The Best Golfers Never To Win A Major

From old to young, we look at the best active male golfers never to win a major...

Lee Westwood and Viktor Hovland smiling
(Image credit: Getty Images)

'The best golfer never to win a Major' is not a moniker any of the game's elite want bestowed upon them. For years, the title belonged to Phil Mickelson before his famous six-inch jump on the final green at the 2004 Masters

Colin Montgomerie is never far away from the conversation having spurned numerous chances, the most devastating of which surely came at the brutal 2006 US Open at Winged Foot. As it transpired, the Scotsman needed only a par on the 72nd hole and did the hard work, piping a drive down the middle before inexplicably racking up a double-bogey six. 

Fellow European Lee Westwood is another name often bandied about whenever this topic rears its head. The Englishman has spent decades at the pinnacle of the sport, amassing more than 40 professional victories and enjoying a spell as the World No. 1. However, a Major still eludes him. 

With an ever-deepening well of talent on tour, we now have some new contenders for this most undesirable of crowns. So, with that in mind, here are some of the best active male golfers yet to win one of golf's 'big four'.

Rickie Fowler 

Worldwide wins: 9
Highest world ranking: 4
Best Major finish: 2nd (2018 Masters)

Although he's experienced a dip in form of late, Rickie Fowler is a shoo-in for this list. Fowler's 2014 Major season, in particular, was special, finishing inside the top-five at each of the four stops. At that point it seemed a matter of 'when' rather than 'if', having long been touted as a Major champion in wait. However, such has been his slump that he wasn't exempt for three of the last five Majors. Still, as a former Players Champion, we expect him to rediscover his form of old and contend again soon.

Lee Westwood

Lee Westwood at The Masters

Worldwide wins: 44
Highest world ranking: 1
Best Major finish: 2nd (2010 Masters; 2010 Open Championship)

Lee Westwood is one of just four Englishmen to have reigned supreme as the World No. 1 and has been considered one of the best players to have never won a Major for many years now. Should he fail to capture one before hanging his clubs up, he can't say he didn't have his chances. In total, he has amassed 19 top-10s, including three runner-up finishes and 12 top-fives. He is second on the DP World Tour's all-time money list with winnings just shy of €40 million.

Patrick Cantlay

Patrick Cantlay at the 2021 BMW Championship

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Worldwide wins: 8
Highest world ranking: 3
Best Major finish: T3 (2019 PGA Championship)

'Patty Ice' as he's been dubbed for his coolness under pressure is another on this list that you'd expect to capture one of golf's marquee titles before all is said and done. Having burst onto the scene in 2012, he was forced to endure an extended spell on the sidelines with an ongoing back injury, but returned reinvigorated in 2017 and hasn't looked back since. He's won seven times on the PGA Tour and held the lead briefly on Sunday at the 2019 Masters before Tiger Woods eventually prevailed. Surprisingly, Cantlay's recent record in the Majors isn't great, but we expect that to be a blip rather than a trend.

Cam Smith

Cam Smith laughs during the 2021 Masters at Augusta National

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Worldwide wins: 7
Highest world ranking: 4
Best Major finish: T2 (2020 Masters)

Cam Smith's career continues to go from strength to strength, exemplified by his form this season. The likeable Aussie backed up his record-breaking Sentry Tournament of Champions win with a nerveless display at TPC Sawgrass en route to a Players Championship triumph. And he's been knocking on the door in Majors, too. In particular, Smith has found success at The Masters, finishing in the top five in four of the last five editions. In fact, but for a trip to Rae's Creek at the par-3 12th during the final round this year, he may have left the famous venue sporting a new Green Jacket.

Luke Donald

Luke Donald playing out of a bunker

Worldwide wins: 17
Highest world ranking: 1
Best Major finish: T3 (2005 Masters; 2006 PGA Championship)

Like Westwood, Luke Donald joined an exclusive club of Englishmen when he became the World No. 1 more than a decade ago. And like Fowler, Donald hasn't enjoyed the sort of success in recent times that he would have liked. In 55 Major appearances, he has only registered eight top-10 finishes, his last coming at the 2013 US Open. Despite that, he is largely considered to be one of the best short game players of his era and is one of few to have won the European and PGA Tour order of merits in the same year. He has also been on the winning side in all four of his Ryder Cup appearances. 

Xander Schauffele

Xander Schauffele wins WGC-HSBC Champions

Worldwide wins: 8
Highest world ranking: 4
Best Major finish: T2 (2018 Open Championship, 2019 Masters)

The American turned pro in 2015 and quickly established himself as one of the best players in the world, picking up two wins in 2017 during his rookie season on the PGA Tour. Since then, he has won a WGC and became the Olympic Champion at the 2021 Tokyo Games. However, he hasn't yet managed to make it happen on Sunday at a Major. He's been remarkably consistent, notching nine top-10s in just 19 starts, but he'll be looking to make that next step soon before it's too late.

Viktor Hovland

Viktor Hovland smiling at the 2022 Abu Dhabi Championship

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Worldwide wins: 6
Highest world ranking: 3
Best Major finish: T12 (2019 US Open; 2021 Open Championship)

Viktor Hovland arrived on the scene with much anticipation having become the first Norwegian to capture the US Amateur title in 2018. After a steady start to life on tour, he notched his first win at the 2020 Puerto Rico Open before picking up five more worldwide victories in fairly quick succession. Now well established in the world's top 10, Hovland will be looking to make more of an impression at the Majors. So far, his best finish is a tie for 12th, although he is yet to miss a cut.

Matt Kuchar

Matt Kuchar after hitting a tee shot

Worldwide wins: 17
Highest world ranking: 4
Best Major finish: 2nd (2017 Open Championship)

In his heyday, Matt Kuchar made a name for himself a top-10 machine, a trait that has seen him earn north of $50 million on the PGA Tour. He's also come agonisingly close to adding an elusive Major title that would put an exclamation mark on his roll of honour. Out of 12 top-10s, none will sting quite like The Open in 2017, when Jordan Spieth recovered from the depths to deny him on the back-nine at Royal Birkdale. Kuchar's most notable win came at the Players Championship in 2012.

Paul Casey

Paul Casey waves to the crowd after holing a putt

Worldwide wins: 21
Highest world ranking: 3
Best Major finish: T2 (2020 PGA Championship)

Paul Casey has been one of the best English golfers of the last 15 years, winning 15 times on the European Tour and three times on the PGA Tour. Injuries have hampered him for spells during his career but he's always found his way back to the upper echelons of the game. He has 12 top-10 finishes in Majors, including three in his last seven starts, proving he still has what it takes to get the monkey off his back.

Andrew Wright
Staff Writer

A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he went on to enjoy a spell freelancing for Stats Perform producing football reports, and then for RacingNews365 covering Formula 1. However, he couldn't turn down the opportunity to get back into the sport he grew up watching and playing and now covers a mixture of equipment, instruction and news for Golf Monthly's website and print title.


Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.


As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.


What's in Andy's bag?

Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)

3-wood: TaylorMade M1 (15°)

Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)

Irons: Callaway Apex Pro '19 (4-PW)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)

Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron Newport 2.5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1