What does winning wire-to-wire mean in golf? And how many times has it happened in major history? George Cooper dives into the records

Winning any major championship is impressive, but the feat is even more remarkable when a player does so wire-to-wire.

But what exactly does the term mean? And how many times has it happened in the history of the men’s and women’s major championships? We dive into the record books so you don’t have to…

What does winning wire-to-wire mean?

The phrase wire-to-wire originates from horse racing, with the first wire representing the start position, and the second wire representing the finish line. When a horse leads a race from start to finish, they are said to have won ‘wire-to-wire’.

So too in golf, when a player leads a tournament from start to finish, sitting in first position at the end of every round to secure the win, they are also said to have won ‘wire-to-wire’.

Winning a golf tournament ‘wire-to-wire’ is extremely impressive, but the feat is even more spectacular when a player does so with ‘no ties’, meaning they led every round without sharing the lead with another player.

Wire-to-wire major winners

In the history of the nine men’s and women’s major championships, a player has won wire-to-wire on 72 occasions, with 42 of these achieved with no ties:

The Masters

1941 – Craig Wood (no ties)
1960 – Arnold Palmer (no ties)
1972 – Jack Nicklaus (no ties)
1976 – Raymond Floyd (no ties)
2015 – Jordan Spieth (no ties)

PGA Championship

1964 – Bobby Nichols (no ties)
1969 – Raymond Floyd
1971 – Jack Nicklaus (no ties)
1982 – Raymond Floyd
1983 – Hal Sutton (no ties)
2000 – Tiger Woods

2005 – Phil Mickelson
2019 – Brooks Koepka (no ties)

US Open

1903 – Willie Anderson
1906 – Alex Smith
1914 – Walter Hagen (no ties)
1916 – Charles Evans Jr
1921 – Jim Barnes (no ties)
1953 – Ben Hogan (no ties)
1958 – Tommy Bolt
1970 – Tony Jacklin (no ties)
1972 – Jack Nicklaus
1977 – Hubert Green
1980 – Jack Nicklaus
1991 – Payne Stewart
2000 – Tiger Woods (no ties)
2001 – Retief Gooson
2002 – Tiger Woods (no ties)
2011 – Rory McIlroy (no ties)
2014 – Martin Kaymer (no ties)

The Open Championship

1899 – Harry Vardon
1900 – JH Taylor
1903 – Harry Vardon
1912 – Ted Ray (no ties)
1927 – Bobby Jones (no ties)
1932 – Gene Sarazen (no ties)
1934 – Henry Cotton (no ties)
1971 – Lee Trevino
1973 – Tom Weiskopf (no ties)
1974 – Gary Player
2005 – Tiger Woods (no ties)
2014 – Rory McIlroy (no ties)

Player of the decade

Chevron Championship

1986 – Pat Bradley (no ties)
1987 – Betsy King (no ties)
1989 – Juli Inkster (no ties)
1991 – Amy Alcott (no ties)
1998 – Pat Hurst (no ties)
2000 – Karrie Webb (no ties)
2021 – Patty Tavatanakit (no ties)

US Women’s Open

1954 – Babe Zaharias
1955 – Fay Crocker (no ties)
1958 – Mickey Wright (no ties)
1963 – Mary Mills
1967 – Catherine Lacoste
1968 – Susie Berning (no ties)
1970 – Donna Caponi
1971 – JoAnne Carner

KPMG Women’s PGA Championship

1955 – Beverly Hanson
1958 – Mickey Wright (no ties)
1962 – Judy Kimball
1967 – Kathy Whitworth
1968 – Sandra Post
1982 – Jan Stephenson
1985 – Nancy Lopez (no ties)
1992 – Betsy King
1998 – Se Ri Pak (no ties)
2010 – Christie Kerr
2011 – Yani Tseng (no ties)
2019 – Hannah Green (no ties)
2022 – Ingee Chun (no ties)

Women's PGA Championship

Evian Championship

None

Women’s Open

2005 – Jeong Jang (no ties)
2007 – Lorena Ochoa (no ties)

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George Cooper

A golf fanatic his entire life, George Cooper is NCG's man for all goings-on at the top level of the game, whether it's the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA or LIV Golf. He also looks after NCG's Twitter and Facebook accounts. George is a member of Woburn, but is not friends with Ian Poulter.

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