“The best golfers without a major championship” is always a fascinating discussion and maybe never more so in the world of golf as we enter 2019. The sport is absolutely loaded with stars and superstars at the highest level, and you could argue that with Tiger Woods back to winning, the PGA Tour hasn’t been healthier in a long, long time.
Because of this and because a healthy PGA Tour leads to massive purses, golf is becoming more and more competitive. The rise of social media has engendered an era when even three-win or four-win golfers without majors are well-known personalities. All of this is a great thing of course, but it also means that the major-less crew is more recognizable than ever. That’s good for golf (so many stars can win in any given week!) but tough for the players on this list to continually field questions about why they haven’t won the big one.
With that, let’s get to our top 10. Remember, this isn’t a list of the 10 most accomplished but rather the 10 best players in the world who have yet to win a major championship.
1. Jon Rahm: He doubles as the most decorated on this list as well. For the second consecutive year, he won at least three times worldwide and solidified his spot as one of the handful of guys most likely to win the most majors from this point going forward.
2. Bryson DeChambeau: Only Rory McIlroy got to five wins more quickly in recent years. I don’t think DeChambeau is “somewhere between McIlroy and Spieth” good, but he’s certainly being undervalued.
3. Rickie Fowler: He’s the lightning rod for this conversation. I won’t belabor the point — I’ve done that plenty elsewhere — but he remains one of the most underrated big tournament players in the world.
4. Tommy Fleetwood: I struggled with these next two. Hideki Matsuyama is more accomplished, and neither is a tremendous putter, but Fleetwood has displayed a flair for the big stage. That gives him the nod over Matsuyama.
5. Hideki Matsuyama: One of my low-key favorite predictions to make is that Matsuyama won’t ever win a major. Not that he’s not good enough — he is — but at some point it just becomes a numbers game. There aren’t enough of them to go around.
6. Tony Finau: Embarrassment of riches when it comes to talent, but as Justin Ray of Golf Channel recently pointed out, Finau is also probably the most dominant player in the world who doesn’t win (or at least hasn’t won recently).
Yet, Finau finds himself with just one PGA Tour win so far. Over the last three seasons, Finau has 20 top-10 finishes — twice as many as any player without a victory in that span. Tony can find solace in his bank account — his $5.62 million in official earning last season are the second-most in PGA Tour history by a player without a victory.
7. Xander Schauffele: If you value winning, this is your guy. He’s maybe done more of it compared to his brand value in the general public than anyone else on the PGA Tour. Definitely has the goods to win a major or two.
8. Paul Casey: I wanted to go with Thomas Pieters right here, but Casey, even at his age, is still astoundingly good. To go with his Valspar win last season, he had five top 10s and 13 top 25s. It would be pretty awesome to see him win an Open Championship at this stage like Henrik Stenson did.
9. Patrick Cantlay: He’s become mildly overrated in deep golf circles if only because he became somebody sexy to hitch your hipster wagon to, but the talent is there. He’s made four of his last five cuts at majors, and I think he’ll give himself a chance to win at least one in 2019.
10. Gary Woodland: Seems to be having a later-in-his-career resurgence. At the age of 34 he won, had 11 top 25s and made it all the way to the Tour Championship in September. He was one of 17 players without a major to do so. I could have gone with Aaron Wise, Billy Horschel or Cameron Smith right here, but for my money right now, Woodland tops all of those guys.