Top 5 players to never win the U.S. Open

By Doug FergusonJune 12, 2012, 1:10 pm

SAN FRANCISCO – One of the most popular labels in golf is the best to have never won a major.

Here's another one – best to never win a U.S. Open.

Sam Snead might have won his national open if he had only known the score. Greg Norman is the only player to lose all four stroke-play majors in a playoff, and it started with the U.S. Open at Winged Foot. Phil Mickelson has more silver medals than he wants.

All of them are major champions. All of them are in the Hall of Fame. None is on the roll call of champions for the U.S. Open.

Here are the five best players to never have won golf's second-oldest championship:


5. HARRY 'LIGHTHORSE' COOPER

No player won more PGA Tour titles without capturing a major than Harry 'Lighthorse' Cooper, who won 29 times. The U.S. Open is the major that haunted him more than the others.

Cooper was a two-time runner-up in the U.S. Open, and both times he had the lead going into the final round.

In 1927 at Oakmont, he was one shot ahead of Tommy Armour, closed with a 77 and lost to Armour by three shots in an 18-hole playoff. Nine years later at Baltusrol, Cooper had a two-shot lead over Vic Ghezzi. Tony Manero came out of nowhere with a 67 on the final day to win by one shot over Cooper, who shot 73. What made the 1936 U.S. Open particularly painful for Cooper was that only two months later, Horton Smith rallied on the last day to beat him in the Masters.


4. NICK FALDO

Always a thinker, Nick Faldo was looking for the secret to winning when he met with Ben Hogan and asked him what it takes to win the U.S. Open.

'Shoot the lowest score,' Hogan replied.

Faldo, a three-time Masters and British Open champion, never quite figured that out. Even during his 10-year run in the majors, and despite having U.S. Open qualities of accuracy off the tee and grinding away at pars, his best chance came in 1988 at The Country Club. Faldo fell into a tie with Curtis Strange with three holes to play when he took bogey from a bunker. Still tied after Strange three-putted the 17th, Faldo had a 25-foot putt from the fringe to win and settled for par. Strange made a superb bunker save on the 18th for par to force a playoff. Strange wound up winning the playoff by four shots for the first of his consecutive U.S. Open titles.


3. GREG NORMAN

Greg Norman was lucky to get into a playoff at Winged Foot in 1984 when he holed a 40-foot par putt. Back in the fairway, Fuzzy Zoeller assumed it was for birdie and twirled a white towel. Norman's putt allowed him to get into an 18-hole playoff Monday, and while the Shark was favored, Zoeller put on a clinic. This time, it was Norman waving the white flag in mock surrender. He was runner-up that day, though surely there would be more chances in his bright future.

There were. But he never won a U.S. Open.

Norman was atop the leaderboard going into the final round at Shinnecock Hills in 1986 and in 1995, both times watching someone else (Raymond Floyd, Corey Pavin) hit the shots and hole the putts required of a U.S. Open champion.

Norman only won two majors in his Hall of Fame career, both in the British Open. He won more than 70 tournaments around the world, was No. 1 longer than any other player until Tiger Woods came along and was a dominant figure in golf for a decade.


2. PHIL MICKELSON

Phil Mickelson has been playing the U.S. Open for 20 years, and all he has to show for it is a silver medal.

But only because the U.S. Open doesn't award the purple heart.

Mickelson might have won at Shinnecock Hills in 1995 if not for playing the par-5 16th in 6 over for the week. He nearly got into a playoff at Pinehurst No. 2 in 1999 until Payne Stewart made a 15-footer for par on the last hole. Five shots behind going into the last day at Bethpage Black, he made Tiger Woods sweat until Woods delivered a key birdie. Mickelson also was runner-up at Bethpage Black in 2009, missing a 3-foot putt on the 15th hole to kill his momentum.

Nothing was more memorable than Winged Foot in 2006, when he had a one-shot lead playing the 18th. After a tee shot into the merchandise tents left him a decent lie, he tried to carve a 3-iron around the tree, didn't pull it off and made double bogey to finish one shot behind. 'What an idiot I am,' he famously said when it was over.

He is the modern day version of the 'People's Champion.' But he is not a U.S. Open champion.


1. SAM SNEAD

Phil Mickelson has more heartache at his national open than Snead, but when it comes to the best without a U.S. Open, none was better than the Slammer. Snead owns the PGA Tour record with 82 wins. He won a British Open at St. Andrews. He won the Masters and PGA Championship three times each. All that keeps him from joining the other greats to win the Grand Slam was the U.S. Open.

Snead was runner-up four times, but the one U.S. Open that lives in infamy was in 1939 at Philadelphia Country Club. Snead only needed a par on the 18th hole to win, but not knowing the score (there were no scoreboards posted on the 18th back then) and under the impression he needed birdie, he played aggressively off the tee and went into the rough. By the time he chopped his way through the hole, he made a triple bogey and tied for fifth.

Byron Nelson wound up winning a three-man playoff.

Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

Leaderboard: Cameron Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Jason Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

What it means: Jordan Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.

Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Web.com Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday. 

Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his Web.com card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

"He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

"I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

"From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

"And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

"There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."