Phil Mickelson must have been in heaven last week as golf writers
from Augusta to Alaska pumped out lists of the Best Players Never
to Have Won a Major and his name was no longer on them. But not
so fast, Phil. We have a new list, Best Players to Have Won Only
One Major, and guess who made the cut?
1. PHIL MICKELSON 2004 MASTERS He won the 1991 Northern Telecom
Open while still an amateur and has gone on to take 22 more Tour
events. After a number of close calls at majors, he gets bonus
points for persistence, but loses them for pigheadedness: If it
hadn't taken him 12 years to figure out that keeping the ball in
play is key, he might've won more majors than Tiger by now.
2. TOM WEISKOPF 1973 BRITISH OPEN He may have been more talented
than any player of his generation, including Nicklaus. He won 15
other Tour events and had a second at the U.S. Open and three
runner-up finishes at the Masters. But he couldn't control his
emotions on the course, which kept him short of true greatness.
3. LANNY WADKINS 1977 PGA A fierce competitor who won 21 times
during a 29-year career, Wadkins was the Mickelson of his
era--aggressive to a fault.
April 25, 2004
4. TOMMY BOLT 1958 U.S. OPEN A hothead who always dreamed of an
Open win, he coasted after achieving his goal. If there had been
sports psychologists in Bolt's heyday, one might've helped him
chill out, aim higher and win a lot more than his 15 titles.
5. DAVIS LOVE III 1997 PGA DL3 has made a career of coming up
short in big moments. Besides his 18 Tour victories he has two
faltering seconds at the Masters and two top fives at the U.S.
Open. If the rainbow over the 18th at his PGA win was a sign of
heavenly intervention, it might take more of the same for him to
get another major.
6. FRED COUPLES 1992 MASTERS With 15 Tour victories Freddie is
lucky he's not on the Best Never to Win a Major list. How his tee
shot on the 12th at Augusta stayed out of the water is a case not
even the crew from CSI could crack.
7. DAVID DUVAL 2001 BRITISH OPEN The 1993 college player of the
year and a four-time All-America, he dominated pre-Tiger and is
king of the Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda Club. Besides 13 Tour wins,
he's had two seconds at the Masters and three top 10s at the U.S.
8. RETIEF GOOSEN 2001 U.S. OPEN He's won only three times on
Tour, but those come on top of 16 worldwide victories and
back-to-back years (2001 and '02) as the leading money winner on
the European tour. And he has a game built for the majors: He's
long and straight, and he putts well.
9. TOM KITE 1992 U.S. OPEN He was never the most compelling
player, but his work ethic and consistency brought him 19 Tour
victories. His Open win was a cherry on top for a guy who was the
Tour's most successful grinder.
10. HAL SUTTON 1983 PGA The original Next Nicklaus, this year's
U.S. Ryder Cup captain has 14 Tour wins, including a Tour
Championship and the 2000 Players, at which he beat back Tiger in
an intense Monday showdown.