Garcia, Westwood 'almost' have formula

AP Photo/Peter Morrison

Sergio Garcia has 17 top-10s in majors but has never won a major championship.The PGA Championship is billed as “Glory’s Last Shot.” For many elite players who are without a major championship to their credit, that marketing slogan is more and more true every year.

Lee Westwood has won 22 times on the European Tour, but never a major. He turns 40 in April. Steve Stricker has won 12 times on the PGA TOUR and is major-less. He’ll be 46 in February.

But which player in this week’s PGA Championship is really the best without a major title?

The “Almost Index” is a formula that attempts to statistically deduce who the best player in the world is without a major title. The formula takes into account PGA TOUR wins and top-10’s, European Tour wins and top-10’s, success in major championships, and holding a 54-hole lead in a major.

Here are your top five in the Almost Index entering the PGA Championship:

5. Dustin Johnson

PGA + European Tour wins: 6

Top-10’s in majors: 5

Almost Index: 22.8

In his young career, Johnson has been the definition of “almost” in majors. He held a three-shot lead entering the final round of 2010 U.S. Open. He had an untimely rules violation later that year at the PGA Championship. And he was in contention on Sunday last year at the Open Championship before a triple-bogey on the 14th hole.

4. Steve Stricker

PGA + European Tour wins: 12

Top-10’s in majors: 9

Almost Index: 24.9

Stricker has eight wins in the last four years but has been a non-factor in major championships. Stricker’s last top-5 finish in a major came at the 1999 U.S. Open. No active player on the PGA TOUR today has more wins without a major title than Stricker.

3. Adam Scott

PGA + European Tour wins: 13

Top-10’s in majors: 8

Almost Index: 25.3

Only two players since 1960 have blown a 54-hole lead of four-or-more shots at the Open Championship: Jean Van de Velde and Adam Scott. Scott has finished in the top-15 in each of the last four majors, and has a pair of runner-up finishes in majors in the last two years.

2. Lee Westwood

PGA + European Tour wins: 24

Top-10’s in majors: 14

Almost Index: 33.7

Lee Westwood has finished in the top-3 in seven major championships, the most for anyone in the modern era without a victory. At the U.S. Open this year, he entered Sunday just three shots back of leaders Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell, but made double-bogey on the fifth hole and never recovered.

1. Sergio Garcia

PGA + European Tour wins: 16

Top-10’s in majors: 17

Almost Index: 33.8

Westwood has closed the gap on Garcia, but the perennial leader of the “Almost Index” remains at the top of the list for now. Garcia has 17 top-10 finishes in majors since the 1999 PGA -- more than Vijay Singh (16) or Furyk (12) in that same span. Garcia missed the cut at the Open Championship this year after finishing tied for 38th at the U.S. Open.