Golf tournaments attract millions of fans, just like any other sport. Fans, followers, and stakeholders in the sports industry dedicate time and resources to make the sport a success. Golf is perceived to be a sport enjoyed by middle-aged men and women. Some youths are, however breaking this stereotype and getting to kick start their careers in their teenage years. Which golfer has won the most major championships?
Both retired and active professional golfers still make headlines when they are on and off the golf course. Their contribution to the sports industry is felt far and wide, and their financial success remains beneficial to stakeholders for decades.
Which golfer has won the most major championships?
Golf is one of the most popular sports in the world. It may not be as exciting as basketball and football, but it has a thrill of its own. Some of the players have had the greatest careers and most lasting impact on golf. Here is a list of the top 5 golfers with the most notable titles to their names.
1. Jack Nicklaus
- Number of major wins: 18
- 6 masters: (1963, 1965, 1966, 1972, 1975, 1986)
- 5 PGA championships: (1963, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1980)
- 4 U.S. opens: (1962, 1967, 1972, 1980)
- 3 British opens: (1966, 1970, 1978)
Jack William Nicklaus, commonly referred to as The Golden Bear is one of the best golfers of all time. He is an American former professional golf player and golf course designer. Jack is globally recognized for his golfing excellence on the pitch.
He has brought out greatness in all the opponents he has played against, such as Palmer, Player, Watson and Trevino. His excellence is derived from his:
- Physical skill and strength
- Mental toughness
- A sustained level of excellence
- Strategically dismantling golf courses
Among the 18 Jack Nicklaus major wins, he has a mind-boggling 37 top twos. In addition, he has a record of 56 times as the top 5 and 73 times as the top 10 players. He won 117 professional tournaments in his career as an active player.
While his main focus was on the four major golf championships, he played a selective schedule of regular PGA Tour events. As a result, he competed in 164 major tournaments, which is the highest number to date, compared to other players.
2. Tiger Woods
- Tiger Woods major wins: 15
- 5 masters: (1997, 2001, 2002, 2005, 1919)
- 4 PGA championships: (1999, 2000, 2006, 2007)
- 3 U.S. opens: (2000, 2002, 2008)
- 3 British opens: (2000, 2005, 2006)
Tiger Woods is an American professional golf player with numerous golf records. He turned professional in 1996 at the age of 20 after an excellent junior, college and amateur golf career. Tiger is an inductee of the World Golf Hall of Fame. In addition, he has global recognition as one of the greatest golfers of all time and one of the most famous athletes in history.
How many majors has Tiger won? He has won 15 major wins, which have been dramatic and dominant in almost equal measures. He attained his breakthrough in the sport in 1997 after an epic 12-shot Masters win. His records are as follows:
- Back-nine duel with Bob May at the 2000 PGA Championship leading to his third major title of the year
- A record-smashing 15-shot US Open win
- His clutch 72nd-hole birdie putt to tie Rocco Mediate
- An 18-hole playoff win on a broken leg at the 2008 US Open
- His 2019 Masters win - almost 11 years after that Open win
Tiger Woods has won 18 World Golf Championships. He was also part of the American winning team for the 1999 Ryder Cup. In May 2019, Donald Trump awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He was the fourth golfer to receive this honour.
3. Walter Hagen
- Number of major wins: 11
- 5 PGA championships: (1921, 2024, 2025, 2026, 2027)
- 4 British opens: (1922, 2024, 2028, 2029)
- 2 US opens: (1914, 1919)
Walter Hagen was an American professional golfer. He was one of the major golf figures in the first half of the 20th century, with a few records yet to be broken. Walter is commonly known as the father of professional golf, and he brought publicity, prestige, big prize money and lucrative endorsements.
Walter's final major triumph came at the 1929 Open Championship, five years before the first Masters was played. Even though he competed in six Masters Tournaments in his career, his best finish was T11. So, unfortunately, even with some of the most majors in golf, he could not accomplish the career grand slam.
In 2000, Golf Digest magazine ranked him the 7th greatest golfer of all time and the 8th greatest player of all time Sports Illustrated I Golf Magazine. He captained the US in the first six Ryder Cups. Hagen was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in the charter class of 1974.
4. Ben Hogan
- Number of major wins: 9
- 4 US opens: (1948, 1950, 1951, 1953)
- 2 PGA championships: (1946, 1948)
- 2 masters: (1951, 1953)
- 1 British open: (1953)
William Ben Hogan was an American professional golf player. He is recognized for his remarkable influence on golf swing theory and ball-striking ability.
In 1953, he became the first to win as many as three golf majors in one year. He won the Masters, British Open and the US Open. However, he didn't enter the PGA that year, fearing his legs weren't up to the challenge due to the lingering effects of his 1949 near-fatal car crash.
He is one of the five players to win the Grand Slam events. The other four Grand Slam winners golf players are Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tiger Woods and Gene Sarazen. His last major victory occurred in the 1953 British Open Carnoustie, the only British Open he participated in.
5. Gary Player
- Number of major wins: 9
- 3 British opens: (1959, '68, '74)
- 3 Masters: (1961, '74, '78)
- 2 PGA majors championships: (1962, '72)
- 1 US open: (1965)
Gary Player is a South African retired professional golfer; He is widely considered one of the greatest golfers of all time with nine majors on the regular and nine on the Champions Tour. His unprecedented commitment to maintaining physical fitness and unmatched work ethic makes him stand out from the rest.
His remarkable career has seen him win more than 150 tournaments worldwide. Gary is one of only five players to own all four of golf's modern majors and one of only four players to have won the Masters and the British Open three times apiece.
After he retired from playing, he became a designer and fitness enthusiast. Through his Gary Player Design company, he has over 400 golf course design projects across the globe. In addition, he is an author of more than 36 books tackling golf instruction, design, philosophy, motivation and fitness.
How many majors has Phil Mickelson won? He has won six majors. In addition, he has won three Masters (2004, 2006, and 2010), two PGA Championships (2005, 2021), and one Open Championship (2013). Phil Mickelson majors have given the title of the 10th golfer in history to win a major in three different decades.
Which golfer has won the most major championships? Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, and Walter Hagen are some of the top champions. They indicate the importance of these events and the player's energy toward attaining the wins.
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