Who are the best players not to win a Masters?
For the purposes of this list, I excluded players who never had the chance to play at Augusta – Old and Young Tom Morris, for example. And I also have ignored younger players who realistically still have a chance.
Best Players Never To Win A Masters
10. Walter Hagen – 11 Majors and 4 PGA Tour victories; This is probably an unfair inclusion, because by the time The Masters came into existence, Hagen already past his prime. He had only two PGA Tour wins after 1934.
9. Peter Thompson – In the fifties, Thompson ruled European and Asian golf with five Open Championships. He collected 6 PGA Tour victories; 20 Australasia victories; and 26 European wins. From 1954 – 1956, he accomplished a since unheard-of feat: three consecutive Open Championships. His best finish at The Masters was a fifth in 1957.
8. Julius Boros: With three Major victories, Boros’ best finish was a tie for third in 1963. Boros had 18 PGA Tour victories. He’s the source of the now universally used phrase “Swing Easy, Hit Hard.”
7. Ernie Els: This is perhaps unfair to Els, since he still has an outside chance of winning one, but it is highly unlikely. Els has four majors (2 US Opens, 2 Open Championships), and 65 professional wins. If anyone is going to get off this list, though, it’s the Big Easy.
6. Lloyd Mangrum: Mangrum had 36 PGA Tour wins from 1940 to 1956 and won the 1946 US Open. Mangrum would have won more tournaments and perhaps more majors but, like most of his generation, his life was interrupted by World War II. A true hero, he turned down a cushy Army Pro job to land at D-Day, fought in the Battle of the Bulge and was awarded two Purple Hearts. His best finish at Augusta was a second in 1940. That year, he shot a tournament record 64 in the opening round that stood until Nick Price shot a 63 in 1986.
5. Nick Price –In the 1990s, Price spent 43 weeks at the World Number One position. He has 3 Majors and 44 worldwide victories. His best finish was a sixth in 1986, the same year he shot a tournament record 63 in the opening round.
4.Hale Irwin – With 3 US Opens and 20 PGA Tour Victories, his best finishes were ties for fourth in 1974 and 1975. Irwin turned out to be a god on the Senior Tour, making many forget just how good he was in the mid 1970s on the regular tour.
3.Johnny Miller. Winner of two majors, Miller had 25 PGA Tour victories. His best finish at the Masters was a tie for second. Rumor has it that Miller is the model for the player in the PGA Tour logo. Now known mainly for his brusque broadcasting personality, Miller was one of the most accurate irons players of all time.
2.Greg Norman – The Shark has two majors and spent 331 weeks at the the number one ranked golfer in the 1980s and 1990s. A true worldwide player, he had 20 PGA Tour wins, 14 European Tour Wins and 33 Wins in Australasia. Norman tied for second twice at the Masters. He had his chances, but could never bring it home. There’s no need to further dwell on the events of 1996.
1.Lee Trevino – 2 US Opens, 2 Open Championships, 2 PGAs; 29 PGA Tour wins. Five time winner of the Vardon Trophy. From 1968 to 1974, he was one of the most dominant players on the Tour, and was perhaps the only player who could consistently challenge Jack Nicklaus during that time.
Honorable Mention: Bobby Jones. He played the Masters twelve times, but Jones’ best finish in his own tournament was 13 in 1934. We’re going to give him a bye on this one, though, because he had long since given up competitive golf and was most likely suffering the early effects of syringomyelia, the affliction which eventually killed him.