Golf Legends: Players That Live Forever
Since the 15th century, golf has produced some of the most talented individuals in any sport. Few other sports require such high levels of precision and adaptability, and the opportunities for players to become legends are few and far between.
If you want to know which players have held the best golf odds over the years, take a look at the 10 most prolific players in history.
10. Gary Player
Teeing off at the top of our list is Gary Player, with a career total of nine major victories, including three Masters, three Open Championships, and two PGA Championships.
Altogether, the South African-born golfer has 165 victories to his name. He has competed in every major tournament across six out of seven continents, holding his own against every type of player. He is widely regarded as an international ambassador for the sport.
9. Tom Watson
Tom Watson had a relatively short career compared to other golfing greats, but his nine-year dominance of the British Open more than makes up for the brevity of his playtime.
Watson won the British Open five times in those nine years, making him one of only three players to win the same major on five occasions. He also won the Masters twice and the US Open once, and placed in the top 10 for all majors at least 10 times.
8. Byron Nelson
In 1945, Byron Nelson achieved the greatest winning streaks the world of golf has ever seen. He won 11 consecutive tournaments in that year, including the PGA Championship.
Nelson ‘s career was significantly impacted by World War II, as there were only a handful of majors between 1943 and 1945. If it weren’t for the cancellation of several majors during that time, there’s no telling how many titles he could have won.
7. Arnold Palmer
Like Gary Player, Arnold Palmer had a major role to play in the popularization of golf. His career ended with 62 tournaments won, seven of which were major tournaments.
29 of those victories occurred between 1960 and 1963, and Palmer was named PGA Tour Player of the Year twice in that timespan. His form was a bit inconsistent after that period, which is why he isn’t able to reach a higher spot in our rankings.
6. Sam Snead
Compared to the other legends of golf, Sam Snead may have less majors to his name, but he has the most PGA Tour victories for any professional player with an incredible 82 wins.
Thanks to his effortless swing and pinpoint accuracy, Snead won six majors in a six-year period, including three Masters and two PGA Championships. The only major that proved too difficult to win was the US Open; a title which eluded him throughout his career.
5. Bobby Jones
Before Bobby Jones co-founded the Masters in 1934, he had an eight-year career that resulted in one of golf’s greatest achievements.
Jones won the British Open, British Amateur, US Open, and US Amateur tournaments in a single year, making him the only player to have won a Grand Slam before the Masters. Additionally, by the time he retired at 28, he had won all 13 majors that he competed in.
4. Walter Hagen
In 1922, Walter Hagen became the first American to win the British Open. But his achievements extend far beyond that, and he is often referred to as the first-ever pro golfer.
When the PGA Tour was still a match-play event, Hagen won it four times in a row. During the prime of his career, World War 1 was yet again the stifler of talent, yet he still managed to win 11 majors and five Western Opens, which some would say ups his tally to 16 majors in total.
3. Ben Hogan
Ben Hogan won 11 majors in his career, including three majors in a single year. He’s one of only two pros to ever achieve that feat, the other being Tiger Woods.
Hogan had to face a career-ending challenge midway through his meteoric rise. After winning 30 tournaments in his first 3 years as a pro, a serious car accident put him out of action. But his 3-3 record came after the accident, and no player has had a better return to form since.
2. Tiger Woods
For the majority of his career, Tiger Woods ascent to glory was as swift as it was unstoppable, having won 14 majors in less than 10 years.
In his prime, Woods was breaking PGA records left and right, but a flurry of unfortunate events in recent years, such as multiple injuries and a personal scandal, have held him back from becoming the greatest golfer in the world.
1. Jack Niklaus
Our number one spot goes to none other than Jack Niklaus, the golfer with the most majors, the most PGA Tour victories, and the most top-10 finishes of all time.
Niklaus earned his fame through achievements alone, with a career defined by consistency and determination. Many of his records are still unbroken to this day, and we’re yet to see a player whose career can match his in terms of longevity.