The title of “Best Player Without a Major” is a debate that has kept 19th holes buzzing for years. Davis Love III wore that crown until the 1997 PGA Championship. Phil Mickelson got the monkey off his back with the 2004 Masters. Current players now vying for the dubious title include Lee Westwood, Luke Donald, maybe Steve Stricker, although he’s getting a little long in the tooth to legitimately expect to check a major off his bucket list. Sergio Garcia’s time has probably come and gone, as well.
The underlying concept of the BPWAM is that a player has shown a considerable amount of success or potential without getting that breakthrough victory at the Masters, US Open, British Open or PGA. For instance, DL III had 10 PGA Tour wins before his ’97 PGA. It took Phil an astounding 22 victories before securing his first green jacket. But let’s look at the other side of that coin. A player that comes out of nowhere to win a major, then just as quickly returns to relative obscurity, never to see real success again. We’ll call him, “Worst Player WITH a Major”.
Rich Beem had only two wins on tour before capturing the 2002 PGA Championship. He hasn’t hoisted a trophy, major or otherwise, since (which is probably a good thing, considering the extraordinarily awkward victory dance he did at the PGA. He looked like the gopher from Caddyshack). Indiana University product Shaun Micheel has only one tour win to his credit. But he made it a big one, the 2003 PGA Championship. In the cases of Beem and Micheel, even though they’ve only won one major, they did at least crack double digits in Top 10 finishes in other PGA Tour events: 18 and 20 respectively.
Perhaps the “Worst Player WITH a Major” title goes to 2004 British Open champion Todd Hamilton. 2004 was actually a good year for Hamilton. Earlier that season he won the Honda Classic, then followed it up with the British. But since then, not only has he not had another win on tour, he only has 6 career Top 10 finishes.
We’d love to hear who you think deserves the title of Worst Player WITH a Major. And please visit our website at www.IndianaGolfOnline.com