Top 10: Unlikely one-time Major winnersJuly, 2015
Not necessarily the worst but our top single Major honour winning players
Often you get players who come to the forefront of Major tournaments, there are a wide range of players in the mix for Major honours as it’s easy to play up to an occasion.
There are those that have overachieved, and those that have underachieved, in our top 10 one-time Major winners list we have chose 10 of the players that have shocked when winning and went on to severely slip down the pecking order after being crowned a Major winnner.
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Not strictly the ‘definitive’ list, but these are ‘our’ top 10 one-time Major winners.
1. Ian Baker Finch
Finchy’s early retirement, at 37 – prompted by a severe confidence crisis – might have saved him from a higher ranking in our list!
2. Todd Hamilton
Hamilton won the Honda Classic just a few months before the Open, but has logged only four top-10s in the 11 years since winning at Troon. Maybe a return to the Japan Golf Tour, where in the 1990s and early 2000s, he won 11 times might have been a solution to his winless streak.
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3. David Duval
Tthis former World Number One is easily the most accomplished player on this list. But in the 14 years since Lytham, Duval suffered injuries, vertigo and a love affair with snowboarding that may help to explain Duval’s drought. It might also explain why he has taken a step into the commentators box and is more likely to be found analysing the PGA Tour than appearing.
4. Paul Lawrie
Lawrie was the recipient of the Claret Jug in ’99 largely thanks to a human self-destructing on live television in front of millions of people around the world. Lawrie’s third-round 76 left him 10 strokes back of Jean van de Velde, who eventually choked away the championship on the 18th hole at Carnoustie. His best finish in a major since his Open win came in 2012, when he tied for 24th at the Masters.
5. Shawn Micheel
Micheel (yes, it is the correct spelling) recording his first, and still only, Tour win at the last Oak Hill PGA, over a decade ago. To be fair, Micheel has had runner-up finishes in the 2006 PGA and the 2006 HSBC World Match Play, where he beat Tiger Woods in the first round.
6. Larry Mize
Lucky Larry Mize, as he could be known. In the 1987 Masters, Mize, an Augusta native, was locked up with famously unlucky Aussie Greg Norman in a playoff. On the second playoff hole, Mize chipped in from off the green for birdie, securing the victory.
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7. Tony Lema
Tony Lema could be considered unlucky to be on this list, it’s doubtful he wouldn’t be here if his plane did not run out of fuel in 1966 on his way to a tournament when he was only 32. He’d already won 12 titles, including five in 1964. He had already had eight top-10 finishes in majors over the past four years, including a second place in the 1963 Masters Tournament. Unfortunately, planes can run out of fuel, and so Lema has to make our list.
8. Tom Lehman
Despite being ranked number one in the world, Lehman has only won five time on the PGA Tour and only twice on the European Tour. But he did win the 1996 Open Championship. He also won The Tour Championship that same year. Six times Lehman finished in the top-three in a major, but only once on top.
9. Wayne Grady
The Aussie had wins on the PGA Tour [the 1989 Westchester Classic] and the European Tour [the 1984 German Open] before his big week at Shoal Creek. But after raising the Wanamaker, he recorded top-10 finishes in just 3.5 percent of his starts.
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10. Mark Brooks
And our out and out “winner” has to be Mr. Brooks! He had six titles before vitory at Valhalla, and at the 2001 U.S. Open he was a mere 18-hole playoff away from becoming a two-time major champ (Retief Goosen eventually won by two strokes). 400 starts and no wins later…almost cursed.