The 15 Biggest Golfers in PGA Championship Historical past

Phil Mickelson celebrates with brother and caddie Tim Mickelson on the 18th inexperienced after profitable through the remaining spherical of the 2021 PGA Championship held on the Ocean Course of Kiawah Island Golf Resort on Might 23, 2021 in Kiawah Island, SC. (Photograph by Jamie Squire by way of Getty Pictures)

The 104th PGA Championship is nearly upon us. Golf’s most underrated main can be contested this yr at Southern Hills in Oklahoma. To rejoice the historical past of the PGA, we’re rating the 15 best PGA Champions of all time.

There have been 72 totally different golfers to assert the PGA Championship title with 20 of these champions profitable a number of trophies.

The primary winner of the enduring match was Englishman Jim Barnes, who beat the good Scotsman Jock Hutchison, 1 up, in 1916. The subsequent two editions have been canceled because of World Warfare I, however Barnes returned n 1919 and efficiently defended his PGA title. Barnes, who has been known as the ‘Nice Forgotten Champion,’ would go on to win the 1921 U.S. Open and 1925 British Open. (The Masters was not based till 1934.)

Jack Nicklaus and Walter Hagen are the winningest PGA champs with 5 every. Hagen claimed his 5 trophies – together with 4 in a row, through the age of match play, whereas Nicklaus claimed his within the trendy period of stroke-play.

Tiger Woods has collected 4 PGA victories, along with his first two coming back-to-back in 1999 and 2000.

Sam Snead and Gene Sarazen have every gained three trophies, whereas fifteen gamers have gained twice, together with Phil Mickelson (2005, 2021), Rory McIlroy (2012, 2014) and Brooks Koepka (2018-19).

With that as a desk setter, listed below are the 15 best PGA Champs of all time:

1. Jack Nicklaus

Jack Nicklaus wins the Wanamaker Trophy at the 1980 PGA Championship
Jack Nicklaus speaks to the group after profitable the PGA Championship on the Oak Hill CC in Rochester, NY on Aug 10, 1980. (Photograph by Brian Morgan of Popperfoto by way of Getty Pictures)

With 5 wins, Jack Nicklaus is tied with Walter Hagen for essentially the most victories on the PGA Championship. Nicklaus was additionally runner-up on 4 events – 1964, 1965, 1974 and 1983 (which can be report).

Moreover, Nicklaus holds a number of different data, together with most top-3 finishes (12), top-5 finishes (14) and top-10 finishes (15). Jack as No. 1 was by far the best of all spots to fill.

Jack Nicklaus’ PGA Championship File
1963 Dallas Athletic Membership (-5)
1971 PGA Nationwide GC (-7)
1973 Canterbury GC (-7)
1975 Firestone CC (-4)
1980 Oak Hill CC (-6)

Different High Finishes:
Runner-ups: 4 (1964-65, ’74, ’83)
High 5s: 5 (1962, ’67, ’76-77, ’81)
High 10s: 1 (1970)

2. Walter Hagen

Walter Hagen
Walter Hagen hits a tee shot at an exhibition golf match in Saint-Cloud, France in 1928. (Photograph by Keystone-France – Gamma-Rapho by way of Getty Pictures)

5 of Walter Hagen’s 11 main victories got here on the PGA Championship, and all in a seven-year span. Hagen is surely the best participant of the PGA’s Match Play period.

The one motive Hagen’s wins aren’t as extremely regarded, and why he might by no means overtake Nicklaus as No. 1, is as a result of his best opponent throughout this period, Bobby Jones, by no means performed the PGA Championship because of his newbie standing. It will be like profitable 5 PGA Championships through the 70s however with out Jack Nicklaus within the area.

Walter Hagen’s PGA Championship File
1921 Inwood CC (3&2)
1924 French Lick Springs (2-Up)
1925 Olympia Subject CC (6&5)
1926 Salisbury GC (5&3)
1927 Cedar Crest CC (1-Up)

Different High Finishes:
Runner-up: 1 (1923)
Semis: 2 (1916, ’29)
Quarters: 1 (1928)

3. Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods celebrates after sinking a putt through the remaining spherical of the PGA Championship at Valhalla CC in Louisville, KY on Aug 20, 2000. (Photograph by Robert Beck of SI by way of Getty Pictures)

Tiger Woods’ profession has all the time been about peaking for the majors. To associate with his 4 wins on the PGA Championship, he additionally has three runner-up finishes and two different top-10s.

Woods set after which tied the scoring report in relation to par (-18) throughout his wins in 2000 and 2006, respectively. He’s additionally the one participant within the stroke play period to efficiently defend, and he did it twice (1999-2000 and 2006-2007).

Woods’ loss in 2009, when he went into the ultimate spherical with a two-shot lead, solely to shoot 3-over par and lose out to YE Yang, is taken into account by historians because the occasion that ended the Peak Tiger period.

Tiger Woods’ PGA Championship File
1999 Medinah CC (-11)
2000 Valhalla CC (-18)
2006 Medinah CC (-18)
2007 Southern Hills CC (-8)

Different High Finishes:
Runner-ups: 3 (2002, ’09, ’18)
High 5s: 1 (2005)
High 10s: 1 (1998)

4. Sam Snead

Sammy Snead wins the Wanamaker Trophy at the 1942 PGA Championship
Sammy Snead tees off on the No. 1 gap in a match in opposition to Jim Demaret within the semi-finals of the PGA Championship at Seaview CC on Might 29, 1942. (Photograph by Bettman by way of Getty Pictures)

One other three-time winner of the PGA Championship is Sam Snead. Earlier than profitable his first championship 1942, Snead had already misplaced within the finals twice. Though Snead by no means gained within the stroke-play format, he nonetheless posted eight top-10 finishes, together with 4 top-5s.

Even on the age of 62, Snead was extremely aggressive and completed T3, three-strokes behind winner Lee Trevino in 1974.

Snead simply has the best report amongst gamers who spanned the 2 eras.

Sam Snead’s PGA Championship File
1942 Seaview CC (2&1)
1949 Hermitage CC (3&2)
1951 Oakmont CC (7&6)

Different High Finishes:
Runner-ups: 2 (1938, ’40)
Semis: 0
Quarters: 4 (1941, ’48, ’54, ’56)
High 5s: 4 (1958, ’60, ’72, ’74)*
High 10s: 4 (1959, ’65-66, ’73)*
*Fashionable stroke-play period

5. Gene Sarazen

Gene Sarazen
Gene Sarazen takes a shot, surrounded by spectators in 1935. (Photograph by Central Press by way of Getty Pictures)

One in every of 5 profession Grand Slam winners, Gene Sarazen gained the primary of three PGA Championships on the age of 20. He additionally reached a minimum of the final-eight on 9 different events, together with a runner-up to Tommy Armour in 1930.

A bit recognized factoid about Sarazen is that he’s mentioned to be the inventor of the fashionable sand wedge.

Gene Sarazen’s PGA Championship File
1922 Oakmont CC (4&3)
1923 Pelham CC (38 Holes)
1933 Blue Mound CC (5&4)

Different High Finishes:
Runner-up: 1 (1930)
Semis: 3 (1928, ’31, ’41)
Quarters: 5 (1921, ’27, ’29, ’38, ’40)

6. Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson Wins 2021 PGA Championship
Phil Mickelson raises his arms and celebrates his two stroke victory on the 18th gap inexperienced through the remaining spherical of the PGA Championship on The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort on Might 23, 2021, in Kiawah Island, SC. (Photograph by Keyur Khamar PGA TOUR by way of Getty Pictures)

The lefthanded legend didn’t win his first Wannamaker trophy till the age of 35, which on the time appeared like a “win for the older man.”

Some 16 years later, at practically 51-years-old, Mickelson gained his second PGA Championship title, changing into the oldest participant in historical past to win one of many 4 main championships.

The long-lasting scenes that developed at Kiawah’s 18th gap can be burned into golf’s historical past books. For this, Mickelson simply grabs the highest spot for two-time winners.

Moreover, the presently canceled celebrity has made 29 appearances in PGA and completed within the cash 26 instances, together with 21 straight from 1996 by means of 2016.

Mickelson has additionally completed runner-up twice (2001, 2014) and solo-third one other time (1994), whereas including 5 extra top-10 finishes.

Phil Mickelson’s PGA Championship File
2005 Baltusrol (-4)
2021 Kiawah Island (-6)

Different High Finishes:
Runner-ups: 2 (2001, 2014)
High 5s: 1 (1994)
High 10s: 5 (’93, ’96, ’00, ’04, ’08)

7. Ben Hogan

Ben Hogan 1953 British Open
British Open Champion Ben Hogan walks by means of the gallery of spectators en path to his win on the 1953 British Open. (Photograph by Bob Thomas Sports activities by way of Getty Pictures)

Most likely the best ball-striker of all time, Hogan’s first main was on the PGA Championship, which he gained in 1946. He additionally gained in 1948.

Following his life threatening automobile accident in 1949, Hogan opted out of the PGA Championship for the remainder of his prime years.

Based on legend, there have been two causes for this. First, as a match play occasion, Hogan’s expertise and persona (introverted) have been extra suited to “capturing a quantity”— meticulously planning and executing a technique to attain a rating for a spherical on a specific course.

Second, the PGA required a number of days of 36 holes per day competitors, and after his accident, Hogan struggled to handle greater than 18 holes a day. Nonetheless, after the championship transitioned to a stroke-play occasion, Hogan made three remaining profession begins, posting a T9 and T15 in his final two appearances.

Ben Hogan’s PGA Championship File
1946 Portland GC (6&4)
1948 Norwood Hills GC (2&1)

Different High Finishes:
Runner-up: 0
Semis: 0
Quarters: 3 (1940-42)
High 10s: 1 (1964)*
*Fashionable stroke-play period

8. Byron Nelson

Byron Nelson 1939 PGA Championship Runner-up
Byron Nelson talks to his caddy on the ninth inexperienced of the Pomonok CC after Nelson gained his match in opposition to Emerick Kocsis within the quarter-finals of the twenty second PGA Championship on July 13, 1939. (Photograph by Bettman by way of Getty Pictures)

Two-time PGA Champion Byron Nelson might have gained way more if it wasn’t for his early retirement. Within the 9 instances he performed within the occasion, he reached the quarter-finals each time and misplaced within the finals three different instances.

Nelson’s 1945 PGA Championship victory was a part of his 11-consecutive win streak that yr.

Byron Nelson’s PGA Championship File
1940 Hershey CC (1-Up)
1945 Moraine CC (4&3)

Different High Finishes:
Runner-up: 3 (1939, ’41, ’44)
Semis: 1 (1942)
Quarters: 3 (1937-38, ’46)

9. Gary Participant

Gary Player wins the Wanamaker Trophy at the 1962 PGA Championship
Gary Participant clowns as he’s requested to “kiss the trophy,” after profitable the forty fourth PGA Championship on July 22, 1962 at Aronimink GC in Newtown Sq., PA. (Photograph by Bettman by way of Getty Pictures)

The one non-American to attain the profession Grand Slam, Gary Participant gained two PGA Championships, along with his PGA wins coming 10 years aside.

His second win, in 1972, was courtesy of a “miracle” 9-iron shot. Coming off bogeys on 14 and 15, Participant pushed his drive on the sixteenth and had considerably of a shot over a willow tree and a pond – however he went for it and caught it 4 ft from the pin. Participant would go in to win by two pictures.

The South African golf legend additionally has two runner-ups (Floyd in ’69 and Trevino in ’84) together with 4 further top-10 finishes.

Gary Participant’s PGA Championship File
1962 Aronimink GC (-2)
1972 Oakland Hills CC (+1)

Different High Finishes:
Runner-ups: 2 (1969, ’84)
High 5s: 2 (1966, ’71)
High 10s: 2 (1963, ’74)

10. Jim Barnes

Jim Barnes, PGA golf champ, and Jack Dempsey, heavyweight champ
Champions of the hyperlinks and mitts: World well-known world champions Jim Barnes, PGA golf champ, and Jack Dempsey, heavyweight champ, collectively at Tampa, Fla on Feb 9, 1926. (Bettman by way of Getty Pictures)

Jim Barnes is taken into account by many to be one of many best golfers historical past has forgotten. The 6’4″ Barnes was nicknamed “Massive Jim” by mates and rivals and “Lengthy Jim Barnes” by the New York Occasions. His two PGA titles have been the primary within the occasion; there was no match in 1917 or 1918 due to World Warfare I.

“Barnes is lengthy, lanky and deliberate and each inch of the golf marvel of story books,” wrote the NY Occasions in reporting his second win.

Jim Barnes’ PGA Championship File
1916 Siwanoy CC (1-Up)
1919 Engineers CC (6&5)

Different High Finishes:
Runner-up: 2 (1921, 1924)
Semis: 0
Quarters: 1 (1923)

11. Raymond Floyd

Raymond Floyd wins the Wanamaker Trophy at the 1969 PGA Championship
Gary Participant seems on as Raymond Floyd is interviewed by ABC announcer Jim McKay after profitable the 51st PGA Championship on August 17, 1969 on the South Course of NCR CC in Kettering, Ohio. (Photograph by Martin Mills by way of Getty Pictures)

At 26-years outdated, Raymond Floyd gained his first main title on the 1969 PGA Championship, edging Gary Participant by a shot. He gained his second PGA title some 13 years later in 1982 at practically 40 years of age.

Floyd claimed that second Wanamaker with a superb opening-round 63 in sweltering sizzling circumstances at Southern Hills Nation Membership. Floyd’s spherical of 7-under 63 was the bottom spherical in a significant championship till 2017 when Justin Thomas shot a 9-under 63 at Erin Hills (U.S Open).

Ray Floyd’s PGA Championship File
1969 NCR CC South (-8)
1982 Southern Hills (-8)

Different High Finishes:
Runner-ups: 1 (1976)
High 5s: 0
High 10s: 4 (1970, ’75, ’88, ’91)

12. Nick Value

Nick Price wins the Wanamaker Trophy at the 1992 PGA Championship
Nick Value poses with the trophy after profitable the PGA Championship on Might 16, 1992 at Bellerive CC in City and Nation, Missouri. (Photograph by PGA TOUR Archive by way of Getty Pictures)

Nick Value gained his first PGA Championship in 1992, and two years later went wire-to-wire to assert his second, six strokes away from runner-up Corey Pavin.

The win was Value’s second consecutive main and second PGA Championship in three years. Following this win, he moved to the highest of the Official World Golf Rating.

Nick Value’s PGA Championship File
1992 Bellerive CC (-6)
1994 Southern Hills C (-11)

Different High Finishes:
Runner-ups: 0
High 5s: 3 (1985, 1998-99)
High 10s: 2 (1987, ’96)

13. Lee Trevino

Lee Trevino wins the Wanamaker Trophy at the 1974 PGA Championship
Jim McKay, Jack Nicklaus, and winner Lee Trevino on the US PGA Golf Championship at Tanglewood Park in Clemmon, NC on Aug 11, 1974. (Photograph by Al Satterwhite of ABC by way of Getty Pictures)

The final two of Lee Trevino’s main victories got here on the PGA Championship. One of many traditional remaining spherical battles between Trevino and Nicklaus passed off in 1974, during which the “Merry Mex” triumphed.

Trevino was struggling along with his putter, so simply days earlier than the match he switched to a brand new putter, which he discovered within the attic of the home he was renting for the week.

In 1985, Trevino got here near profitable his third, and going back-to-back after an eagle on the fifth gap gave him a one shot lead over Hubert Inexperienced in Sunday’s finale. The 2 have been tied on the fifteenth tee, however two late bogeys by Trevino gave Inexperienced a two-stroke win at Cherry Hills.

Lee Trevino’s PGA Championship File
1974 Tanglewood GC (-4)
1984 Shoal Creek CC (-15)

Different High Finishes:
Runner-ups: 1 (1985)
High 5s: 0
High 10s: 2 (1978, ’80)

14. Brooks Koepka

Brooks Koepka
Brooks Koepka reacts after profitable the PGA Championship on the Bethpage Black course on Might 19, 2019 in Farmingdale, NY. Photograph by Patrick Smith/Getty Pictures

Brooks Koepka gained the U.S. Open in 2017 and 2018, after which the PGA Championship in 2018 and 2019, changing into the primary golfer in historical past to carry back-to-back titles in two majors concurrently.

Accidents have hampered Koepka the previous two seasons, however at simply 31 years outdated, he’s nonetheless thought of the very best big-game participant of his era.

Brooks Koepka’s PGA Championship File
2018 Bellerive CC (-8)
2019 Bethpage Black (-8)

Different High Finishes:
Runner-ups: 0
High 5s: 2 (2015, ’16)
High 10s: 0

15. Leo Diegel

Leo Diegel
Leo Diegel tees off from the 18th tee through the 2nd Ryder Cup Matches at Moortown GG in Leeds, England on July 27, 1929. (Photograph by Central Press/Getty Pictures)

Little-known Leo Diegel gained again to again PGA Championships in 1928 and 1929. Diegel’s declare to fame was defeating each Walter Hagen and Gene Sarazen en path to each victories.

In truth throughout his maiden win, in 1928, he ended Hagen’s streak of twenty-two consecutive matches gained, and 4 straight PGA Championship titles (1924-1927). He then walloped Sarazen 9 & 8, who historians say was overconfident after anticipating to face Hagen. In 1929, Diegel did it once more – this time beating Sarazen within the quarterfinals, and Hagen within the semis.

Hagen’s match play report on the PGA Championship within the Twenties was an unbelievable 35-3. He misplaced to Sarazen in 38 holes within the 1923 finals, after which misplaced to Diegel TWICE!

Leo Diegel’s PGA Championship File
1928 Baltimore CC (6&5)
1929 Hillcrest CC (6&4)

Different High Finishes:
Runner-up: 1 (1926)
Semis: 0
Quarters: 1 (1925)

15. Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy wins the Wanamaker Trophy at the 2014 PGA Championship
Rory McIlroy wins the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Membership in Louisville, Ky on August 10, 2014. (Photograph by Jeff Moreland-Icon Sportswire by way of Getty Pictures)

Rory McIlroy owns two PGA trophies, profitable in 2012 at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course and 2014 at Valhalla Golf Membership.

In his first six profession begins on the PGA, Rory posted two wins, two T3s and a high 10. In his final six begins, although, he’s posted only a single top-10, which was a backdoor sort in 2019, amid Brooks Koepka’s blow-out win.

Rory McIlroy’s PGA Championship File
2012 Kiawah Ocean (-13)
2014 Valhalla GC (-16)

Different High Finishes:
Runner-ups: 0
High 5s: 2 (2009-10)
High 10s: 2 (2013, ’19)

This publish initially appeared forward of the 2021 PGA Championship and has been up to date to incorporate Phil Mickelson after his win in 2021. Saurav Ghosh contributes to this report.

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