Sky Sports looks through the archives to pick the top ten nearly men in world of sport

By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH.   Last Updated: 23/07/13 7:32pm

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They're the good guys who we all want to do well and who at times look unbeatable but are just unable to grab hold of their sport's greatest prize - let's meet our top ten nearly men.

Lee Westwood went close to a major yet again at Muirfield, and although he has time to pick up that coveted titlel there are sports stars throughout recent times that have not quite reached their pinnacle no matter how hard they try.

Here's our top ten, let us know your thoughts below...

Colin Montgomerie

Monty is the first name on everyone's lips when the topic of 'best golfer to never win a major' comes around - and it's easy to see why as the eight-time European No.1 could, and should, have won at least one of golf's big four. He finished second five times, lost in two play-offs and suffered his most famous agony in the US Open at Winged Foot when he misjudged his approach shot on the 18th and then three-putted to lose by a shot.

Jimmy White

The 'Whirlwind' was the people's champion at the Crucible, but he went one better than Monty and managed to finish runner-up six times as he lost the full half dozen of his World Championship finals. White defines the 'Nearly Man' tag - the likeable left-hander being roared on by his legion of fans but finding Stephen Hendry mainly in his way - most notably when the Scot came from 14-8 down to win ten in a row and claim the 1992 title.

Tim Henman

'Tiger Tim' was the darling of Wimbledon but Britain's top tennis star could not make it beyond the six major semi-finals he lost in - four of them coming on SW19's hallowed Centre Court in five years. Henman at least went down to the eventual champion each year, twice to Pete Sampras, once to Lleyton Hewitt and most memorably wildcard Goran Ivanisevic, who looked to be beaten until rain stepped in and, regrouped, he ended Henman's hopes.

Dean Macey

The 'Dean Machine' seemed to have all the physical tools to follow Daley Thompson into British sporting folklore as a decathlon star, but it was ultimately his body that let him down. World Championship silver came in 1999, but no Olympic medals would follow as, despite some hugely gutsy efforts, he could never quite get an injury-free run and two agonising fourth-placed finishes only added to the disappointment for the Canvey Islander.

Patrick Ewing

Former New York Knicks centre Patrick Ewing is a Hall of Famer, one of the best players to grace the NBA and even had his own brand of shoes, but even that is not enough to make it in an era dominated by Michael Jordan. Any other time and Ewing may have been the man but the Jordan-powered Chicago Bulls always got in the way and Ewing ended his career as the 16th-highest scorer in history but without an NBA title.

Matt Jansen

Matt Jansen in action during his Blackburn days

He may not be a huge name, but former Blackburn striker Jansen had the world at his feet before things started to go wrong. Turning heads at Carlisle, Jansen rejected a move to Manchester United to join Crystal Palace, before flourishing at Blackburn. He was denied an England debut due to illness but still had his 2002 World Cup suit fitted before missing out in favour of Martin Keown. He then suffered a near-fatal motorbike accident in the summer of 2002 and his career was never the same again.

Dan Marino

A legendary NFL quarterback and one of the most recognised names in the sport, but the former Miami Dolphins triggerman could never quite fire his side to the Super Bowl title. Marino broke every passing record during his time in the league, the Dolphins retired is famous old No 13 shirt and he made the Hall of Fame, but his fingers are still without a Super Bowl ring to show for his efforts.

Richard Johnson

The main problem of being in a sporting era dominated by a genius is that someone has to come second, and for AP McCoy that man is Richard Johnson - who is second on the list of all-time winners behind the 18-time champion jockey. Johnson would have been a multiple champion had it not been for McCoy, and although he has won all the big races at Cheltenham, the Grand National has eluded him.

Chris Amon

New Zealand Formula One driver Amon is regarded as one of the best racers never to win a Grand Prix, with him also being labelled as the most unfortunate. On multiple occasions strange retirements such as a stone in the radiator when he was in the lead cost him a victory, and he was so unlucky that the great Mario Andretti famously once said: "If he became an undertaker, people would stop dying".

Frankie Fredericks

The Namibian sprinter did wonders for his country in the Olympics, grabbing their first - and thus far only four medals - but all of them were silver and, especially coming with such small margins, that epitomises the life of the nearly man. Fredericks finished second in the 100m and 200m in both the Barcelona and Atlanta Olympics, and just a few hundredths of a second here and there could have seen him remembered as one of the best Olympic champions of all time.

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