at the PGA Championship (1974, ’84), U.S. Open (1968, ’71), and the Open Championship (1971, ’72). Yet, it was the Masters that kept the Hall of Famer from claiming the grand slam. While Trevino made the cut in all but three of his 20 starts at Augusta, he managed just two top-10 finishes at the event. Both a tie for 10th in 1975, then 10 years later in ’85.

4. Bobby Jones

A designer of Augusta National Golf Club and the co-founder of the Masters, Jones, the five-time U.S. Open champion and three-time winner of the Open Champion, had already retired from competitive golf by the time the tournament began. However, the Masters was the only real competitive event that Jones, still an amateur, would play. From 1934-’48, Jones played the Masters 12 times (the tournament was not played from 1943-’45 due to World War II), with his best finish a tie for 13th in the inaugural event.

5. Tommy Armour

Armour posted 27 professional victories, including the 1927 U.S. Open, 1930 PGA Championship, and the Open Championship in 1931. However, Armour’s quest for golf’s grand slam of posting a win in each of the four majors never materialized thanks to his play at the Masters. He played at Augusta seven times and finished inside the top 10 just once — a tie for eighth in the 1937 tournament. In all fairness, much like Walter Hagen, Armour was at the end of his stellar competitive career when the Masters teed off.

6. Walter Hagen

Hagen was an 11-time major winner between the Open Championship, U.S. Open, and PGA Championship, and certainly an icon in the history of the game. While Hagen never won the Masters, he was in his 40s and on the downside of his competitive golf career when the tournament debuted in 1934. So, his chances of victory on this challenging track weren’t all that favorable. In six starts at Augusta under the Masters banner, Hagen’s best finish came in 1936, when he tied for 11th.

7. Tom Weiskopf

Weiskopf posted his 16 PGA Tour victories from 1968 to 1982. That included his lone major triumph at the Open Championship in 1973. Also during that stretch, Weiskopf finished in a tie for second at the Masters a rather astonishing four times. In 1969, Weiskopf was part of the second-place group that finished one shot behind champion George Archer. Jack Nicklaus bested Weiskopf and Co. in 1972 and again in 1975, while he and Dave Stockton were two shots strokes back of 1974 winner Gary Player.

8. Johnny Miller

A winner of the 1973 U.S. Open and the 1976 champion at the Open Championship, Miller finished tied for second three times at the Masters during his exceptional career. In 1971, Miller shot back-to-back 68s for the weekend, and led by two shots after 14 holes on Sunday, but couldn’t hold on and finished tied for second behind Charles Coody. He went 65-66 on the weekend in ’75 but fell a stroke shy of Jack Nicklaus in the end. Then came the 1981 event, when Miller tied for the lead after the first round but again placed second — two shots back of Tom Watson.

9. Tom Kite

Kite, the 1992 U.S. Open winner, finished inside the top 10 at the Masters 12 times — the most in any of his major appearances. Nine times Kite placed in the top five and three times he was the runner-up at Augusta (1983, 1986, 1997). Two of those second-place finishes came in tournaments that remain among the most memorable in the history of the event. A 46-year-old Jack Nicklaus won in ’86 and Tiger Woods’ dominant 12-stroke winning margin from ’97.

10. Justin Rose

It’s still somewhat hard to believe that for as great as Rose has been throughout the 2000s, there’s only one major victory to his name (2013 U.S. Open). When it comes to the Masters, Rose has finished inside the top 10 six times (in 16 attempts) — the most of any major he’s started. In 2015, he tied for second at Augusta. Two years later, Rose found himself in a Masters playoff with Sergio Garcia, when his drive on the opening sudden-death hole at 18 found the trees. He couldn’t recover and Garcia made birdie to claim finally call himself a major champion — at Rose’s expense.

11. Ernie Els

All four of Els’ major victories came at the U.S. Open and the Open Championship. When talking about the Masters, Els was the runner-up twice during a five-year run from 2000-’04, where he placed inside the top six each season. In 2000, Els finished the tournament at 7-under par, the closest competitor to winner Vijay Singh, who came in at 10 under. Four years later, Els fell even shorter of a Masters title, finishing second after Phil Mickelson birdied the final hole on Sunday to beat him by one shot.

12. Davis Love III

Love’s emotional victory at the 1997 PGA Championship remains his only major triumph. It’s one of his 21 top-10 major finishes during a stellar PGA Tour career. Six of Love’s top 10s came at Augusta, and all during a span from 1995-2004. On two occasions, Love placed second. In 1995, he was one strike back of champion Ben Crenshaw. Then, in 1999, Love finished two shots behind winner José María Olazábal. The Masters was the only major Davis played that he finished second.

13. David Duval

The idea of what “could have been” often comes up when talking about Duval’s career. A former world’s No. 1, Duval won 13 PGA Tour events and his lone major title at the Open Championship in 2001. However, a rash of injuries and a struggling mental approach hindered the rest of his career. However, during one four-year stretch from 1998-2001, Duval finished inside the top six at the Masters each season. At the 1998 event, Duval tied for second with Fred Couples as they watched Mark O’Meara sink a 20-foot birdie putt on Sunday’s 18th for his first major win. Then in 2001, Duval fired a final-round 67 at Augusta, but couldn’t catch Tiger Woods, finishing 2-shots back in second.

14. Julius Boros

A two-time U.S. Open champion (1952, ’63) and winner of the 1968 PGA Championship at age 48, Boros had quite the Hall of Fame resume. Yet, the Masters is the one American major — he played the Open Championship just once (1966) — that Boros couldn’t conquer. He made 18 of 25 cuts at Augusta and had seven top-10 finishers. However, of the four times he placed inside the top five, Boros’ best finish was a tie for third in 1963.

15. Hale Irwin

Irwin was a three-time winner of the U.S. Open (1974, ’79, and ’80), and one of the few to repeat as champion. During his heyday on the PGA Tour, it also seemed like a matter of time before Irwin added a Masters victory to his resume. From 1974-’78, Irwin placed eighth or better during that stellar five-year span — with back-to-back T4s in 1974 and ’75. Irwin also finished tied for sixth in 1983, the last time he placed inside the top 10 at Augusta.

16. Brooks Koepka

Koepka’s four major triumphs to date have been split among the PGA Championship and U.S. Open. His most recent major win came in 2019, and since then he’s recorded six top-seven finishes in such events. Three came in 2021, along with his first missed cut at Augusta, where Koepka tied for second and seventh, respectively, in the two years prior. Like Jon Rahm, we think Koepka is young and talented enough not to go too much longer without a Masters victory.

17. Nick Price

Price is a three-time major champion, but the U.S. Open and Masters consistently proved elusive to the great South African. In particular, at Augusta, Price had 11 top-25 finishes and four top 10s in 20 career appearances. Price finished fifth in 1985, just the second time he played the Masters. However, that was as close as he would get to winning a green jacket, though he did tie for sixth in his second-last Masters start in 2004.

18. John Rahm

Sure, Rahm has only been playing major-championship golf since 2016, and he finally won one at the 2021 U.S. Open. But during this rather small sample size of major events, the Masters has become quite elusive to the former world’s No. 1-ranked golfer. Rahm finished tied for 27th in his Masters debut in 2017. In the four seasons since, Rahm has placed fourth, T9, T7, and tied for fifth, respectively, at Augusta. So, will this be the year that Rahm gets over the hump and dons the green jacket?

19. Gene Littler

During a Hall-of-Fame professional career that featured 54 victories, including the 1961 U.S. Open, Littler finished inside the top 10 at the Masters eight times while making 24 cuts in 26 appearances. The most he recorded at any major. Three of those placements were in the top five, with the best of the bunch being a second in 1970. That’s when Billy Casper outlasted Littler in an 18-hole playoff in what’s long been considered one of the greatest installments in the history of this storied tournament.

20. Denny Shute

One of the great golfers from the 1930s and into the ’40s, the Cleveland-born Shute won the 1933 U.S. Open and was twice crowned champion of the PGA Championship (1936, ’37). He also finished second at the 1941 U.S. Open, an event he placed inside the top 10 on six occasions. However, the Masters wasn’t all that good to Shute, who recorded just one top-10 finish — fifth in 1935 — over a hefty 25 starts. There are some courses that just don’t play to a certain golfer’s game, and it appeared Augusta was the one for Shute.

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