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  Monday, 12 August, 2002, 10:56 GMT 11:56 UK
A European graveyard
Sergio Garcia finished second in the 1999 USPGA
Sergio Garcia finished second in the 1999 USPGA
European golfers might be forgiven for regarding the USPGA as the least important Major.

After all, it is 72 years since a player from Europe had the pleasure of lifting the Rodman Wanamaker trophy.

In those days the tournament was a matchplay event and Tommy Armour, known as the 'Silver Scot', claimed the 1930 title in after beating Gene Sarazen on the final green.

A decade earlier, Jack Hutchinson, from St Andrews, won $500 after beating Douglas Edgar.

The first winner Jim Barnes, victorious in 1916, was born in Cornwall but had long since moved to America.

And that is about it, as far as European success is concerned.

Montgomerie lost out in a play-off in 1995
Montgomerie lost out in a play-off in 1995

The American grip on the tournament loosened in 1962 when South African Gary Player won.

But only players from Zimbabwe, Australia, Fiji and South Africa have managed to stop an American winning the tournament since it became a strokeplay event in 1958.

With the USPGA traditionally following hot on the heels of The Open Championship, a lack of time to prepare has often been cited as a reason for European failure.

But players such as Jesper Parnevik and Sergio Garcia now play most of their golf on the US tour and there is no obvious excuse.

As BBC pundit Peter Alliss says: "It's difficult to know why European-based players struggle to challenge over there."

However, the Europeans have been getting closer since Seve Ballesteros finished fifth in 1984.

At the height of his powers, Nick Faldo finished joint second in 1992, third the following year and joint fourth the year after that.

Garcia pushed Woods

Colin Montgomerie, desperate to win a Major, almost ended Europe's miserable run in 1995.

However, Australia's Steve Elkington holed a 25-yard putt to snatch the title from the Scot's grasp at the first extra play-off hole.

Four years later Garcia, a professional for only three months, announced his arrival with a superb second-placed finish, losing to Tiger Woods by just one shot.

But before thoughts of a European winner create too much excitement, it is worth considering one fact.

The last European to win a Major was Paul Lawrie at The Open, three years and 11 Majors ago.


Beem takes title

Final leaderboard

Hazeltine reaction

Photo galleries

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