Top 5 Major-losing putting meltdowns

Who's thrown away Majors with short missed putts?

Doug Sanders
Doug Sanders threw away the Open Championship in 1970
(Image credit: Getty Images)

We look at five players who threw away their chances of Major Championship glory with short missed putts on the 72nd hole, or in a play-off...

Major putting meltdowns...

As is frequently touted, margins in golf are razor thin, and no more so than in a Major Championship.

While hundreds of players throughout golf's history have risen to the occasion and holed key puts to land one of the sport's big four events, a handful have gone the other way.

Below, we look at five players who threw away their chances of Major Championship glory with short missed putts on the 72nd hole, or in a play-off...

Doug Sanders - 1970 Open Championship

Who could forget the 1970 Open Championship at St Andrews? Certainly not Doug Sanders. The American had a three-foot putt to win the Claret Jug, but he poked at it and missed it on the low side. He lost the subsequent 18-hole play-off (as it was in those days) by a single shot to Jack Nicklaus and never managed to get over the line in a Major, finishing as a runner-up on four occasions.

Scott Hoch - 1989 Masters

Nick Faldo shot a final-round 65 to force his way into a play-off at the 1989 Masters, but it looked as if he was dead and buried with Scott Hoch needing to hole a two-footer for the victory. The American, however, somehow failed to convert and lost out to the Englishman on the next hole. Like Sanders, Hoch never managed to win a Major.

Dustin Johnson - 2015 US Open

Dustin Johnson hit two brilliant shots into the 72nd hole at Chambers Bay to leave himself 20 feet for his first Major title, and two putts for a play-off with Jordan Spieth the following day. But his ball stopped in an unfortunate position on a side slope, and his first effort ended up some four feet past the cup on the Washington State layout's notoriously poor putting surfaces. You know what happened next.

IK Kim - 2012 Kraft Nabisco Championship

It's genuinely no exaggeration to say IK Kim missed a 10-inch puch at the 2012 Kraft Nabisco Championship, as the below video shows. Seemingly set for her first Major Championship victory, the Korean put a little too much pace on her almost-unmissable putt and watched in utter horror as it horseshoed around the cup. Yep, you guessed it. She's yet to win a Major, either.

Stewart Cink - 2001 US Open

Stewart Cink faced a 15-footer for par on the 72nd hole at the 2001 US Open - a putt he felt he had to make to force a play-off with Retief Goosen no more than three feet away. Clearly feeling he was down and out after failing to hole, he wafted hurredly at his return effort, which also failed to drop. Moments later, Goosen missed his effort, leaving Cink to rue his profligacy.

Side note: Hale Irwin - 1983 Open Championship

Hale Irwin missed a 20-footer for birdie on the 14th hole during the final round of the 1983 Open Championship and completely missed the ball as he attemped to tap in for par. He would lose out by one shot.

Nick Bonfield
Features Editor

Nick Bonfield joined Golf Monthly in 2012 after graduating from Exeter University and earning an NCTJ-accredited journalism diploma from News Associates in Wimbledon. He is responsible for managing production of the magazine, sub-editing, writing, commissioning and coordinating all features across print and online. Most of his online work is opinion-based and typically centres around the Majors and significant events in the global golfing calendar. Nick has been an avid golf fan since the age of ten and became obsessed with the professional game after watching Mike Weir and Shaun Micheel win The Masters and PGA Championship respectively in 2003. In his time with Golf Monthly, he's interviewed the likes of Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Jose Maria Olazabal, Henrik Stenson, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood and Billy Horschel and has ghost-written columns for Westwood, Wayne Riley, Matthew Southgate, Chris Wood and Eddie Pepperell. Nick is a 12-handicap golfer and his favourite courses include Old Head, Sunningdale New, Penha Longha, Valderrama and Bearwood Lakes. If you have a feature pitch for Nick, please email with 'Pitch' in the subject line. Nick is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade M1 Fairway wood: TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2 Hybrid: Ping Crossover Irons (4-9): Nike Vapor Speed Wedges: Cleveland CBX Full Face, 56˚, Titleist Vokey SM4, 60˚ Putter: testing in progress! Ball: TaylorMade TP5x