Golf is a game of confidence and competence and is regarded as a gentleman’s game. The game requires great determination and control on one’s (golfer) mind.
The game has given the world many legendary golfers like Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and many more. Few of the most recognized players include Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Gary Player who were “The Big Three” of golf during the 1960s; they are widely credited with popularizing and commercializing the sport around the world. Each, in his own way, has taken the game to a new height.
As the season of the Golf Majors has already started, let’s have a look at the top 10 greatest golfers of all time. Also, you can watch some of the biggest Golf Majors live on DSport.
Jack William Nicklaus, nicknamed “The Golden Bear”, is a retired American professional golfer. He is widely regarded as the greatest professional golfer of all time, winning a total of 18 career major championships, while producing 19 second-place and 9 third-place finishes in them, over a span of 25 years.
His first professional win came in a major championship, the 1962 U.S. Open. In 1966, Nicklaus won the Masters Tournament for the second year in a row, becoming the first golfer to achieve this distinction, and also won The Open Championship, completing his career slam of major championships. At age 26, he became the youngest to do so at the time.
The breadth and depth of Nicklaus’ career matches, and arguably (for the time being) exceeds those of Woods’, but Nicklaus’ “peak value” falls short of Woods’.
Tiger Woods is the greatest golfer of all-time. He has dominated the game in a way no one ever has. He has more career major wins and career PGA Tour wins than any other active golfer. Woods turned professional at the age of 20, at the end of the summer in 1996. By April 1997 he had already won his first major, the 1997 Masters. He first reached the number one position in the world rankings in June 1997, after less than a year as a professional.
Woods has broken numerous golf records. He has been World Number One for the most consecutive weeks and for the greatest total number of weeks of any golfer. He has been awarded PGA Player of the Year a record eleven times, and has the record of leading the money list in ten different seasons. He has won 14 professional major golf championships, the second-highest of any player (Jack Nicklaus leads with 18), and 79 PGA Tour events, second all-time behind Sam Snead, who had 82 wins.
He is the youngest player to achieve the career Grand Slam, and the youngest and fastest to win 50 tournaments on tour. Additionally, Woods is only the second golfer (after Nicklaus) to have achieved a career Grand Slam three times. Woods has won 18 World Golf Championships, and won at least one of those events in each of the first 11 years after they began in 1999. Woods and Rory McIlroy are the only golfers to win both The Silver Medal and The Gold Medal at The Open Championship.
Throughout the 2000s, Woods was the dominant force in golf; from August 1999 to September 2004 (264 weeks) and from June 2005 to October 2010 (281 weeks), Woods was the top-ranked men’s golfer in the world.
Arnold Daniel Palmer was an American professional golfer who is generally regarded as one of the greatest players in the sport’s history. Nicknamed The King, he was one of golf’s most popular stars and its most important trailblazer, the first superstar of the sport’s television age, which began in the 1950s.
Arnold Palmer won 62 times on the PGA Tour, including seven major championships. He also won the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998, and in 1974 was one of the 13 original inductees into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Palmer’s social impact on behalf of golf was perhaps unrivalled among fellow professionals; his humble background and plain-spoken popularity helped change the perception of golf from an elite, upper-class pastime to a more populist sport accessible to middle and working classes
William Ben Hogan is well-known for his profound influence on golf swing theory and his legendary ball-striking ability. He’s the greatest shot maker golf has ever produced. Rather than relying on today’s technologically advanced equipment, Hogan used an uncanny ability to control the flight of his ball to win nine majors — and a greater percentage of majors entered than even Jack Nicklaus.
Hogan won 64 times on the PGA Tour events, including 9 major championships. He is one of only five golfers to have won all four major championships currently open to professionals (the Masters Tournament, The Open (despite only playing once), the U.S. Open, and the PGA Championship). The other four are Nicklaus, Woods, Player, and Gene Sarazen.
In the Golden Age of sports, nobody shone brighter than Bobby Jones. Robert Tyre “Bobby” Jones Jr. was an American amateur golfer, and a lawyer by profession, who was one of the most influential figures in the history of the sport.
Jones was the most successful amateur golfer ever to compete at a national and international level. During his peak from 1923 to 1930, he dominated top-level amateur competition, competed very successfully against the world’s best professional golfers and won everything in sight. Then, having no more worlds to conquer, he walked away from competitive golf, at age 28. No sports legend accomplished more in a shorter period of time, and no sports legend walked away at such a young age.
Jones is most famous for his unique “Grand Slam,” consisting of his victory in all four major golf tournaments of his era (the open and amateur championships in both the U.S. & the U.K.) in a single calendar year (1930). In all Jones played in 31 majors, winning 13 and placing among the top ten finishers 27 times.
Jones founded and helped design the Augusta National Golf Club, and co-founded the Masters Tournament. The innovations that he introduced at the Masters have been copied by virtually every professional golf tournament in the world.
Snead’s nickname was “Slammin’ Sammy”, and he was admired by many for having the so-called “perfect swing,” which generated many imitators. Sam Snead holds the record for most career PGA Tour wins with 82. That includes seven wins in majors. In 1936, Snead won his first tournament, the West Virginia Closed Pro, contested at The Greenbrier’s Championship Course and Old White Course. On February 7, 1962, at age 49, Snead won the Royal Poinciana Plaza Invitational. He is the only man to ever win an official LPGA Tour event
When he was 62 years old he finished third in the PGA Championship; when he was 67, he shot 67-66 in the final two rounds of the Quad Cities Open.
Gary Player, is a retired South African professional golfer. Over his career, Player accumulated nine major championships on the regular tour and six Champions Tour major championship victories, as well as three Senior British Open Championships on the European Senior Tour. At the age of 29, Player won the 1965 U.S. Open and became the only non-American to win all four majors, known as the career Grand Slam. Player became only the third golfer in history to win the Career Grand Slam, following Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen, and only Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have performed the feat since. Player has won 165 tournaments on six continents over six decades and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974.
Watson had 39 PGA Tour wins, including eight majors and dominated golf’s oldest tournament, the British Open, like no one else, winning five times in a nine-year span. Several of Watson’s major victories came at the expense of Jack Nicklaus, the man he replaced as number one, most notably the 1977 Masters, 1977 Open Championship, and the 1982 U.S. Open.
Watson is regarded as one of the greatest links players of all time, a claim backed up by his five Open Championship victories; as well as his 2nd-place finish in the 2009 Open Championship, and his three Senior British Open Championship titles in his mid-50s (2003, 2005, and 2007). Watson now plays mostly on the Champions Tour.
Sarazen was one of the world’s top players in the 1920s and 1930s, and the winner of seven major championships. He is one of five players to win each of the four majors at least once, now known as the Career Grand Slam: U.S. Open (1922, 1932), PGA Championship (1922, 1923, 1933), The Open Championship (1932), and Masters Tournament (1935).
Sarazen won his first professional title at the age of 19 and never looked back, winning 39 PGA Titles in a career that spanned more than four decades.
Philip Alfred Mickelson has won 42 events on the PGA Tour, including five major championships: three Masters Titles (2004, 2006, 2010), a PGA Championship (2005), and an Open Championship (2013).
Mickelson has always lived with massive expectations, some of them self-imposed, and Phil’s failures are almost as celebrated as his many successes. As long as he continues to play the U.S. Open, hope remains alive for a career Grand Slam, which would be a remarkable achievement for a guy who suffered through countless crushing disappointments just to win his first major.