The Top 10 Most Well-Known Golfers of All Time

Credit: Boz Bros
27 May 2012

Golf is said to be the royal’s game….the gentleman’s sport….but off late whenever we’ve heard of this word, we associate it with the news of Tiger Woods for all wrong reasons. Today all golf fans probably long for the simpler times gone by, when the sport was truly the gentleman’s sport, minus all the pitfalls & hype of the 21st century’s media! It doesn’t matter what one thinks of this game, Jim Furyk, Phil Mickelson & Ernie Els will always be amongst the finest players ever to step on the golf course. This article talks about the greatest golfers & the best amongst the best at the sport called golf!

#10
Gene Sarazen

Credit: Boston Public Library

Let’s go way back & kick off this list. Gene dominated the golf course back in ‘20s & ‘30s, however he accomplished at the time what only 4 other golfers have since been able of accomplishing – he captured Career Grand Slam when he won every single major in his golfing career. These were Masters (in 1935); U.S. Open (in 1922 & 1932); British Open (in 1932); & PGA Championship (in 1922, 1923 & 1933). A sum of 7 majors!!! If I remember correctly, only 6 players have been able to win a bigger number in all of golf history!

#9
Walter Hagen

Let’s tread back a little more in history for number 9! You see, Walter Hagen, the man who won the very 1st major in the year 1914, ought to be a part of the greatest ever golfers in the world! Hagen’s 11 major championships & the wins are third best in all time. Walter has also been a very important figure in the area of sports for money. You see, back then, athletes were amongst the richest people in society, & Walter was making professional sports a very big source for revenue. In fact, it is believed that he was among the 1st few athletes who earned million dollars from sporting careers.

#8
Tom Watson

Credit: scotchollie

He has a record of 39 wins in PGA Tours. He’s also racked 8 majors, which include 5 British Open championships b/w the year 1975 & 1983. Apart from these astonishing accomplishments, Walter’s 2nd place finish @ British Open 2009 was spectacular, given he was almost 60 years old at that time!!!

#7
Sam Snead

Credit: Boz Bros

Sam has had one illustrious career for 45-years spanning from the year 1934 till 1979. During this period, Snead notched a whooping 82 victories @ PGA Tours, the maximum anyone ever has in history! Sam won majors 7 other times, finished at #2 four times @ U.S. Open, but he has never completed any Career Grand Slams.

#6
Gary Player

Gary was the single non-American who made it to this list! Gary Player (from South Africa) has had his career rather the opposite of what Sam Snead had. Whereas Sam racked up tons of tour victories, however sometimes failed when it would count the most, 9 of Player’s twenty-five tour victories were majors! Gary also was amongst the 5 golfers who completed Career Grand Slams when Player won U.S. Open in the year 1965.

#5
Byron Nelson

Bryon might not have amazing numbers like some other golfers from this listing, but that’s because he retired when he was only but 34 years old, after he had played only 14 years pro. During that period, Nelson earned 52 wins @ PGA Tour, which today makes him the 6th on all-time lists. Also, Bryon won 5 majors during his short-lived career, which included Masters (in the year 1937 & 1942); U.S. Open (1939) & PGA Championship (1940 & 1945) along with just British Open that eluded him.

The best thing of all is that he won 11 successive tournaments in the year 1945! Nelson finished with a total of 18 victories that year.

#4
Arnold Palmer

Credit: Boz Bros

He happens to be amongst the most enduring & popular figures in golf. Palmer’s sort of single-handedly to be thanked for golf being commercialized as a game. At the time when television era hit golf in ‘50s, it was Palmer who became the biggest star from this sport! Palmer’s got some great stats for backing up his star personality. Arnold’s a big star, thanks to the 62 wins @ PGA Tour & plus the 7 majors he won which placed him 5th on all-time listings.

#3
Ben Hogan

Credit: Steve and Sara

One name that’s more legendary than Arnold Palmer’s Ben Hogan. Ben’s accomplishments are countless & cannot be named…in fact several films & books have been made describing his legacy. Hogan has won 9 majors & is amongst the most elite people to have ever completed Career Grand Slams. In the year 1953, Ben won three of the 1st majors of that year – Masters, U.S. Open & British Open, which was a feat & he was then known as “Hogan Slam.” Ben had a near death accident with a bus & that’s why these were amongst the last few major championships in his career. This accident left Ben with several injuries which affected Ben’s ability to play. His career was one of perseverance – 10 years where he played pro before winning his 1st tournament. Ben was a scrupulous strategist who contributed a lot to developments in technicalities of this game.

#2
Tiger Woods

Credit: wikimedia

Immense accomplishments on course…he’ll be the undisputed #1 player of all times! Woods is the 3rd all-time when we talk of tour wins…he has a whooping 71 wins & is the 2nd all-time when we talk of major championships, where he has a record of 14 wins including Career Grand Slam! Woods is in his 30’s & has a lot of years ahead to play this sport….plus he is still improving at the game….now I can only imagine what records he will set!!!

#1
Jack Nicklaus

Credit: memoflores

It’s only a question of time & Woods will take over this top spot where currently the so called “Golden Bear” sits! Nicklaus’s records speak for themselves! He’s won more number of majors than anybody else in the history of this game. Jack won the 1st of his careers 18 majors @ U.S. Open in1962 after he had played pro for not even a complete year!!! He completed Career Grand Slam & won the British Open in1966, from where he went on & won 12 majors more. Nicklaus has won a total of 73 events @ PGA Tour, the 2nd biggest all-time. During his quarter-century in majors ending in the year 1986, Jack finished in top 5 for fifty-four times out of the hundred times that he played! Also, Jack was the 1st golfer in history who completed Triple times in Career Grand Slam (the only other player to do the same being Tiger Woods).


Jyotsna Ramani

Passionate writer and avid traveler. Been writing web content for past 4 years. It’s no longer a hobby but a full time job :)

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