Golf can be a complex but wonderful sport. Through the last century we have been able to watch some of the best golfers ever. There have been so many that it made writing this list extremely difficult. With many talented golfers still playing there’s no telling how this list could look in a few years time. But till then here is our current list.
10. Phil Mickleson – Lefty has won 42 events on the PGA Tour, including 5 Majors. He has won every major except the U.S. Open, where he has finished runner-up a record six times. Phil Mickleson is well known for his left hand swing and his excellent short game. He is now a Hall of Famer after being inducted in 2012.
9. Sir Nick Faldo – Faldo is one of European golfs greats. His 40 professional wins include 30 victories on the European Tour and six major championships. Faldo was remarkably competitive and was well credit for his composure. Faldo was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1997 and was knighted for services to golf in 2007.
8. Seve Ballesteros – Seve brought something special to European golf when he emerged on the scene in 1976 at the age of 19, many dubbed him the ‘European Arnold Palmer’. Ballesteros won a record 50 European Tour titles. He ended his career with 91 professional wins and won 5 Majors. He won at least one European Tour title for 17 consecutive years between 1976 and 1992. In 1999, Ballesteros was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
7. Gary Player – Player only won 24 times on the PGA Tour but 9 of those were Majors. However, the South African won 165 tournaments on six continents over six decades and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974.
6. Tom Watson – Watson has 71 professional wins, with 39 of them on the PGA Tour. He also won 8 Majors. He demonstrated remarkable consistency by making at least one PGA Tour cut per year from 1971–2007, a streak of 37 years. Watson is one of the most complete players ever who had great length with accuracy and the short game to match it.
5. Ben Hogan – Ben Hogan is widely acknowledged to have been among the greatest ball strikers ever to have played golf. Although his ball striking was perhaps the greatest ever, Hogan is not particularly well known for having outstanding putting skills. Hogan has 64 PGA Tour wins, including 9 Majors. Hogan, is one of five players to possess a modern career Grand Slam.
4. Sam Snead – Slammin’ Sammy won seven Majors and he holds the record for most PGA Tour wins with 82. Snead was a player with great consistency and real longevity his first win was in 1936 and his last came in 1965. Although he never won the U.S Open, he was runner up four times and has the small consolation of 7 majors. Snead is well noted for having the perfect swing and during his peak years he was an exceptionally long driver, perhaps the best driver of all time.
3. Arnold Palmer – The late Arnold Palmer won 62 times on the PGA Tour, boasting 7 Major wins. Palmer takes major credit for revitalising the British Open by competing in the tournament during a time when pay packets were small and it wasn’t worth the hassle of travelling, with many golfers choosing not to. Palmer was a great golfer but he also makes this list for what he did for the sport, he is perhaps the most important golfer of all time and captivated the masses, helping to bring the sport to the level we get to enjoy today.
2. Jack Nicklaus – The Golden Bear has a record of 18 Major Championships, a record that’ll likely never be broken. He also has 73 PGA Tour wins. Nicklaus is one of the best under pressure, Gary Player once said that Nicklaus had “the greatest mind the game has ever known”. Nicklaus was a figure of consistency finishing second in 19 other majors, finishing in the top 5 in majors a record 56 times and in the top 10 a record 73 times. Nicklaus was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in the inaugural class of 1974.
1. Tiger Woods – Not many athletes could go through such a bad stretch and still be considered the G.O.A.T, but that is a testament to how good pre 2010 Tiger was. Golf is not an easy sport to dominate, but Tiger dominated tournaments in an era full of talented golfers. Woods has always had an excellent all round game, but his powerful drives and magnificent putting skills really catch the eye. It is looking like Woods will never catch up to Nicklaus’ 18 Majors, but Woods impressive tally of 14 Majors is nothing to be sniffed at. He also has 18 World Championship wins and more Player of the Year awards than anyone else. And he has 79 PGA Tour wins, only 3 behind Snead.