Webb Simpson believes golf's "nearly men" draw unfair criticism for their failure to land a major championship.
The American will defend his US Open title at Merion this week after upstaging the star names 12 months ago in San Francisco, clinching a one-shot win over Graeme McDowell as Tiger Woods, Lee Westwood, Jim Furyk and Ernie Els floundered on the final day.
Westwood is one of a number of players who many believe should have at least one major in their locker, alongside other 'nearly men' like Luke Donald, Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia.
But Simpson launched a stauch defence of major-less players ahead of his bid to become the first player since Curtis Strange in 1989 to win back-to-back US Opens.
"I've said it to people a lot this year that guys who haven't won majors who are great players get a bad rap," said Simpson.
"The fact is there's only four of these a year, and it's so hard to have your game peak and beat the best players in the world one out of four times a year.
"It's so hard to put so much emphasis on four golf tournaments. So many factors have to be going well for you to compete and even get in contention on a week like this."