With the 2014 Masters upon us, we put our formula* to work again to rank the best current players without a major championship.*FORMULA: PGA Tour/European Tour wins since start of 2012 (WGC, FedEx Playoff, Players & BMW PGA events weighted more) + Average Official World Golf Ranking points + Career "close calls" in major championships (finishing within four shots of winner).
Score: 7.05Holding him back: AgeBest chance: 1998 PGA Championship (Played in final group and shot 70 to finish runner-up, two shots behind Vijay Singh)Breakdown: At 46, Stricker is by far the oldest on this list and not coincidentally, the shortest hitter. Still, the U.S. Open at Merion showed he's still got the game to contend at the right venue. More than anyone else from this crop, though, the self-proclaimed "semi-retired" Stricker's window of opportunity is getting close to being closed for good -- which is what made his final-round meltdown at Merion particularly painful.
Score: 8.62Holding him back: Ball-strikingBest chance: 2013 British Open (A torrid Sunday stretch got him to within two shots of the lead on the back nine before he cooled off and finished T-3)Breakdown: People may be surprised to find Poulter so far down the list, but the clutch putting he's displayed in the Ryder Cup hasn't always carried over to the game's biggest individual events. That doesn't mix well for a below-average player on the PGA Tour when it comes to greens in regulation.
Score: 9.39Holding him back: Total drivingBest chance: 2011 Masters (A late flurry, including a chip-in on the final hole of regulation, gave him a T-4, four shots behind winner Charl Schwartzel)Breakdown: Of the players on this list, Donald has won the most tournaments since the start of 2011, a big reason why he's spent the most time ranked No. 1. However, his lack of high finishes in majors is perplexing. Only one time has he played in the final group at a major (2006 PGA Championship) and he did not fare well. If you recall, he matched Tiger Woods by wearing red that day (left). Let's just say he didn't match his score.
Score: 10.18Holding him back: Short gameBest chance: 2013 U.S. Open (Played in the final group with Phil Mickelson and was in contention before playing the final four holes in four over to finish T-4, four shots behind Justin Rose)Breakdown: Mahan has improved his chipping since his infamous blunder at the 2010 Ryder Cup, but the fact that Merion was his first top five in 30 major championship starts is stunning. However, he appears to be headed in the right direction after earning a spot in the final group at the British Open a month later as well.
Score: 11.67Holding him back: Sunday playBest chance: 2008 Masters (Playing in the last group on Sunday, he shot 77 to finish T-3 when a 72 would have won)Breakdown: A win at the 2012 Tour Championship to claim the FedEx Cup led into a torrid start to the 2013 season and his ascension into the top five in the Official World Golf Ranking. However, he fell down the leader board in yet another chance to win his first major at the recent Masters.
Score: 12.1Holding him back: Course managementBest chance: 2010 PGA Championship (Finished T-5 thanks to a two-shot penalty for grounding his club in a bunker on the final hole of regulation that kept him out of a playoff)Breakdown: Considering some of the opportunities he's had in his young career, it's amazing DJ hasn't broken through yet. Aside from the incident at Whistling Straits, there was also the final-round 82 at Pebble Beach at the 2010 U.S. Open and the costly shot OB late Sunday at the 2011 British Open. Johnson is probably the most talented player of this crop, but his Sunday decision making still needs work.
Score: 12.78Holding him back: Short gameClosest call: 2009 British Open (Three-putted final hole of regulation to finish T-3, one shot out of a playoff with Stewart Cink and Tom Watson)Breakdown: Westwood has put himself in contention at golf's four biggest events as often as anyone in recent years. He's finished in top three at all four, including in seven of 15 at one stretch from 2008 to 2012. However, his putter has gone cold at some inopportune times, most notably at Turnberry in 2009. Westwood picked up an eighth top-three finish at a major at the 2013 British Open at Muirfield, where he led by two after 54 holes before being passed by Phil Mickelson and his magical final-round 66.
Score: 12.8Holding him back: AttitudeClosest Call: 2007 British Open (Missed an eight-footer for the win in regulation before losing in a playoff to Padraig Harrington)Breakdown: The playoff loss at Carnoustie was Garcia's toughest loss (left), but there have been other close calls. The Spaniard has 18 top 10s and nine top fives in majors, including a runner-up to Tiger Woods at the 1999 PGA Championship at 19. Combine that with his eight PGA Tour wins, including a Players, and Garcia probably has the best career resume of anyone on this list. Unfortunately, those close calls have created enough scar tissue for Garcia to hint numerous times that he doesn't have what it takes to win a major. Yeah, that kind of thinking probably doesn't help.
Score: 14.14Holding him back: Too nice?Best chance: 2012 Masters (Tied for the lead with three holes to play on Sunday before finishing T-3)Breakdown: The seemingly always smiling Kuchar has had his toughness questioned at times, but big wins at the Players in 2012 and the WGC-Match Play earlier this year have shown he's made strides as a competitor. And of course, some of the older players would count him as a major winner already having captured the 1997 U.S. Amateur.
Score: 14.46Holding him back: ConsistencyBest chance: 2011 Masters (Had a share of the lead at several points during the final round and finished birdie-birdie. But he wound up T-2 as Charl Schwartzel birdied the final four holes to overtake him)Breakdown: A T-2 at Merion was already the 25-year-old's third runner-up in a major to go along with a third-place finish at the 2013 Masters. Day won the 2013 World Cup as well as the 2014 WGC-Match Play.
And the best player in the world without a major is. . .
Score: 15.73Holding him back: Short gameBest chance: 2013 PGA Championship (Finished third to Jason Dufner)Breakdown: After a couple quiet years, the Swede is back and playing the best golf of his life. His third place finish at the PGA came three weeks after a runner-up to Phil Mickelson at the British Open. He then captured two of the four FedEx Cup Playoff events, including the Tour Championship. Having won golf's biggest payday -- the $10 million bonus that comes with claiming the FedEx Cup -- Stenson is a heavy favorite to be the first person to remove his name from this list in 2014.