The 86th edition of The Masters is approaching and the 2022 tournament is played from Apr. 7-10 at Augusta National Golf Club.
Of course, fans in the Peach State are well aware of the significance of the event, and its place in golf history.
The greatest players have walked the hilly, beautiful and meticulously maintained masterpiece and competed on the hallowed grounds at Augusta. And as Georgia considers joining the field of legalized sports betting, betting on the Masters will become a new way to take in the iconic event.
But many of golf’s greatest players and Hall of Fame players never won The Masters despite having seemingly one arm in the green jacket with a chance to win during the final round.
Some of those unfortunate golfers lost out to other champions that provided some of the most memorable moments in Masters history.
In a tribute to Amen Corner and Rae’s Creek along holes 11 through 13 at Augusta National, and “Heartbreak Highway” starting at hole 10 through 12, here are a dozen of the best players who never won a Green Jacket at The Masters. The “Golden Bell” list from the spectacular and scenic setting at hole No. 12.
No. 13 Mulligan: Bobby Jones
Bobby Jones was a 7-time major champion from 1923 to 1930. Jones is recognized as one of the most influential figures in the history of the sport. A lawyer by profession, Jones was the most successful amateur golfer ever to compete at a national and international level.
Jones had a short career competing against the game’s best at the time including Walter Hagen and Gene Sarazen. Shortly after retiring, Jones founded Augusta National with Clifford Jones, and he designed the course with Alister Mackenzie.
Jones was co-founder of The Masters, and the private club opened for play in 1932. Jones made 12 ceremonial appearances and never finished better than T13.
The Masters at Augusta National has been providing magical and memorable moments ever since Jones founded the course and tournament. The former plant nursery has each hole on the course named after the tree or shrub with which it has become associated.
No. 12 Walter Hagen
From 1914 to 1929, Walter Hagen won 11 major championships – the second most in golf history behind Jack Nicklaus (18) and Tiger Woods (15). Sir Walter never won The Masters, but the “father of professional golf” was the first golfer to earn $1 million, and he brought publicity, prestige, big prize money and lucrative endorsements to the sport.
Walter Hagen was a 6-time Ryder Cup Captain and helped establish the PGA.
No. 11 Tom Weiskopf
Tom Weiskopf finished runner-up four times at The Masters between 1969 and 1976. His 1976 win at the U.S. Open was one of his 16 PGA Tour wins.
No. 10 Robert De Vicenzo
Argentinian Robert De Vicenzo won a record 229 professional golf tournaments around the world, including seven on the PGA Tour.
De Vicenzo had 17 top-10 finishes in the majors, including three at the Masters. That included finishing one shot behind Bob Goalby in 1968 after signing an incorrect scorecard. De Vicenzo showed a par-4 on the 17th hole instead of the birdie-3, which would have put him in a playoff.
No. 9 Johnny Miller
Johnny Miller won 25 PGA Tour titles and finished his career with 105 top 10 finishes. The San Francisco native won the US Open (1973) and Open Championship (1976), and during those four years he won 16 times on the PGA Tour.
Miller finished runner-up three times in The Masters.
No. 8 Hale Irwin
Hale Irwin won three US Opens and had 20 top-10 finishes in the majors, but was never a Masters champion. He finished top 10 on seven occasions at Augusta National and earned 20 PGA Tour wins before dominating the Champions Tour with 45 more titles.
No. 7 Davis Love
Davis Love III won 21 times on the PGA Tour and had one major title, the 1997 PGA Championship. Love finished runner-up at the Masters in 1995 and 1999, and DL3 had multiple other top 10 finishes.
No. 6 Justin Thomas
Justin Thomas has 14 PGA Tour wins and one major title at the 2017 PGA Championship. The 27-year-old is currently ranked No. 7 in the world and has reached No. 1 for five weeks during his career.
Thomas’ best Masters finish is 4th in 2020, and he finished T12 in 2019.
No. 5 Jon Rahm
Currently the No. 1 ranked golfer in the world, Jon Rahm has held the No. 1 spot for 43 weeks in his career. The 27-year-old Spaniard won the 2021 US Open and has six PGA Tour titles and six International victories.
Rahm is shooting for his first Masters win and Green Jacket, and he’s finished top 10 in The Masters four straight years since 2018 including a pair of top 5 finishes.
No. 5 Lee Trevino
The Mexican-American Lee Trevino won 29 career PGA Tour titles including six majors. He twice won the PGA, US Open and Open Championship, but never a Green Jacket. In 20 starts at Augusta, Trevino’s best finish was tied for 10th in The Masters.
No. 4 Brooks Koepka
Brooks Koepka has won eight times on the PGA Tour with four major titles – 2 US Opens and 2 PGA Championships. The 31-year-old has been ranked No. 1 in the world for 47 weeks during his career, and he’s still shooting for his first Masters title and Green Jacket.
Koepka has finished T11 at The Masters in 2017, T2 in 2019 and T7 in 2020.
No. 3 Ernie Els
For two decades in the 1990s and 2000s, Ernie Els won 19 PGA Tour titles and had 47 International victories. The “Big Easy” was a four-time major champion but never a Masters champ and finished runner-up twice in 2000 and 2004, the latter when Phil Mickelson made the 20-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to win and avoid a playoff with Els.
Over five years (2000 to ’04), Els never finished worse than sixth in The Masters.
No. 2 Rory McIlroy
Since winning the Open Championship in 2014 for his fourth major title, Rory McIlroy has stepped on the edge of completing the career grand slam. He’s finished top 10 at The Masters six times since 2014 including three top 5 finishes.
But in 2011 at age 21, McIlroy held the 54 hole lead by four shots and led the tournament standing on the 10th tee. He made a triple-bogey on No. 10, a double-bogey on No. 12, shot 80 in the final round and finish T15.
McIlroy has won on the PGA Tour 20 times and has 29 wins worldwide. Since 1986 and the inception of the Official World Golf Rankings, McIlroy has been ranked No. 1 in the world for 106 weeks – fourth-most all-time.
No. 1 Greg Norman
Heartbreak hardly describes what this all-time great Australian has endured at The Masters. Greg Norman was the most dominant golfer in the game in the 1980s and 1990s. He won 89 professional tournaments, including 20 PGA Tour titles, but just two majors. The ‘Shark’ spent 331 weeks ranked No. 1 – second-most all-time behind five-time Masters winner Tiger Woods (683).
In 23 career appearances at The Masters, Norman finished in the top 10 nine times including six top 5 finishes. In 1986, he made a string of four straight birdies on the back nine Sunday to sit tied for the lead with Jack Nicklaus. Needing a birdie to win and par to get into a playoff, Norman hit the fairway on 18 but pushed his approach shot into the gallery. A missed 20-foot par putt left him short of victory.
The next year in 1987, Norman was in a playoff with Augusta native Larry Mize, who made a remarkable 140 foot chip-and-run shot for birdie as Norman stood on the green eyeing his near 50-foot putt, which he ultimately missed.
But 1996 is one to remember, or forget. Norman played brilliantly for three rounds, opening with a course-record 63 and held a six-shot lead over Nick Falco into Sunday. The shakes and misfired shots began mounting for the Shark, who still held a 2-shot lead to start the back nine.
But the white-haired Aussie bogeyed 10 and 11 and then hit his tee shot into Rae’s Creek on the 12th for a double bogey. The sinking Shark hit into the water again at 16 for another double-bogey and finished with a 78, five shots behind his playing partner and 3-time Masters champion, Nick Faldo.
Unfortunately, Norman’s misfires and mistakes cost him his chance at a Masters title and Green Jacket, and the Sharks 1996 bone-jarring bite in defeat had to hurt the most and is recognized as one of the greatest collapses in major golf history.
Photo Credit: Dave Martin / Associated Press