AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Sergio Garcia finally won himself a major championship, and he has now been taken off the all-time list of best golfers without a big one. Not only was Garcia the best in the game without one of the big four titles, he was one of the best ever. He’s delighted to not be in that former category anymore.
“The way I tried to look at it was in a positive way,” said Garcia of the moniker. “Obviously, I like where I stand now better. But it’s always nice to be recognized or seen as the best player to not have won a major, because at least best player, there’s a good thing there. So that’s the way I looked at it.
“Well, I don’t have to answer that anymore. Now I’ll have to answer, I don’t know if I’ll be the best player to have only won one major. But I can live with that.”
So who takes the mantle? I have some candidates. Remember, these are not the best careers of golfers who do not have majors but rather the best golfers currently playing who have not won one.
1. Justin Thomas: You can make the argument that Rickie Fowler is better, and I’ll listen to it. I give Thomas the mantle, though. He has a better pedigree and has gotten off to a better start in his pro career.
2. Rickie Fowler: Without a major to his name yet, Fowler will likely wind up a one-time winner who has a chance at a second. That’s how his career should unfold. His time will most certainly come as long as he keeps taking big swings at the big tournaments. Fowler had nothing close to his best stuff at Augusta National and still finished top 12.
3. Jon Rahm: I am all the way in on Rahm. He showed me so much at Augusta, and I think he’s a top 10 golfer in the world right now.
4. Hideki Matsuyama: You could put him anywhere between 1-5 on this list, and I would listen. I think he’s a tick below those first three and better than the rest. I also think he’s a one-time major winner who could win two.
5. Brooks Koepka: He finished top 11 at the Masters which is his seventh (!) straight top 20 at a major. He is the American Thomas Pieters. That makes Pieters the European Koepka.
6. Thomas Pieters: His Masters performance (T4) proved to me that his Ryder Cup showing was not a fluke. Bring me all the stock!
T7 Brandt Snedeker: Former FedEx Cup champion and eight-time winner on the PGA Tour. His resume is super strong even if it doesn’t include a major championship.
T7 Matt Kuchar: He and Snedeker are interchangeable to me. I’m not sure if he’ll ever win the big one, but he’s had a really great career. Another backdoor top 10 at the Masters!
9. Lee Westwood: He is the poor man’s Sergio Garcia. Westwood did not snag another top 10 at the Masters, but he now has seven top 20s in the last eight years.
10. Daniel Berger: You could put anybody in this slot between Matthew Fitzpatrick, Gary Woodland, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Emiliano Grillo and many more. But Fitzpatrick just had another pretty good week at Augusta, so I’ll go with him.