Is Fowler now best golfer with­out ma­jor?

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS - BY PETER SANTO

In dis­cus­sions of the best golfers with­out a ma­jor cham­pi­onship, Ser­gio Gar­cia was al­ways one of the first names men­tioned. But Gar­cia em­phat­i­cally took him­self out of the con­ver­sa­tion with a play­off vic­tory over Justin Rose at Au­gusta Na­tional Sun­day.

Now that Gar­cia has a green jacket, here are some of the best play­ers who still lack a ma­jor cham­pi­onship vic­tory:

Rickie Fowler: Fowler is known for his flashy out­fits and af­fec­tion­ate fan fol­low­ing, but ques­tions about his game still re­main. The 28-year old has seven career vic­to­ries, in­clud­ing a win at the so-called fifth ma­jor, The Play­ers Cham­pi­onship. Shoot­ing a 76 Sun­day af­ter start­ing the day just one shot be­hind the lead­ers didn’t do much to si­lence the doubters.

Lee West­wood: West­wood has won 41 times as a pro­fes­sional, and has come oh-so-close at the ma­jors, with 18 top-10s and three run­ner ups. But time could be run­ning out for the for­mer world No. 1. West­wood turns 44 in April.

Hideki Mat­suyama: At just 25, Mat­suyama is on the bor­der of be­ing too young for this list. But his im­pres­sive cre­den­tials sug­gest he de­serves to be in­cluded. He’s up to No. 4 in the Of­fi­cial World Golf Rank­ing and has 11 pro­fes­sional vic­to­ries. He also has five top-10 fin­ishes in 18 ma­jor ap­pear­ances. At this point, it ap­pears it is a ques­tion of when, not if, Mat­suyama will be­come Ja­pan’s first ma­jor cham­pion.

Branden Grace: Grace is still rel­a­tively un­known to Americans, but he has 11 world­wide vic­to­ries. Prior to the Masters, Grace had posted four top-five fin­ishes in the last seven ma­jors.

Pa­trick Reed: Reed is the Amer­i­can Ry­der Cup hero, and has five PGA Tour wins to his credit at just 26 years old. But

that suc­cess has failed to carry over to the ma­jor cham­pi­onships. Reed has yet to log a top 10 fin­ish in 13 tries.

Matt Kuchar: Given his prox­im­ity the top of the leader­board at nearly ev­ery PGA Tour event, it’s a bit shock­ing Kuchar has just seven vic­to­ries. A T4 fin­ish at this year’s Masters marked his eighth top-10 fin­ish at a ma­jor. But alas, his best win re­mains The Play­ers in 2012.

Brooks Koepka: How can some­one with just two pro­fes­sional vic­to­ries make this list? Well, Koepka has seven top-15 fin­ishes in ma­jors since 2014.

Ian Poul­ter: Like Reed, Poul­ter hasn’t car­ried Ry­der Cup suc­cess over to ma­jor cham­pi­onships. The out­spo­ken English­man has eight ma­jor top-10s and 12 Euro­pean Tour wins, but at 41, time could be run­ning out.

Brandt Snedeker: We all re­mem­ber Snedeker’s tear-filled press con­fer­ence af­ter a Sun­day 77 cost him the green jacket in 2008. While he does have a Tour Cham­pi­onship win and FedEx Cup ti­tle on his re­sume, the 36-year old re­mains with­out a ma­jor.

Bill Haas: Haas has six career vic­to­ries and won the 2011 FedEx Cup ti­tle. But the 34-year old has posted just one ma­jor top-10.

Hon­or­able Men­tion

Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas: Both have PGA Tour wins this sea­son, and Thomas shot 59 at the Sony Open in Jan­uary. But Rahm’s played in just two ma­jors, and Thomas only seven. Ad­di­tion­ally, their com­bined age is just 45. Give them some time.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Rickie Fowler fin­ished a shot be­hind Justin Rose and Ser­gio Gar­cia in the Masters.

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