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.

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’


Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

Lexi Thompson:

Baking time!!

A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

David Feherty:

Jack Nicklaus:

GC Tiger Tracker:

Steve Stricker:

Golf Channel:

Frank Nobilo:

Ian Poulter:

Tyrone Van Aswegen:

Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.

Tributes pour in for legendary caddie Sheridan

By Randall MellNovember 23, 2017, 2:54 pm

Tributes are pouring in as golf celebrates the life of Greg Sheridan after receiving news of his passing.

Sheridan, a long-time LPGA caddie who worked for some of the game’s all-time greats, including Kathy Whitworth and Beth Daniel, died Wednesday in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., at 63. He was diagnosed in July 2016 with brain and lung cancer.

Sheridan worked the last dozen years or so with Natalie Gulbis, who expressed her grief in an Instagram post on Wednesday:

“Greg…I miss you so much already and it hasn’t even been a day. 15+ seasons traveling the world you carried me & my bag through the highs and lows of golf and life. You were so much more than my teammate on the course…Thank you.”

Sheridan was on Whitworth’s bag for the last of her LPGA-record 88 titles.

“When I first came on tour, I would try to find out how many times Greg won,” Gulbis told Golfweek. “It’s a crazy number, like 50.”

Matthew Galloway, a caddie and friend to Sheridan, summed up Sheridan’s impressive reach after caddying with him one year at the LPGA Founders Cup, where the game’s pioneers are honored.

“Best Greg story,” Galloway tweeted on Thanksgiving morning, “coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes, `Yep, caddied for her, her and her.’ Legend.”

In a first-person column for Golf Magazine last year, Gulbis focused on Sheridan while writing about the special bond between players and caddies. She wrote that she won the “looper lottery” when she first hired Sheridan in ’04.

“Greg and I have traveled the world, and today he is like family,” Gulbis wrote. “Sometimes, he’s a psychologist. Last year, my mom got sick and it was a distraction, but he was great. When I used to have boyfriend issues and breakup issues, he was my confidant. In a world where caddies sometimes spill secrets, Greg has kept a respectful silence, and I can’t thank him enough for that. He’s an extension of me.”

Four months after Gulbis wrote the column, Sheridan was diagnosed with cancer.

“The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time tour caddie, Greg Sheridan,” the LPGA tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP.”

Dean Herden was among the legion of caddies saddened by the news.

“Greg was a great guy who I respected a lot and taught me some great things over the years,” Herden texted to GolfChannel.com.

Here are some of heartfelt messages that are rolling across Twitter:

Retired LPGA great Annika Sorenstam:

LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in a retweet of Gulbis:

Golf Channel reporter and former tour player Jerry Foltz:

Christina Kim:

LPGA caddie Shaun Clews:

LPGA caddie Jonny Scott:

LPGA caddie Kevin Casas:

LPGA pro Jennie Lee: