April 12, 2020 / 10:41 PM / 3 months ago

Golf: Four-time major runner-up Sanders dies aged 86

FILE PHOTO: Former professional golfer Doug Sanders of the U.S. poses for a photograph following an interview with Reuters at the British Open golf championship on the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland, July 18, 2015. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

(Reuters) - American Doug Sanders, who was three feet away from beating Jack Nicklaus and winning the 1970 British Open at the home of golf, has died of natural causes aged 86, the PGA Tour said on Sunday.

Sanders suffered the disappointment of coming so close to lifting the Claret Jug and etching his name into history.

Standing over the winning putt on the famous 18th green at St Andrews, he made an ugly stab at the ball, pushing it wide of the hole and falling into a playoff with Nicklaus.

“And there but for the grace of god,” said renowned commentator Henry Longhurst.

To add insult to injury, Sanders subsequently lost an 18-hole playoff by one stroke to Nicklaus.

Sanders would say years later that sometimes he could go as long as five minutes without thinking about that missed putt. He was only half joking.

Sanders won 20 times on the PGA Tour, but never did capture a major, finishing as a runner-up four times.

Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina

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