Top 10 Best Golfers Of All Time | June 2024 Updates

As one of the most popular sports in the past century, golf has gained tremendous popularity. The sport of golf has become famous throughout the world. Additionally, golf has brought the best golfers enormous wealth because the prize pool is more significant than any other sport.

Legendary retired American golfer Jack Nicklaus, aka The Golden Bear, is undoubtedly the greatest golfer the world has ever seen. He concluded his amazing career with a total of 73 PGA Tour victories. Iconic golfing star Tiger Woods, with 82 total PGA Tour victories, and Sam Snead, with 82 total PGA Tour titles, also deserve their mentions among the greatest golfers in PGA tours.

Those who were at the forefront paved the way for today’s young stars through their exemplary dedication and dedication to the game. Here are ten of the best golfers of all time who influence golf fans with their impressive performances.

Best Golfers Of All Time


Best Golfers In PGA Tours | All-Time Ranking

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Golf is not just one of the most popular sports in the world but also one of the highest-played sports in the USA. Besides, it is also often dubbed the richest sport of all time. And this game has already seen some of the legends of the PGA shine on the golf court. So, without further ado, let’s learn about golf’s greatest legends.


10. Walter Hagen (USA)

Walter Hagen

  • Turned Professional: 1912
  • Total PGA Tour Wins: 45
  • Career Trophies: 58
  • World Golf Hall of Fame: 1974

Among golfers, Hagen holds the third most professional degrees, behind only Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. Moreover, Hagen’s impact went beyond a single victory on the PGA Tour as a single home run and attracted pro athletes worldwide.

During Hagen’s early days, golfers were not unusual to be denied access to their respective clubs’ dormitories. Halogen has struggled to impress golfers with his standards.

A player once rented a cabin on the side of a restaurant at an English tournament and used it as a changing room after the club refused to let him have access to the dining room.

The large crowd Hagen managed to attract at that competition made an exhibition competition mandatory. As one of the original golfers to use the product, he earned a $1 million income from it.

As an early member of Rochester’s competitive team, Hagen was well supported by its members and management when he entered external competitions. When Walter Hagen first served as a club professional at the Oakland Hills Country Club north of Detroit, Michigan, in 1918, it was still a young club.

After serving as the first touring professional unaffiliated with any club during the 1919-1920 period, he worked alone for several years without an affiliation. A prominent member of Jack Taylor’s St.

Petersburg’s Pasadena-On-The-Gulf development, Hagen was president and co-owner of the Bear Creek Golf and Country Club in St. Petersburg by 1924. Hagen set a legacy for the upcoming golf players.

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9. Tom Watson (USA)

Tom Watson

  • Turned Professional: 1971
  • Total PGA Tour Wins: 39
  • Career Trophies: 70
  • World Golf Hall of Fame: 1988

American professional golfer Thomas Sturges Watson was born on 4 September 1949. He plays on the PGA Tour Champions, formerly the PGA Tour. During his PGA Tour career, Watson won eight major championships and topped the money list five times, making him one of the world’s top golfers of all time.

Besides, he is also one of the most handsome players of all time. McCormack’s World Golf Rankings rated him as the top player in the world from 1978 to 1982, by 1983 and 1984. When the successor Sony Rankings first appeared in 1985, he also put himself in the top 10 for 32 weeks.

The 60-year-old Watson also stands out because of his longevity: taking part in his first major championship 26 years ago. During the 2009 Open Championship, he led after the second and third rounds before losing a four-hole playoff.

A par would have won him the tournament, but he missed a putt from 8 feet (2.4 meters) on the 72nd hole, losing to Stewart Cink in the playoff.

Watson won several of his most prestigious tournaments by eliminating Jack Nicklaus. His most notable wins were the 1977 Masters, 1977 Open Championship, and the 1982 U.S. Open.

Their friendly rivalry during that time contributed to golf’s popularity despite his fierce rivalry with Nicklaus.


8. Bobby Jones (USA)

Bobby Jones

  • Turned Professional: NA (Amateurs)
  • Total PGA Tour Wins: 9
  • Career Trophies: 9
  • World Golf Hall of Fame: 1974

One of the most accurate golfers of his time, Bobby Jones, had a remarkable career. Among his many achievements, he is the only golfer since the nineteenth century to have achieved a single-season Grand Slam, the dominant player of the 1920s, and co-founder of Augusta National and the Masters. He is among the few athletes who dominated their sports like a pro.

Meanwhile, he earned a law degree and practiced law. Atlanta, Georgia, was the place of Jones’ birth on 17 March 1902. Initially, his full name was Robert Tyre Jones Jr. It was 18 December 1971 when he died at age 69. Syringomyelia, a condition associated with the spinal cord, contributed to his decline in health.

In addition to six major amateur titles, Bobby Jones won seven significant professional championships (as an amateur). All of those victories occurred in the United Kingdom and the United States.

It was Jones who won the Open four times between 1923 and 1930. Throughout his career, he won the British Open three times. His impressive career makes him one of the all-time greats in golf history.

The early 20th century saw Jones win the British Amateur Championship once, in 1930, and five times in the U.S. Amateur Championship in 1924, 1925, 1927, 1928, and 1930.

The 1916 Georgia Amateur, the Southern Amateur in 1917, 1918, 1920, and 1922, the 1927 Southern Open, and the 1930 Southeastern Open are some of Jones’ other notable victories.


7. Gary Player (South Africa)

Gary Player

  • Turned Professional: 1953
  • Total PGA Tour Wins: 24
  • Career Trophies: 160
  • World Golf Hall of Fame: 1974

A South African professional golfer, Gary Player, was born on 1 November 1935. He is considered one of the most successful golfers in the history of the sport. The only other golfer to win all four majors in their career is him.

A total of nine major championships were won by Gary and nine senior tour titles, and he named himself a major championships-winning golfer. A renowned golf course architect and ambassador, Eric Player, has designed more than 300 courses worldwide.

His number of victories in the Australian Open (7) and South African Open (13) tops any other player. With five wins in the World Match Play Championship, he held this record from 1973 until 1991, when Seve Ballesteros equaled this record.

As Ernie won the occasion for the 6th time in 2004, the record was finally lost to him. During the period from 1968 to 1981, Player was ranked in the top ten of Mark McCormack’s reality golf rankings.

In 1969, 1970, and 1972 he finished second to Jack Nicklaus, providing him with a perfect opportunity.

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6. Byron Nelson (USA)

Byron Nelson

  • Turned Professional: 1932
  • Total PGA Tour Wins: 52
  • Career Trophies: 64
  • World Golf Hall of Fame: 1974

Between 1935 and 1946, John Byron Nelson Jr., a professional golfer, became one of the greatest golf players of all time. Nelson died on 26 September 2006 after a lengthy illness. Nelson was born just seven months after Ben Hogan and Sam Snead, two other legendary champions of the time.

Even though he won many tournaments in his relatively short career, he is primarily remembered for winning 11 consecutive tournaments in 1945 and 18 in all.

When Nelson turned 34, he officially retired from professional golf to become a rancher, then a broadcaster. Similarly, the event named after Nelson was also the first to be named after a professional golfer.

His participation in the Masters was significant, as he placed in the top ten six times between 1947 and 1955, including a 15th-place finish in 1965.

Nelson played as many important tournaments as he could afford after turning professional in 1932 in Texas to improve his game. Texas was severely affected by the Great Depression, so money was tight.

He finished in the top three at two important events in Texas. After that, he became the head of the Ridgewood Country Club, located in New Jersey.

He was determined to improve his golf game, recognizing that due to the shift from hickory to steel shafts. There would have to be changes if the golf swing had maintained its popularity during the early 1930s.


5. Arnold Palmer (USA)

Arnold Palmer

  • Turned Professional: 1954
  • Total PGA Tour Wins: 62
  • Career Trophies: 95
  • World Golf Hall of Fame: 1974

The late Arnold Palmer was an American golfer. One of the all-time best golfers who is also known as one of the most famous golfers of the ’90s in the history of the sport, Palmer is widely respected for his incredible skills. A previous winner of the PGA Tour and the PGA Tour Champions circuit, he has been on the PGA Tour since 1955.

The King was one of golf’s most popular stars and a trailblazer, the first T.V. icon of the sport. Palmer was born on 20 February 1916 in New Hampshire and died on 28 September 1989 in Lake Bluff, Florida.

As a professional, Palmer had a remarkable impact on society. During his career, he changed golf’s reputation from an elite, upper-class pastime of private clubs to a more populist, accessible sport available to the middle and working classes through public courses due to his humble origins and plain-spoken appeal.

In the 1960s, Palmer and Nicklaus were known as the “Big Three” of golf. The sport has become popular and commercial around the world thanks to them.

The PGA golfer Palmer won 62 titles from 1955 to 1973 on the PGA Tour during a career spanning more than six decades. During the Tour’s history, Palmer ranks fifth among the Tour’s all-time victories, behind Tiger Woods, Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus, and Ben Hogan.

During his six-plus-year dominance spanning 1958 to 1964, he won seven major titles. In 1998, he won PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award, and he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974 as one of the 13 original inductees.


4. Ben Hogan (USA)

Ben Hogan

  • Turned Professional: 1930
  • Total PGA Tour Wins: 64
  • Career Trophies: 69
  • World Golf Hall of Fame: 1974

Ben Hogan was one of the most iconic players in golf, often in the same breath as Tiger Woods, Walter Hagen, and Jack Nicklaus. The golf swing theory he developed and his ball-striking abilities made him one of the best players in golf history.

A golf tutorial Hogan authored during his career, titled “Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf,” can be found in many golf books and magazines still in use today. Perfectionist and iron-willed, he left a lasting legacy on the sport. His impact was felt across the board.

Furthermore, Hogan is one of only five golfers in history to have won nine major championships at the height of his career – two Masters, one British Open, four United States Opens, and two PGA titles. He recovered from a traumatic accident and returned to all his fans with joy, despite being almost killed in the accident.

Many accolades and awards have been bestowed upon him. Hogan has excellent golf course management skills that could put even the most seasoned competitors in a weakened condition.

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3. Sam Snead (USA)

Sam Snead

  • Turned Professional: 1934
  • Total PGA Tour Wins: 82
  • Career Trophies: 142
  • World Golf Hall of Fame: 1974

The full name of Sam Snead was Samuel Jackson Snead, but his name was Slammin’ Sam. He was born near Hot Springs, Virginia, U.S., on 27 May 1912 and died in Hot Springs on 23 May 2002. Winning the spot of the top PGA golfers with the most PGA Tour wins, he has secured 82 Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) tournaments.

He won every major championship for which he was eligible—except the U.S. Open, in which he placed second four times. Snead was noted for his career’s longevity, agility, and smooth, self-taught swing. He became a professional in 1933 and scored his first victory in the 1937 Oakland Open.

Snead won the British Open (Open Championship; 1946), the Canadian Open (1938, 1940, and 1941), and in the United States, the Masters’ Tournament (1949, 1952, and 1954), the PGA Championship (1942, 1949, and 1951), and the Vardon Trophy (1938, 1949–50, and 1955) for the best average number of strokes in PGA tournaments.

He played on the U.S. Ryder Cup team eight times, including in 1969, when he captained but didn’t play. He won the individual World Cup title in 1961 and has competed in four World Cup teams during his career.


2. Tiger Woods (USA)

Tiger Woods

  • Turned Professional: 1996
  • Total PGA Tour Wins: 82
  • Career Trophies: 109
  • World Golf Hall of Fame: 2021

On 30 December 1975, Eldrick “Tiger” Woods was born in Cypress, California. In addition to exceptional ability, he was also passionate about the game. And this year, he has secured his place among the highest-paid athletes.

During his PGA Tour career, he won 82 major events making PGA records and earned more than £93 million in prizes.

Several lucrative sponsorship deals have made him one of the sport’s top earners, including a record-breaking £105 million contract with Nike. During the 1997 US Masters, he dominated all rookies, making him a phenomenon. He started over after deciding that his game still had flaws.

American golfer Tiger played on the pro circuit in the late 1990s and early 2000s and had one of the best amateur careers in game history. Woods won the 1997 Masters Tournament, one of the most prestigious events in the sport, becoming the first golfer of either African American or Asian descent to do so.

Woods dominated golf for most of the 2000s, spending 281 weeks at the top of the world rankings from June 2005 to October 2010 and spending 264 weeks at the top from August 1999 to September 2004.

But yes, he was also often dubbed as one of the most controversial athletes for many reasons. However, his astonishing career makes him one of the greatest golfers of all time.


1. Jack Nicklaus (USA)

Jack Nicklaus

  • Turned Professional: 1961
  • Total PGA Tour Wins: 73
  • Career Trophies: 117
  • World Golf Hall of Fame: 1974

The Golden Bear, born Jack William Nicklaus on 21 January 1940, is a retired American professional golfer. Many people consider him to be the best golfer of all time and also one of the richest golfers in history.

His career included 117 professional wins. With 18 major titles over a quarter-century, he has triumphed three times more than Tiger Woods.

At least four major championships, including the Masters, U.S. Open, Open Championship, and PGA Championship, occupied Nicklaus’ time. He also played in some PGA Tour events. He won 73 PGA Tour victories during his career, placing third behind Sam Snead (82) and Tiger Woods (82).

In 1959 and 1961, Nicklaus won the U.S. Amateur, while in 1960, he finished second. In 1961, at the age of 21, Nicklaus became a professional golfer. In 1962, he became the first golfer to win the U.S. Open, defeating Palmer in the following day’s 18-hole playoff by three shots and launching a rivalry between golf’s biggest stars.

As a result, Nicklaus became the first golfer to win two consecutive Masters Tournaments. Moreover, he won both The Open Championship and The PGA Championship at age 26, becoming the youngest golfer to achieve that feat.


Honorable mentions

11. Phil Mickelson (USA)

Phil Mickelson

  • Turned Professional: 1992
  • Total PGA Tour Wins: 45
  • Career Trophies: 55
  • World Golf Hall of Fame: 2012

During his childhood, Phil Mickelson showed a strong interest in golf. After winning three NCAA individual championships at Arizona State, Phil turned pro at age 22. His career began in earnest. “Lefty” was notorious for his inability to win a major despite his elite skills.

Phil won the 2004 Masters and went on to win four more majors over the next decade and became one of the greatest golfers in history. Mickelson won his first professional title in 1993 at Torrey Pines, and over the following decade, he continued to excel in the sport.

In 1996, he won the Byron Nelson Golf Classic and the World Series of Golf; in 1998, he won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am; and in 2000, he won the Colonial National Invitation. The defending champion also won the Buick Invitational, beating Tiger Woods and ending the golfer’s streak of winning consecutive tournaments.

In major tournaments, Mickelson did not wait nearly as long to return to the winners’ circle. He won a second Masters in 2006 and the PGA Championship in 2005.

He ranked among the top-paid golfers in 2007 with earnings of $42 million, according to Forbes. During 2007 and 2009, Lefty won the Players Championship and the Tour Championship, respectively.


12. Gene Sarazen (USA)

Gene Sarazen

  • Turned Professional: 1920
  • Total PGA Tour Wins: 38
  • Career Trophies: 48
  • World Golf Hall of Fame: 1974

One of the best golfers of the 20th century, Gene helped establish the Masters as a world-class golf championship. The 35 Masters was his first significant victory. He holed a 235-yard shot from the fairway of the par-5 15th at Augusta National, which went in for a two.

One of the first golfers to win all four majors in a career, he won seven majors in total, including two U.S. Opens in 1932. A PGA Tour leader in earnings in 1930 and 1932; recognized as the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year in 1932.

Gene was the founder and charter member of the World Golf Hall of Fame and recipient of the first Lifetime Achievement Award on the PGA Tour (1996). A fundamental part of the story is Sarazen’s iconic moment in golf, a 235-yard shot that found the bottom of Augusta National.

He designed to fit a man whose golf career was once also considered a long shot. This is the most impressive shot in the history of golf, and it has branded Augusta National Golf Club internationally.

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Final Words

We hope you liked the list of the best golfers of all time. If you have any feedback about the list, please leave a comment in the comment box.


Best Golfers | All-Time Infographics

Best Golfers Of All Time - Infographics
Infographics: Best Golfers Of All Time


FAQs Regarding Best Golfers Ever

Q. Who was the best golfer of all time?

Jack Nicklaus won 18 Majors, including the Masters, six times in his career and is known to be the best golfer ever (see Major winners).

Q. Who is the greatest golfer in PGA history?

With its nickname, “Golden Bear,” it is widely acknowledged as one of the most prestigious golf courses in the world. With 73 PGA Tour victories and 18 Major Championships, he holds the record for the most Major victories on any tour.

Q. Who are the top 3 golfers of all time?

Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, and Ben Hogan are the three golfers who are widely known as the top golfers ever. However, there are several others, like Byron Nelson.

Q. Who is the oldest golfer still playing?

The oldest Active Champions Tour player is Hale Irwin. Despite his age, he is still able to play the game at a high level with some of the finest golfers ever. His PGA tour debut came in 1968, and he has continued to compete until today.

Q. Who is the better golfer, Jack Nicklaus or Tiger Woods?

Tiger Woods has 82 overall PGA Tour tournament wins, tied with Sam Snead for the most in his career. The third place goes to Nicklaus with 73 points. In terms of overall wins in tournaments, it is thrilling to note that Woods was better than Nicklaus during his prime.

Q. Where do most pro golfers live?

Waterfront Properties reports Jupiter, Florida, has many names, including “Golf’s Hot Spot” and the “Epicenter of Professional Golf,” known as most pro golfers live in that area.

Last Updated On: June 2024

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