Cameron Smith wins, but who were golf’s unluckiest losers?

Cameron Smith wins, but who were golf’s unluckiest losers?

Cameron Smith started 2022 in scintillating fashion, as he stormed to victory at the Sentry Tournament of Champions last week. Finishing on -34 (258), the Aussie set a new PGA Tour record for the lowest 72-hole score, and it was a magnificent display.

In doing so, Smith picked up his fourth PGA Tour title, and he will be one to watch this year. However, over the years, there have also been many tales of woe. Winning on the Tour is never easy, but let’s reminisce on five of the unluckiest losers.

Jon Rahm falls agonisingly short (Sentry Tournament of Champions, 2022)

We had to start off with poor Jon Rahm! The Spaniard did little wrong as he kept to his end of the bargain by shooting a seven-under-par final round of 66, and he tried to keep the pressure on Smith.

Rahm managed 32 birdies over four rounds, tying for the most number of birdies achieved in a PGA Tour tournament. While Rahm did everything in his power to claw things back, his final score of -33 left him one stroke behind Smith.

Brooks Koepka heartache (US Open, 2019)

At times, winning majors had come easily to Brooks Koepka. He had won back-to-back US Opens at Erin Hills in 2017, and Shinnecock in 2018, but it wasn’t to be the following year at Pebble Beach in 2019.

In 2018, he matched the lowest score to par (-16). At Pebble Beach, he seemed to be on course for victory, as he became the first player in the history of the competition to shoot all four rounds in the 60s and not win. Gary Woodland landed his first major, and he finished three strokes ahead of Koepka. However, bet365 are offering odds of 14/1 for Koepka to win his third US Open title this summer.

Jordan Spieth pipped to Claret Jug (The Open, 2021)

Greg Norman’s record at Royal St George’s in 1993 of -13 looked like it would stand the test of time. Jordan Spieth – who lifted the Claret Jug at Royal Birkdale four years earlier – was firmly in the mix and he must have thought he was going to win The Open again.

But fellow American Collin Morikawa failed to read the script, and he posted -15 overall to take his place in the winners’ circle. Spieth will be hoping to get his hands on The Open again at the 150th anniversary of the tournament at St Andrews this summer. He is currently garnering a price of 14/1 with Paddy Power.

Steve Stricker mystery (Bob Hope Classic, 2009)

History beckoned for Steve Stricker. The Ryder-Cup winning captain was set to eclipse Ernie Els’ previous record of 31-under, which had been set in 2003.

At the Bob Hope Classic, Stricker was setting the tournament ablaze with some astonishing golf that saw him shoot 33-under for the first four rounds, after posting scores of 61 and 62 in rounds three and four.

However, back in those days, the Bob Hope Classic was played over five rounds. And on the Sunday, Stricker was far from his best as he faded, scoring 77 to finish third. This was a case of what could have been!

Paul Gow goes birdie crazy, but misses out (B.C. Open, 2001)

At the time, Paul Gow was a relatively unheralded golfer. That however changed at the B.C. Open. And his story was certainly a hard luck one. In New York, Gow had a birdie fest, as he drained a record 32 birdies.

Despite finishing on 22-under, the final round went to a play-off, which Gow lost to Jeff Sluman. And to this day, a PGA Tour title has evaded Gow’s grasp.