With so many impressive golfers since the centuries old game began, it’s hard to narrow it down to 10. But we’ll try…
- Walter Hagen
With 11 professional majors, 2 U.S. Open, 4 British Open, and 5 PGA wins, the formidable Hagen’s set record lasted until the 1960s. One of the first stars of golf (born in 1892), his number of majors has only been surpassed by Nicklaus and Woods.
- Billy Casper
With a whopping 51 PGA Tour wins under his belt, the 1960s golf star also earned three majors, including beating favorite Arnold Palmer in the 1966 U.S. Open. In the era of Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus, Casper continuously held his own.
- Phil Mickelson
With 5 majors and 3 masters wins, including the 2014 British Open, and 42 wins on the PGA Tour, Mickelson has always been a consistent player that tends to be overlooked because he’s never dominated a season, and has only managed the Runner-Up spot in the U.S. Open a record-breaking 6 times. He has been called the next ‘Nicklaus’ and is still going, so hopes for a career Grand Slam remain alive and well.
- Sam Snead
Another classic legendary player, Snead currently still holds the record for most career PGA Tour wins with 82! His wins, which include 7 majors, range from years 1936-1965, and he remained a competitive player well into his late 60’s.
- Bobby Jones
A golf prodigy at the tender age of 14, he began a remarkably successful career at age 20, where he won the 1923 U.S. Open in a 19-hole playoff. He would go on to win another 12 majors and 13 championships before Nicklaus came onto the scene. Tragically, his career was cut short due to a rare disease that would confine him to a wheelchair until his death in 1971. Jones not only earned his spot on the Top 10 by merit alone, but he also founded the Augusta National Golf Club and The Masters, making him one of the most important figures in golf history.
- Gary Player
He is one of only five players in history to win a career Grand Slam, and one of four to win both the Masters and British Open three times! The South African player made his name among mostly British and American players and began his career in the mid 1950s. He’s won over 150 international tournaments and 9 major championships, so his place on this list can hardly be questioned.
- Arnold Palmer
Not only is there a popular beverage named in The “King’s” honor, but Palmer won 7 major championships, 62 PGA Tours and went 15 years in a row with at least 1 victory each year. He is also famous for re-popularizing the game with his bold style, and also remains one of the best putters the game has ever seen. Palmer also became the first PGA Tour millionaire.
- Ben Hogan
Following in Palmer’s footsteps, Hogan made the game entertaining to watch, with his endless charisma and at times difficult personality. The “Hawk” is said to be the greatest shotmaker the game has ever known, and without today’s technology edge. He is part of the 5-person club to win a Grand Slam, and has won 64 PGA Tours, including 9 majors. He also remains the only player who has ever won the Masters, U.S. Open, and British Open in the same year.
- Tiger Woods
The last two players on our list are widely contested as the very best the game has ever seen. Woods has yet to trump Nicklaus’s record of 18 majors to his 14. However, Woods arguably beats Nicklaus when it comes to individual performance, scoring titles, Player of the Year awards, and money titles. Woods has undoubtedly heightened the athletic aspect of the game, and has made it more mainstream with his celebrity. He also remains the only player to win 4 consecutive majors.
- Jack Nicklaus
Nicklaus is famous for highlighting the physical side of golf with his skill, strength, consistency and unmatched mental game. The “Golden Bear” not only holds the title for most major wins (18), but he also finished second in another 19 of them! He’s won 73 PGA Tour events, 6 Masters, and remains the oldest Masters champion to slip into his sixth green jacket at age 46.