Golf is popularly known as the rich people’s game. The high-level golf players indeed are some of the highest-paid athletes of all time. But today, we will not be talking about their net worth. Instead, today we will be listing the 15 best golfers of all time.
Some of the best golfers are household names. However, people are unaware of most professional golfers.
Moreover, in many Asian and African countries, there aren’t many professional golf courses. So, golf players are less prevalent in such countries.
But, don’t worry, in this list, we’ll talk about the 15 best golfers of all time and why they are called the best in their field.
15 Best Golfers of all Time
The player’s ranking, win percentage, and tournament win was considered while making this list.
|15.||Vijay Singh||Number 1 Rank|
|14.||Nick Faldo||6 Major Championships|
|13.||Greg Norman||Number 1 Rank|
|12.||Lee Trevino||6 Major Championships|
|11.||Seve Ballesteros||Number 1 Rank|
|10.||Bryon Nelson||52 Wins PGA Tour|
|9.||Arnold Palmer||62 Wins PGA Tour|
|8.||Tom Watson||8 Major Championships|
|7.||Gary Player||Won Grand Slam|
|6.||Walter Hagen||11 major titles|
|5.||Gene Sarazen||Career Grand Slam|
|4.||Sam Snead||82 wins in PGA|
|3.||Ben Hogan||Won Grand Slam|
|2.||Tiger Woods||15 Major Championships|
|1.||Jack Nicklaus||18 Major Championships|
15. Vijay Singh
His name suggests he’s from the Indian subcontinent, but this incredible golfer is actually from Fiji. Vijay Singh turned professional golfer in 1982 at the age of 19. Also, he ranked 11th on the list of richest golfers in the world with a total net worth of $75 million.
Since then, he has won 64 professional games. He won Masters Tournament in 2000, two PGA Championships in 1998 and 2004.
He reached his highest ranking 1 in 2004. Mr. Singh remained in the top spot for 32 weeks. His career was shrouded in controversies, but he deserves a spot on this list.
14. Nick Faldo
English golfer Nick Faldo became a professional at the age of 19. Since then, he has won 43 professional matches.
He has a great result when it comes to major championships. Nick has won the Masters Tournament three times in 1989, 1990, and 1996.
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Apart from that, he won a PGA Championship in 1992. He also won the US Open Championship in 1988. Plus, his streak in The Open Championship is also very good. Faldo won the championship three times in 1987, 1990, and 1992.
He won the PGA Player of the year in 1990. Nick is one of the best professional athletes in the UK. Nick is also regarded as one of the best golfers of the late 1980s and early 1990s.
13. Greg Norman
The multitalented Greg Norman is an entrepreneur as well as a professional golfer from Australia. As an entrepreneur, Norman has invested in many sectors, including interior design, real estate, wine production, private equity.
Greg was unanimously voted to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2001. He is also nicknamed “The Great White Shark” for his aggressive playing style.
Norman won the Open Championship twice in 1986 and 1993. Between the 1980s and 1990s, he was ranked as number 1 for a total of 331 weeks. That’s why Greg is on our list of 15 best golfers of all time.
12. Lee Trevino
One of the brilliant golfers of all time, Lee Trevino, was born in 1939. He started playing professionally in 1960. Since then, he has won 92 professional games.
Lee Trevino won the PGA Championship, US Open, and The Open Championship two times. Only five players have been able to achieve this feat. The only major tournament which he didn’t win was the Masters Tournament.
Trevino is also an inspirational figure to the Mexican Americans. Before him, there weren’t any professional Latino golfers, certainly not achieving such feats.
11. Seve Ballesteros
Seve Ballesteros was amongst the best golfers of the 1980s. The great Spanish champion Ramon Sota was his maternal uncle. It’s possible that he got inspired by looking at his maternal uncle.
He won 90 games in his career. Seve achieved number 1 rank in 1986 and he stayed in number 1 for 61 weeks throughout his career.
Among the major tournaments, he won the Masters Tournament two times. He also won The Open Championship three times.
Seve dominated the European Tour throughout his career. He was voted to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1999.
10. Bryon Nelson
One of the best professional golfers from the early part of the 20th century is Bryon Nelson. Bryon is also regarded as one of the best golfers of all time.
Bryon Nelson won the three major tournaments. He won the Masters Tournament in 1937 and 1942. Similarly, he won the PGA Championship in 1940 and 1945. Apart from that, he also won the US Open in 1939.
Bryon won 52 games in his PGA Tour, which is the 6th highest of all time. Nelson is also the first player to win 50 PGA Tour events.
9. Arnold Palmer
The American golfer Arnold Palmer is regarded as one of the best golfers and the most handsome player of his era.
He professionally played the sport for almost half-decade. He became a professional in 1954 and retired in 2006. In between this period, he won 95 games. Sixty-two of those games were in the PGA Tour.
Palmer has won the 5th most games in the PGA Tour. Apart from that, he has also won three major tournaments.
He won the Masters Tournament four times. Similarly, he won US Open once and The Open Championship two times.
8. Tom Watson
Moving on, another great golfer on this list of 15 best golfers of all time is Tom Watson. He dominated the sport in the 1970s and 80s.
Over his career, he won 8 major tournaments. He was most successful at The Open Championship. He won The Open Championship 5 times. Apart from that. He also won the Masters Tournament and the US Open.
In between 1975 and 1985, he won 8 titles. It shows that he was winning a trophy almost every year. Unfortunately, since then, he hasn’t been able to replicate his success. But, his performance in 2009 The Open Championship shows that he is still an outstanding player.
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7. Gary Player
‘The Black Knight’ from South Africa is one of the best professional golfers of all time. He started his professional journey in 1953. Since then, he has won 24 games on PGA Tour.
He is one of the five golfers to win all the major championships known as the Grand Slam. Gary achieved this feat at the age of 29.
His first major championship was the Open Championship in 1959. He collected all the major trophies by winning the US Open in 1965. Career grand slam granted elite status to Gary among the golf players.
The career Grand Slam alone lands him a spot on our list of 15 best golfers of all time.
6. Walter Hagen
Another classical player on this list is Walter Charles Hagen. He was very well regarded even up to the late 50s.
Walter won a total of 11 major titles. He won the PGA Championships 5 times, US Open 2 times, and The Open Championship 4 times. In terms of major trophies, he ranks third after Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.
In many ways, Hagen is the first significant superstar who attracted people’s attention to the game. He became an inspiration to a lot of young players.
Before Hagen, a lot of the golf courses allowed only rich players. Golf was more of leisure activity, and the amateurs dominated the sports. Hagen changed that. The other players had to up their skills to defeat Hagen. That’s why he is one of the finest golfers of all time.
5. Gene Sarazen
To win all the major tournaments in golf is a huge deal. There are only five players to win all four tournaments. Gene Sarazen is one of the players to achieve this feat.
He turned professional golfer in 1920. Over his career, he won 48 professional games. Gene won his first tournament in his second year as a professional.
In 1922, he won two significant tournaments, i.e., PGA Championship and US Open. After that, however, he had to wait for 10 more years to win another major tournament.
He got his mojo back in 1932. Later, he won two tournaments in the same year.
4. Sam Snead
‘The Slammer’ Sam Snead is also regarded as one of the finest golfers of the 20th century. He won seven major championships.
Sam has won the highest number of games in the PGA tour along with Tiger Woods. He has won a total of 82 games in the PGA tour.
Many believed that Sam Snead had the perfect textbook golf swing. Apart from that, he was also famous for his straw hat.
3. Ben Hogan
Now, it’s time to talk about the holy trio of the golfers. One of the players to win all the major championships is Ben Hogan. Hogan played golf for four decades.
In these years, he managed to win nine trophies in all major championships, including Masters Tournament, PGA Championship, US Open, and The Open Championship.
Even though he became professional in 1930, his first major tournament win was in 1946. However, his best year was in 1953. In 1953, he won the three major tournaments. After winning the Open Championship in 1953, he achieved the career grand slam.
Ben Hogan also wrote the book ‘Five Lessons‘ in which he described the technique to develop a dependable swing. It’s one of the most famous books on how to play golf.
2. Tiger Woods
Many readers might be surprised with we have Tiger in the 2nd place instead of the top spot. TigerWoods is perhaps the most popular golfer of all time. Woods is also one of the wealthiest athletes of all time.
His career graph is also very impressive. Tiger turned professional in 1996. Since then, he has won 109 professional games. These include 82 wins in the PGA tour, which is the highest of all time. He shares this record with Sam Snead.
Apart from that, he has also won all the major tournaments. He won 15 major championships in his career. In addition, from 1999 to 2007 (except 2004), he was named the PGA player of the year.
He won the Masters Tournament in his second year. In the same year, he became the world’s number 1 golfer. He was number 1 for 683 weeks.
Most golfers fail to recover once they slip from the top. Even though he dropped to number 58, he became the number 1 golfer again just two years later.
This is why he is number two on our list of 15 best golfers of all time.
1. Jack Nicklaus
Now, it’s time for the number one golfer of all time. The finest golfer of all time is Jack Nicklaus.
He has won all the major championships a total of 18 times. Like Woods, he won his first major tournament in just his second year.
Within five years, he won all the major tournaments. Unlike other players, he focused mainly on the major tournaments.
He has won fewer PGA Tour games than Tiger Woods. However, in terms of the overall win, he is ahead of Woods. Even in PGA Tours, he is just 9 wins behind Tiger Woods and Sam Snead. That’s why he is the best golfer of all time.
These athletes show that we can achieve great goals if we are determined and focused. The journey of these 15 best golfers of all time can be an inspiration to all of us.