Ranking the 10 worst golfers to win a recent major championship

By Evan Hilbert | CBSSports.com

Paul Lawrie has one major championship top 10 in his career.
Paul Lawrie has one major championship top 10 in his career. (Getty Images)

Each year before the four major championships the question arises: Who is the best player to have never won a major?

Now, in the spirit of Christmas being over, we decided to turn this discussion on its head and instead list the worst players to have won a major.

Of course, identifying the worst of the best is a mighty subjective endeavor, and we decided to keep it to players in the last 50 years.

And remember, these guys are still better at golf than 99 percent of the world population. So "worst," of course, is a relative term.

10. Steve Jones, 1996 U.S. Open

It's difficult placing a guy like Jones, who has won eight times on tour, on a list of "worst" golfers. But when it comes to major champions, he's certainly near the bottom. Jones has finished in the top 10 in a major just three times, and he's been south of the cut line 13 times.

9. Ian Baker-Finch, 1991 British Open

Baker-Finch entered the international golf world with promise and didn't disappoint, winning his first professional tournament. But Baker-Finch was less successful on the PGA Tour, winning just twice and never recapturing the glory of the '91 Open Championship. He missed 10 consecutive cuts in majors from 1994-96, and withdrew from the '97 British Open after firing an opening 92. He retired shortly thereafter.

8. Wayne Grady, 1990 PGA Championship

Surprisingly, Grady was nearly a two-time major championship winner. The Australian lost to Mark Calcavecchia in a four-hole playoff at the '89 British Open, then came back the following year to win the PGA. It was all downhill from there. Grady never won again on tour and finished in the top 10 of a major just once in the next 15 years.

7. Larry Mize, 1987 Masters

Luck was very kind to Larry Mize. 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.

Mize has missed the cut at the Masters 13 times since that shot.

6. Todd Hamilton, 2004 British Open

Todd Hamilton, to date, has appeared in 32 major championships. He has made the cut 16 times. He has one top 10, which came in the '04 Open Championship, when he defeated Ernie Els in a playoff. Hamilton hasn't won on tour since.

5. Michael Campbell, 2005 U.S. Open

Campbell, the most-recent winner on the list, has had varying levels of success all over the world. He's won 15 times in all and was named the 2005 European Tour Player of the Year after a magical season. On the PGA Tour, though, he's won just once, at the '05 U.S. Open ahead of Tiger Woods. Of note: He's 0-for-10 in cuts made at the Masters.

4. Rich Beem, 2002 PGA Championship

Coming into the '02 PGA, Beem had only won twice on tour. Now he's won three times in all and has only made the cut in 12-of-31 majors. He did win a Nissan Altima once with a hole-in-one, so that's nice.

3. Paul Lawrie, 1999 British Open

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. He has never won in America, and hasn't been all that successful elsewhere. His best finish in a major since his win came in 2012, when he tied for 24th at the Masters.

2. Orville Moody, 1969 U.S. Open

The late Orville Moody is popularly considered to be the least-successful golfer to win a major, given that his victory at the U.S. Open was his only career win in 266 starts. It should be noted, however, that a chunk of Moody's would-be career was spent in the military, where he served 14 years. Somewhat stunning, still, that Moody won a major championship ahead of the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, and Arnold Palmer.

1. Shaun Micheel, 2003 PGA Championship

Ironic that our worst player to win a major label goes to a guy that hit one of the most clutch shots in major championship history.

It has been pretty much downhill from there for Micheel, who hasn't won on tour since and has missed the cut in 13 of the past 23 majors he has entered. In 380 career starts on the PGA Tour, Micheel has one win.

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