Back to top

Greatest Golfers of All Time

Greatest Golfers of All Time

In this ranking of the six greatest golfers of all time, factors that were considered include the golfer’s PGA Tour wins, major wins, and winning streak. Let’s begin.

6. Tom Watson

Watson printed his name among top golfers with 39 PGA Tour titles, 5 British Open victories and making at least one cut each year for 37 times. Watson named PGA Player of the Year a total of 6 times and Ryder Cup Captain twice. He holds the record for spending 34 years and 6 days on the PGA Tour from 1975 to 2009.

ST ANDREWS, SCOTLAND – JULY 16: Tom Watson of the United States tees off on the 2nd hole during the first round of the 144th Open Championship at The Old Course on July 16, 2015 in St Andrews, Scotland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

5. Byron Nelson

The sixth all-time winner of the PGA Tour, Nelson holds 52 victories, claiming the number one spot 11 times in a row. In the 1945 PGA Tour season, Nelson was named AP Athlete of the Year with 18 wins and 7 runners-up from 35 tours. That same year, he claimed the PGA Championship. Nelson won the 1937 and 1942 Masters, the U.S. Open in 1939 and the PGA championship in 1940. He also made a record 113 consecutive top 20 finishes, trailing Tiger Wood’s 142.

4. Sam Snead

Renowned for his swings, Snead is the number one all-time winner of the PGA Tour with 82 wins and over 135 worldwide victories. He has set a number of interesting records too including the oldest player to make the cut, shoot and win the PGA Tour, the first 67 years old player to shoot on the PGA Tour, and the only player to finish top 10 in at least 1 major championship in 5 different decades. Sadly, he never claimed a U.S. Open.

Sam Snead, 1938 GGO
See: J. S. Catlett (1999), p. 92
Carol W. Martin/Greensboro Historical Museum Collection

3. Bobby Jones

A golf prodigy at 14 and later co-founding the Masters, Jones shone in the early days of golf, winning 13 majors in 7 years including 5 U.S. Amateur, 4 U.S. Opens, and the 1930 British Amateur. The champion is also a 9-times winner of the PGA Tour. Jones created the “grand slam” when he won all the four majors in 1930.

In his career, he successfully competed in 31 majors claiming 13 victories and 27 times top 10 before retiring from competitive golf at age 28.

2. Tiger Woods

Anyone interested in golf probably knows the name Tiger Woods. His 79 PGA Tour wins places him second on the list of all-time winners. Wood is a master of the game, winning 14 majors including 4 Masters, 4 PGA Championships, 3 U.S. Opens, and 3 Open Championships. Woods is one of the golfers with 3 grand slams and four successive majors.

1. Jack Nicklaus

Nicklaus is the greatest golfer of all time with 73 PGA wins and 18 majors comprising 6 Masters, 4 U.S. Opens, 3 PGA Championships, and 2 Open Championships. His towering 73 PGA Tour victories also places him as the PGA Tour’s third all-time winner. He also made top 10 in 73 majors and runner-up in 19. Winning the Masters at the age of 46, Nicklaus remains the oldest champion of the Masters.