It is very hard to consider someone the “greatest of all time” in any sport and golf is not an exception. We are constantly witnessing the debates of the best players in the history of any sport, including football, basketball, tennis, etc. While in general, we should leave titles to determine the prestigious epithet, the reality is somewhat different in many sports, and choosing the very best of the best comes down to bountiful parameters.
At the end of the day, we still see it as a rather individual choice because some fans will prefer one athlete over another for whichever reason and vice versa. In tennis, Novak Djokovic has the most Grand Slam titles and he owns numerous other significant records but many fans still see Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal as the best players ever.
We have a similar case in golf which makes this article particularly interesting. It is very difficult to underline the top 20, top 15, or top 10 golfers of all time. You may not agree with our selections and that’s fine. We, however, tried to be as objective as possible when creating the following list. Stay tuned and find out who are the best 15 golf players in the history of the game.
15 – Severiano Ballesteros
Ballesteros’ era happened between 1970 and 1990. He mainly played on the European Tour, winning 50 such events. ‘We all remember him for his marvelous displays at the Ryder Cup where Seve led Team Europe to five wins over the United States as a player and as a captain’ said Mark Vighan top golf expert at betting prediction site BettingTips4You. He also won five majors and 9 PGA Tour trophies in his rich career.
14 – Harry Vardon
Although he has fewer titles than Ballesteros overall, we decided to put Harry Bardon above him in the pecking order because of Harry’s seven majors, including six Open titles. We will also never forget the famous Vardon grip and how this magician used to hold his stick.
13 – Billy Kasper
Next up is Billy Kasper who relentlessly collected Ryder Cup points like no other golfer. He played in as many as eight Ryder Cups. He was also the Ryder Cup captain in 1979. We feel Kasper has not received all the credit he deserves for his achievements, among which there were 27 wins from 1964 to 1970.
12 – Tom Watson
Tom holds the record for the longest time frame between his first and last PGA Tour playoffs. It has been 34 years and 6 days between the two big achievements. The fact that he got super close to winning the 2009 Turnerburry title at the age of 59 says enough about his longevity. Watson was a six-time PGA Player of the Year and he captained the Ryder team twice in his career.
11 – Phil Mickelson
Phil has participated in as many as 11 Ryder Cups for Team USA ever since his debut at Oak Hill in 1995. Mickelson turned pro in 1992 but his first major trophy came only 16 years later. However, he is still one of the biggest legends of the sport, best known for his charisma and incredible energy. He has five majors and 43 PGA Tour titles.
10 – Byron Nelson
Byron has also won five majors but he has 52 PGA Tour trophies in his cabinet. His 113 successive top-20 finishes represent one of the toughest records to beat in the entire sport. Only the legendary Tiger Woods has managed more so far in the history of the game.
9 – Gary Player
Gary Player is one of five Grand Slam players. He has won nine majors and as many as 165 tournaments across five different continents. He entered the Golf Hall of Fame in 1974 and he became the first non-American to win all four majors in 1965 when he took the US Open title.
8 – Gene Sarazen
Gene is yet another Grand Slam player. He dominated the game back in the 1920s and the 1930s. He won the US Open at the age of 20. In the world of golf, Sarazen is well known for his sand-wage routine of having the main club in the bag.
7 – Arnold Palmer
Arnold has 7 majors and 62 professional PGA Tour titles. This record helped him become one of the first TV superstars in the 1950s. He managed his maiden PGA Tour win in 1955, 18 years before his very last one. The fact he won seven majors in six years tells enough about his pedigree.
6 – Sam Snead
Sam is known as the oldest PGA Tour winner. He was known for his perfect swing and he has won pretty much anything there was to win except for the US Open. His 82 PGA Tour trophies represent an achievement to admire.
5 – Ben Hogan
We had to find a place in the top-five for Ben Hogan who has won nine majors in his rich career. His famous Triple Crown season came in 1953 when Ben won five of six tournaments he competed in, including three majors. He would have probably achieved much more had his career not been interrupted by World War II.
4 – Bobby Jones
Bobby Jones was the greatest golf champion back in the 1920s. He marked the history of the game with a staggering 13 major titles, although it is worth noting that most majors have allowed amateurs to play back then. Bobby also completed a season slam, winning all four majors in 1930. Unfortunately, he retired from professional golf at the age of 28 but it did not prevent him from being among the top four in our list.
3 – Walter Hagen
Walter Hagen became the maiden Indian player to win The Open back in 1922. He was the six-time Ryder Cup captain for Team USA and he has competed in six Masters events. Hagen has 11 major titles and 45 PGA Tour trophies in his enviable career.
2 – Jack Nicklaus
If you merely look at titles, Jack Nicklaus should be considered the very best player to have ever played this game. His record-18 major trophies indeed make him the greatest of all time. However, we had to place him as a runner-up in this list because of the man who has become synonymous for golf.
1 – Tiger Woods
Although he is second all-time in major titles and PGA Tour trophies, Tiger Woods is the man who revolutionized golf, brought in the masses, and performed miracles to attract viewers from all over the planet. He is one of only five golfers to have won the modern Grand Slam three times and the only man who has ever managed to claim four consecutive Tiger Slam events.