Top ten most golf major wins: Legend Jack Nicklaus leads the way with Tiger Woods close behind
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Top ten most golf major wins: Legend Jack Nicklaus leads the way with Tiger Woods close behind

Nov 16, 2023

In golf, it’s all about winning majors, and we have seen some prolific champions over the years.

Some players will go through their careers and win one or two majors if they are lucky but these legends of the game turned the biggest tournaments into their bread and butter.

Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods are two of golf's greatest ever players

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Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods are two of golf’s greatest ever playersCredit: Getty

Top ten golf majors winners

10. Tom Watson – Eight Majors

Masters: 1977, 1981, US Open: 1982, The Open: 1975, 1977, 1980, 1982, 1983

During the 1970s and 80s, Watson was one of the leading golfers in the world.

The American was born in Kansas City but The Open proved to be his favoured tournament.

He is the joint-second most successful player at that particular event, winning it five times and was appreciated for his longevity.

In 2009, he nearly won The Open again but lost in a four-hole play-off to Stewart Cink.

Tom Watson finally retired in 2019

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Tom Watson finally retired in 2019

9. Ben Hogan – Nine Majors

Masters: 1951, 1953, PGA Championship: 1946, 1948, US Open: 1948, 1950, 1951, 1953, The Open: 1953

Hogan is among the few players to complete the Career Grand Slam, winning each major at least once.

But what makes that achievement even better is that he only competed in The Open once.

‘The Hawk’ was a fearsome competitor born in Texas who served in the US military and suffered a near-fatal car accident, but none of that stopped him.

His peak moment came in 1953 when he claimed the Triple Crown for winning the US Open, Open and Masters all in 12 months.

7= Babe Zaharias – Ten Majors

Western Open: 1940, 1944, 1945, 1950, Titleholders Championship: 1947, 1950, 1952, US Women’s Open: 1948, 1950, 1954)

Zaharias is unique to anyone else on this list because she wasn’t just excellent at golf but also at athletics.

The American initially pursued a career in track and field, leading her to compete in the 1932 Olympics.

She set four world records and claimed two gold medals and one silver in the 80-metre hurdles, the javelin and the high jump.

Then, incredibly, eight years later, she won the first of ten majors.

7= Annika Sorenstam – Ten Majors

Chervon Championship: 2001, 2002, 2005, Women’s PGA Championship: 2003, 2004, 2005, US Women’s Open: 1995, 1996, 2006, British Women’s Open: 2003

Unlike the other players on this list, Sorenstam isn’t American but was born in Stockholm, Sweden.

However, she did move to the USA to study and now lives in Florida, and while she was a player, she was almost unbeatable.

Sorenstam is among the few players to hold the Career Grand Slam, winning each of the four active majors at least once.

Plus, she was at the top of her game for some time, winning all her majors within 11 years.

Sorenstam is still playing on the senior circuit

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Sorenstam is still playing on the senior circuit

5= Louise Suggs – 11 Majors

Western Open: 1946, 1947, 1949, 1953, Titleholders Championship: 1946, 1954, 1956, 1959, Women’s PGA Championship: 1957, US Women’s Open: 1949, 1952

Suggs is another American female star and one of the founding members of the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association).

She was born in Atlanta, Georgia and dominated at amateur level before turning professional.

Suggs was one of the greatest players of her generation, and once she retired, she was handed loads of awards.

Her majors record is excellent, and she deservedly has a place inside the top ten.

5= Walter Hagen – 11 Majors

PGA Championship: 1921, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927, US Open: 1914, 1919, The Open: 1922, 1924, 1928, 1929

Hagen is considered the ‘father of professional golf’ and is regarded as one of the best golfers ever.

Born in New York to a family of German descent, he went on to be a Ryder Cup captain six times.

Plus, unlike some of the others on this list, his 11 majors came across 15 years, showing he remained at the top of his game for a very long time.

Hagen also helped spread golf around the world by taking part in exhibition tours to bring the game to people across the globe.

4. Mickey Wright – 13 Majors

Western Open: 1962, 1963, 1966, Titleholders Championship: 1961, 1962, Women’s PGA Championship: 1958, 1960, 1961, 1963, US Women’s Open: 1958, 1959, 1961, 1964

Wright was born in San Diego and dominated her sport in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

She is now a member of the Hall of Fame and claimed a Triple Crown in 1961.

Her achievements are even more remarkable because she had to retire at just 34 due to problems with her feet.

So, who knows just how many majors she could have won if she was playing in the modern age with better physiotherapy and health care.

Woods won his fifth green jacket in 2019

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Woods won his fifth green jacket in 2019Credit: Getty

2= Tiger Woods – 15 Majors

Masters: 1997, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2019, PGA Championship: 1999, 2000, 2006, 2007, US Open: 2000, 2002, 2008, The Open: 2000, 2005, 2006

Despite coming towards the end of his career, Woods is still the biggest name in modern-day golf because of his incredible achievements.

He has won each major at least three times, including The Masters on five occasions.

The American is still playing the odd tournament these days, but he dominated golf during the 2000s.

And then, after dealing with plenty of stuff away from the course, he defied all the odds to win at Augusta one more time in 2019, 22 years after his first victory there.

Woods is undoubtedly one of America’s greatest sportspeople, never mind golf players.

2= Patty Berg – 15 Majors

Western Open: 1941, 1943, 1948, 1951, 1955, 1957, 1958, Titleholders Championship: 1937, 1938, 1939, 1948, 1953, 1955, 1957, US Women’s Open: 1946

Berg is the all-time leading female player in terms of majors, and her success spanned 20 years.

The American was born in Florida and became the first president of the LPGA.

She was a trailblazer in the women’s game and is one of the most successful people ever to play the sport.

Berg particularly enjoyed the Western Open, winning it seven times.

Nicklaus was almost unbeatable at times

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Nicklaus was almost unbeatable at times

1. Jack Nicklaus – 18 Majors

Masters: 1963, 1965, 1966, 1972, 1975, 1986, PGA Championship: 1963, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1980, US Open: 1962, 1967, 1972, 1980, The Open: 1966, 1970, 1978

Nicklaus, or ‘The Golden Bear’, is the most successful golfer in history, and it’s hard to see how his achievements will ever be matched.

What makes him stand out compared to many others is his longevity, as he won majors in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

He has won the most Masters and is a Career Grand Slam member.

The American is still going strong and now spends his time designing other golf courses through his company, Nicklaus Design.

It’s hard to imagine we will ever see a player who can be at the peak of his powers for 30 years ever again.


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