Men's major golf championships

The men's major golf championships, commonly known as the major championships,[1] often referred to simply as the majors, are the four most prestigious annual tournaments in professional golf. In order of play date as of 2019, they are:


Alongside the biennial Ryder Cup team competition, the majors are golf's marquee events. Elite players from all over the world participate in them, and the reputations of the greatest players in golf history are largely based on the number and variety of major championship victories they accumulate. The top prizes are not actually the largest in golf, being surpassed by The Players Championship, three of the four World Golf Championships events (the HSBC Champions, promoted to WGC status in 2009, has a top prize comparable to that of the majors), and some other invitational events. However, winning a major boosts a player's career far more than winning any other tournament. If he is already a leading player, he will probably receive large bonuses from his sponsors and may be able to negotiate better contracts. If he is an unknown, he will immediately be signed up. Perhaps more importantly, he will receive an exemption from the need to annually re-qualify for a tour card on his home tour, thus giving a tournament golfer some security in an unstable profession. Currently, both the PGA Tour and European Tour give a five-year exemption to all major winners.

Three of the four majors take place in the United States. The Masters is played at the same course, Augusta National Golf Club, every year, while the other three rotate courses (the Open Championship, however, is always played on a links course). Each of the majors has a distinct history, and they are run by four different golf organizations, but their special status is recognized worldwide. Major championship winners receive the maximum possible allocation of 100 points from the Official World Golf Ranking, which is endorsed by all of the main tours, and major championship prize money is official on the three richest regular (i.e. under-50) golf tours, the PGA Tour, European Tour and Japan Golf Tour.

Although the majors are considered prestigious due to their history and traditions, there are still other non-"major" tournaments which prominently feature top players competing for purses meeting or exceeding those of the four traditional majors, such as the World Golf Championships, the European Tour's DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, and the PGA Tour's Players Championship. As The Players has the largest prize fund of any golf event, and is promoted as the tour's flagship tournament, it is frequently considered to be an unofficial "fifth major" by players and critics. After the announcement that the Evian Masters would be recognized as the fifth women's major by the LPGA Tour, players shared objections to the concept of having a fifth men's major, owing to the long-standing traditions that the existing four have established.[3][4]


The majors originally consisted of two British tournaments, The Open Championship and The Amateur Championship, and two American tournaments, the U.S. Open and the U.S. Amateur. With the introduction of the Masters Tournament in 1934, and the rise of professional golf in the late 1940s and 1950s, the term "major championships" eventually came to describe the Masters, the U.S. Open, the Open Championship, and the PGA Championship. It is difficult to determine when the definition changed to include the current four tournaments, although many trace it to Arnold Palmer's 1960 season. After winning the Masters and the U.S. Open to start the season, he remarked that if he could win the Open Championship and PGA Championship to finish the season, he would complete "a grand slam of his own" to rival Bobby Jones's 1930 feat. Until that time, many U.S. players such as Byron Nelson also considered the Western Open and the North and South Open as two of golf's "majors,"[5] and the British PGA Matchplay Championship was as important to British and Commonwealth professionals as the PGA Championship was to Americans.

During the 1950s, the short-lived World Championship of Golf was viewed as a "major" by its competitors, as its first prize was worth almost ten times any other event in the game, and it was the first event whose finale was televised live on U.S. television. The oldest of the majors is The Open Championship, commonly referred to as the "British Open" outside the United Kingdom. Dominated by American champions in the 1920s and 1930s, the comparative explosion in the riches available on the U.S. Tour from the 1940s onwards meant that the lengthy overseas trip needed to qualify and compete in the event became increasingly prohibitive for the leading American professionals. Their regular participation dwindled after the war years. Ben Hogan entered just once in 1953 and won, but never returned. Sam Snead won in 1946 but lost money on the trip (first prize was $600) and did not return until 1962.

Golf writer Dan Jenkins, who was often seen as the world authority on majors since he had attended more (200+) than anyone else, once noted that "the pros didn't talk much about majors back then. I think it was Herbert Warren Wind who starting using the term. He said golfers had to be judged by the major tournaments they won, but it's not like there was any set number of major tournaments."[6]

In 1960, Arnold Palmer entered The Open Championship in an attempt to emulate Hogan's 1953 feat of winning on his first visit. Though a runner-up by a stroke in his first attempt, Palmer returned and won the next two in 1961 and 1962. Scheduling difficulties persisted with the PGA Championship, but more Americans began competing in the 1960s, restoring the event's prestige (and with it the prize money that once made it an attractive prospect to other American pros). The advent of transatlantic jet travel helped to boost American participation in The Open. A discussion between Palmer and Pittsburgh golf writer Bob Drum led to the concept of the modern Grand Slam of Golf.[7]

In August 2017, after the previous year's edition was scheduled earlier due to golf at the 2016 Summer Olympics, the PGA of America announced that the PGA Championship would be moved to late-May beginning in 2019, in between the Masters and U.S. Open. The PGA Tour concurrently announced that it would move the Players Championship back to March the same year; as a result, the Players and the four majors will still be played across five consecutive months.[8][9]

Television coverage

United Kingdom

Masters TournamentSky Sports/BBC
PGA ChampionshipSky Sports
U.S. OpenSky Sports
The Open ChampionshipSky Sports

In the United Kingdom, the BBC used to be the exclusive TV home of the Masters Tournament and the Open Championship, however from 2011 onwards Sky Sports has exclusive live coverage of the first two days of the Masters, with the weekend rounds shared with the BBC. The U.S. Open is shown exclusively on Sky Sports. Beginning in 2016, Sky Sports also became the exclusive broadcaster of the Open Championship; the BBC elected to forego the final year of its contract.[10] The BBC continues to hold rights to broadcast a nightly highlights programme.[11]

Sky also held rights to the PGA Championship, but in July 2017, it was reported that the PGA of America had declined to renew its contract, seeking a different media model for the tournament in the United Kingdom.[12] The 2017 tournament was aired by the BBC (via BBC Red Button, with the conclusion of coverage on BBC Two) and streamed by GiveMeSport (via Facebook Live).[13][14] Eleven Sports UK & Ireland acquired the event for 2018, as one of the first events covered by the newly-launched streaming service.[15]

United States

Masters TournamentESPN/CBS
PGA ChampionshipESPN/CBS
U.S. OpenFS1/Fox
The Open ChampionshipGolf Channel/NBC

As none of the majors fall under the direct jurisdiction of tours, broadcast rights for these events are negotiated separately with each sanctioning body. All four majors have been broadcast at some point by one of the "big three" networks—all of whom are currently or have previously been PGA Tour broadcast partners. In 2015, CBS was the only big three network that held weekend-round rights to one or more majors, as the remainder, along with early round coverage of all four, were held either by Fox or cable networks.

The Masters operates under one-year contracts; CBS has been the main TV partner every year since 1956, with ESPN broadcasting CBS-produced coverage of the first and second rounds since 2008 (replacing USA Network, which had shown the event since the early 1980s).[16]

Beginning in 1966, ABC obtained the broadcast rights for the other three majors and held them for a quarter century. The PGA Championship moved to CBS in 1991 and the U.S. Open returned to NBC in 1995.[17][18] ABC retained The Open Championship as its sole major, but moved its live coverage on the weekend to sister cable network ESPN in 2010. In June 2015, it was announced that NBC and Golf Channel would acquire rights to the Open Championship under a 12-year deal.[19] While the NBC deal was originally to take effect in 2017, ESPN chose to opt out of its final year of Open rights, so the NBC contract took effect beginning in 2016 instead.[10]

As of 2015, Fox Sports holds broadcast rights to the U.S. Open and other USGA events, replacing NBC and ESPN, with Fox Sports 1 as the primary pay TV outlet.[20]

CBS and ESPN now hold the broadcast rights to the PGA Championship, starting in 2020 after a new contract was signed to replace the old contract with TNT as well as CBS.[21]

Distinctive characteristics of majors

Because each major was developed and is run by a different organization, each has different characteristics that sets it apart. These involve the character of the courses used, the composition of the field, and other idiosyncrasies.

  • The Masters Tournament (sometimes referred to as the U.S. Masters), the season's first major championship, is the only major that is played at the same course every year (Augusta National Golf Club), being the invitational tournament of that club. The Masters invites the smallest field of the majors, generally under 100 players (although, like all the majors, it now ensures entry for all golfers among the world's top 50 prior to the event), and is the only one of the four majors that does not use "alternates" to replace qualified players who do not enter the event (usually due to injury). Former champions have a lifetime invitation to compete, and also included in the field are the current champions of the major amateur championships, and most of the previous year's PGA Tour winners (winners of "alternate" events held opposite a high-profile tournament do not receive automatic invitations). The traditions of Augusta during Tournament week, such as the Champion's Dinner, Par 3 Contest, and awarding of a green jacket to the champion, create a distinctive character for the tournament, as does the course itself, with its lack of primary rough but severely undulating fairways and greens, traditional pin placements, and punitive use of ponds and creeks on several key holes on the back nine.
  • The PGA Championship (sometimes referred to as the U.S. PGA), which from 2019 is the year's second major, is traditionally played at a parkland club in the United States, and the courses chosen tend to be as difficult as those chosen for the U.S. Open, with several, such as Baltusrol Golf Club, Medinah Country Club, Oakland Hills Country Club, Oak Hill Country Club, and Winged Foot Golf Club, having hosted both. The PGA generally does not set up the course to be as difficult as the USGA does. The PGA of America enters into a profit-sharing agreement with the host club (except when the event is hosted by Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, a club that it owns). In a parallel with The Masters, previous winners of the PGA Championship have a lifetime invitation to compete. As well as inviting recent champions of the other three professional majors and leading players from the world rankings, the PGA Championship field is completed by qualifiers held among members of the PGA of America, the organization of club and teaching professionals that are separate from the members of the PGA Tour. The PGA Championship is also the only one of the four majors to invite all winners of PGA Tour events in the year preceding the tournament, as well as inviting 20 club professionals who are non-tour regulars. Amateur golfers do not normally play on the PGA Tour, and could only qualify by winning one of the other three majors, winning a PGA Tour event while playing under a sponsor's exemption, or having a high world ranking. When the PGA Championship was held in August, it was frequently affected by the high heat and humidity that characterize the summer climate of much of the U.S., which often set it apart as a challenge from (in particular) the Open Championship, an event often played in cooler and rainy weather. With the 2019 move to a May date, heat and humidity are less likely to have major effects on the competition.
  • The third major, the U.S. Open, is notorious for being played on difficult courses that have tight fairways, challenging greens, demanding pin positions and thick and high rough, placing a great premium on accuracy, especially with driving and approach play. Additionally, while most regular tour events are played on courses with par 72, the U.S. Open has almost never been held on a par-72 course in recent decades; the 2017 event was the first since 1992 to be played at par 72.[22] During this time, the tournament course has occasionally been played to a par of 71 but most commonly par 70. The U.S. Open is rarely won with a score much under par. The event is the championship of the United States Golf Association, and in having a very strict exempt qualifiers list – made up of recent major champions, professionals currently ranked high in the world rankings or on the previous year's money lists around the world, and leading amateurs from recent USGA events – about half of the 156-person field still enters the tournament through two rounds of open qualification events, mostly held in the U.S. but also in Europe and Japan. The U.S. Open has no barrier to entry for either women or junior players, as long as they are a professional or meet amateur handicap requirements. As of 2016, however, no female golfer has yet qualified for the U.S. Open, although in 2006 Michelle Wie made it to the second qualifying stage. While the U.S. Open employed an 18-hole playoff for many years if players were tied after four rounds, the USGA announced that beginning in 2018 all of its future championships would implement a two-hole aggregate playoff format. A sudden-death playoff would follow if the players were still tied after the two playoff holes.[23] (This change also brought the U.S. Open more in line with both the Open and PGA Championships, which use four- and three-hole aggregate playoffs respectively, followed by sudden death if necessary, and most regular events as well as the Masters only have simple sudden-death playoffs.) The Sunday of the Championship has also in recent years fallen on Father's Day (at least as recognized in the US and the UK) which has lent added poignancy to winners' speeches.
  • The year's final major, The Open Championship (sometimes referred to as the British Open), is organized by The R&A, an offshoot of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, and is typically played on a links-style course in the United Kingdom (primarily Scotland or England). It carries the prestige of being the oldest professional golf tournament currently in existence and the original "Open" championship (although the very first event was held only for British professionals). It is respected for maintaining the tradition of links play that dates back to the very invention of the game in Scotland. Links courses are generally typified as coastal, flat and often very windswept, with the fairways cut through dune grass and gorse bushes that make up the "rough", and have deep bunkers. The course is generally not "doctored" to make it more difficult, effectively making the variable weather the main external influence on the field's score.[24] In fact, the greens at Open venues tend to be set up to play more slowly than those of normal tour stops. In windy conditions, a course with fast greens can become unplayable because the wind could affect balls at rest; the third round of the 2015 Open saw many delays for this very reason.[25] As well as exempting from qualifying recent professional major and amateur champions, all former Open Championship winners under age 60, and leading players from the world rankings, the R&A ensures that leading golfers from around the globe are given the chance to enter by holding qualifying events on all continents, as well as holding final qualifying events around the UK in the weeks prior to the main tournament. The champion receives (and has his name inscribed on the base of) the famous Claret Jug, a trophy that dates back to 1872 (champions from 1860 until 1871 received instead a championship belt, much like a champion professional boxer's belt nowadays) and the engraving of the champions' name on the trophy prior to them receiving it is, in itself, one of the traditions of the closing ceremony of the championship, as is the award of the silver medal to the leading amateur player to have made the cut to play the last 36 holes.

Major championship winners

Win number out of total wins is shown in parentheses for golfers with more than one major championship.

Year Masters Tournament[26] PGA Championship[27] U.S. Open[28] The Open Championship[29]
2020 April 9–12, Augusta National Golf Club May 14–17, TPC Harding Park June 18–21, Winged Foot Golf Club July 16–19, Royal St George's Golf Club
2019 Tiger Woods (15/15) Brooks Koepka (4/4) Gary Woodland Shane Lowry
Year Masters Tournament U.S. Open The Open Championship PGA Championship
2018 Patrick Reed Brooks Koepka (2/4) Francesco Molinari Brooks Koepka (3/4)
2017 Sergio García Brooks Koepka (1/4) Jordan Spieth (3/3) Justin Thomas
2016 Danny Willett Dustin Johnson Henrik Stenson Jimmy Walker
2015 Jordan Spieth (1/3) Jordan Spieth (2/3) Zach Johnson (2/2) Jason Day
2014 Bubba Watson (2/2) Martin Kaymer (2/2) Rory McIlroy (3/4) Rory McIlroy (4/4)
2013 Adam Scott Justin Rose Phil Mickelson (5/5) Jason Dufner
2012 Bubba Watson (1/2) Webb Simpson Ernie Els (4/4) Rory McIlroy (2/4)
2011 Charl Schwartzel Rory McIlroy (1/4) Darren Clarke Keegan Bradley
2010 Phil Mickelson (4/5) Graeme McDowell Louis Oosthuizen Martin Kaymer (1/2)
2009 Ángel Cabrera (2/2) Lucas Glover Stewart Cink Yang Yong-eun
2008 Trevor Immelman Tiger Woods (14/15) Pádraig Harrington (2/3) Pádraig Harrington (3/3)
2007 Zach Johnson (1/2) Ángel Cabrera (1/2) Pádraig Harrington (1/3) Tiger Woods (13/15)
2006 Phil Mickelson (3/5) Geoff Ogilvy Tiger Woods (11/15) Tiger Woods (12/15)
2005 Tiger Woods (9/15) Michael Campbell Tiger Woods (10/15) Phil Mickelson (2/5)
2004 Phil Mickelson (1/5) Retief Goosen (2/2) Todd Hamilton Vijay Singh (3/3)
2003 Mike Weir Jim Furyk Ben Curtis Shaun Micheel
2002 Tiger Woods (7/15) Tiger Woods (8/15) Ernie Els (3/4) Rich Beem
2001 Tiger Woods (6/15) Retief Goosen (1/2) David Duval David Toms
2000 Vijay Singh (2/3) Tiger Woods (3/15) Tiger Woods (4/15) Tiger Woods (5/15)
1999 José María Olazábal (2/2) Payne Stewart (3/3) Paul Lawrie Tiger Woods (2/15)
1998 Mark O'Meara (1/2) Lee Janzen (2/2) Mark O'Meara (2/2) Vijay Singh (1/3)
1997 Tiger Woods (1/15) Ernie Els (2/4) Justin Leonard Davis Love III
1996 Nick Faldo (6/6) Steve Jones Tom Lehman Mark Brooks
1995 Ben Crenshaw (2/2) Corey Pavin John Daly (2/2) Steve Elkington
1994 José María Olazábal (1/2) Ernie Els (1/4) Nick Price (2/3) Nick Price (3/3)
1993 Bernhard Langer (2/2) Lee Janzen (1/2) Greg Norman (2/2) Paul Azinger
1992 Fred Couples Tom Kite Nick Faldo (5/6) Nick Price (1/3)
1991 Ian Woosnam Payne Stewart (2/3) Ian Baker-Finch John Daly (1/2)
1990 Nick Faldo (3/6) Hale Irwin (3/3) Nick Faldo (4/6) Wayne Grady
1989 Nick Faldo (2/6) Curtis Strange (2/2) Mark Calcavecchia Payne Stewart (1/3)
1988 Sandy Lyle (2/2) Curtis Strange (1/2) Seve Ballesteros (5/5) Jeff Sluman
1987 Larry Mize Scott Simpson Nick Faldo (1/6) Larry Nelson (3/3)
1986 Jack Nicklaus (18/18) Raymond Floyd (4/4) Greg Norman (1/2) Bob Tway
1985 Bernhard Langer (1/2) Andy North (2/2) Sandy Lyle (1/2) Hubert Green (2/2)
1984 Ben Crenshaw (1/2) Fuzzy Zoeller (2/2) Seve Ballesteros (4/5) Lee Trevino (6/6)
1983 Seve Ballesteros (3/5) Larry Nelson (2/3) Tom Watson (8/8) Hal Sutton
1982 Craig Stadler Tom Watson (6/8) Tom Watson (7/8) Raymond Floyd (3/4)
1981 Tom Watson (5/8) David Graham (2/2) Bill Rogers Larry Nelson (1/3)
1980 Seve Ballesteros (2/5) Jack Nicklaus (16/18) Tom Watson (4/8) Jack Nicklaus (17/18)
1979 Fuzzy Zoeller (1/2) Hale Irwin (2/3) Seve Ballesteros (1/5) David Graham (1/2)
1978 Gary Player (9/9) Andy North (1/2) Jack Nicklaus (15/18) John Mahaffey
1977 Tom Watson (2/8) Hubert Green (1/2) Tom Watson (3/8) Lanny Wadkins
1976 Raymond Floyd (2/4) Jerry Pate Johnny Miller (2/2) Dave Stockton (2/2)
1975 Jack Nicklaus (13/18) Lou Graham Tom Watson (1/8) Jack Nicklaus (14/18)
1974 Gary Player (7/9) Hale Irwin (1/3) Gary Player (8/9) Lee Trevino (5/6)
1973 Tommy Aaron Johnny Miller (1/2) Tom Weiskopf Jack Nicklaus (12/18)
1972 Jack Nicklaus (10/18) Jack Nicklaus (11/18) Lee Trevino (4/6) Gary Player (6/9)
1971 Charles Coody Lee Trevino (2/6) Lee Trevino (3/6) Jack Nicklaus (9/18)
1970 Billy Casper (3/3) Tony Jacklin (2/2) Jack Nicklaus (8/18) Dave Stockton (1/2)
1969 George Archer Orville Moody Tony Jacklin (1/2) Raymond Floyd (1/4)
1968 Bob Goalby Lee Trevino (1/6) Gary Player (5/9) Julius Boros (3/3)
1967 Gay Brewer Jack Nicklaus (7/18) Roberto DeVicenzo Don January
1966 Jack Nicklaus (5/18) Billy Casper (2/3) Jack Nicklaus (6/18) Al Geiberger
1965 Jack Nicklaus (4/18) Gary Player (4/9) Peter Thomson (5/5) Dave Marr
1964 Arnold Palmer (7/7) Ken Venturi Tony Lema Bobby Nichols
1963 Jack Nicklaus (2/18) Julius Boros (2/3) Bob Charles Jack Nicklaus (3/18)
1962 Arnold Palmer (5/7) Jack Nicklaus (1/18) Arnold Palmer (6/7) Gary Player (3/9)
1961 Gary Player (2/9) Gene Littler Arnold Palmer (4/7) Jerry Barber
1960 Arnold Palmer (2/7) Arnold Palmer (3/7) Kel Nagle Jay Hebert
1959 Art Wall, Jr. Billy Casper (1/3) Gary Player (1/9) Bob Rosburg
1958 Arnold Palmer (1/7) Tommy Bolt Peter Thomson (4/5) Dow Finsterwald
1957 Doug Ford (2/2) Dick Mayer Bobby Locke (4/4) Lionel Hebert
1956 Jack Burke, Jr. (1/2) Cary Middlecoff (3/3) Peter Thomson (3/5) Jack Burke, Jr. (2/2)
1955 Cary Middlecoff (2/3) Jack Fleck Peter Thomson (2/5) Doug Ford (1/2)
1954 Sam Snead (7/7) Ed Furgol Peter Thomson (1/5) Chick Harbert
1953 Ben Hogan (7/9) Ben Hogan (8/9) Ben Hogan (9/9) Walter Burkemo
1952 Sam Snead (6/7) Julius Boros (1/3) Bobby Locke (3/4) Jim Turnesa
1951 Ben Hogan (5/9) Ben Hogan (6/9) Max Faulkner Sam Snead (5/7)
1950 Jimmy Demaret (3/3) Ben Hogan (4/9) Bobby Locke (2/4) Chandler Harper
1949 Sam Snead (3/7) Cary Middlecoff (1/3) Bobby Locke (1/4) Sam Snead (4/7)
1948 Claude Harmon Ben Hogan (3/9) Henry Cotton (3/3) Ben Hogan (2/9)
1947 Jimmy Demaret (2/3) Lew Worsham Fred Daly Jim Ferrier
1946 Herman Keiser Lloyd Mangrum Sam Snead (2/7) Ben Hogan (1/9)
1945 Not held due to World War II Not held due to World War II Not held due to World War II Byron Nelson (5/5)
1944 Bob Hamilton
1943 Not held due to World War II
1942 Byron Nelson (4/5) Sam Snead (1/7)
1941 Craig Wood (1/2) Craig Wood (2/2) Vic Ghezzi
1940 Jimmy Demaret (1/3) Lawson Little Byron Nelson (3/5)
1939 Ralph Guldahl (3/3) Byron Nelson (2/5) Dick Burton Henry Picard (2/2)
1938 Henry Picard (1/2) Ralph Guldahl (2/3) Reg Whitcombe Paul Runyan (2/2)
1937 Byron Nelson (1/5) Ralph Guldahl (1/3) Henry Cotton (2/3) Denny Shute (3/3)
1936 Horton Smith (2/2) Tony Manero Alf Padgham Denny Shute (2/3)
1935 Gene Sarazen (7/7) Sam Parks, Jr. Alf Perry Johnny Revolta
1934 Horton Smith (1/2) Olin Dutra (2/2) Henry Cotton (1/3) Paul Runyan (1/2)
1933 Not yet founded Johnny Goodman Denny Shute (1/3) Gene Sarazen (6/7)
1932 Gene Sarazen (5/7) Gene Sarazen (4/7) Olin Dutra (1/2)
1931 Billy Burke Tommy Armour (3/3)** Tom Creavy
1930 Bobby Jones (7/7) Bobby Jones (6/7) Tommy Armour (2/3)**
1929 Bobby Jones (5/7) Walter Hagen (11/11) Leo Diegel (2/2)
1928 Johnny Farrell Walter Hagen (10/11) Leo Diegel (1/2)
1927 Tommy Armour (1/3)** Bobby Jones (4/7) Walter Hagen (9/11)
1926 Bobby Jones (3/7) Bobby Jones (2/7) Walter Hagen (8/11)
1925 Willie MacFarlane Jim Barnes (4/4) Walter Hagen (7/11)
1924 Cyril Walker Walter Hagen (5/11) Walter Hagen (6/11)
1923 Bobby Jones (1/7) Arthur Havers Gene Sarazen (3/7)
1922 Gene Sarazen (1/7) Walter Hagen (4/11) Gene Sarazen (2/7)
1921 Jim Barnes (3/4) Jock Hutchison (2/2)* Walter Hagen (3/11)
1920 Ted Ray (2/2) George Duncan Jock Hutchison (1/2)*
1919 Walter Hagen (2/11) Not held due to World War I Jim Barnes (2/4)
1918 Not held due to World War I Not held due to World War I
1916 Chick Evans Jim Barnes (1/4)
1915 Jerome Travers Not yet founded
1914 Walter Hagen (1/11) Harry Vardon (7/7)
1913 Francis Ouimet John Henry Taylor (5/5)
1912 John McDermott (2/2) Ted Ray (1/2)
1911 John McDermott (1/2) Harry Vardon (6/7)
1910 Alex Smith (2/2) James Braid (5/5)
1909 George Sargent John Henry Taylor (4/5)
1908 Fred McLeod James Braid (4/5)
1907 Alec Ross Arnaud Massy
1906 Alex Smith (1/2) James Braid (3/5)
1905 Willie Anderson (4/4) James Braid (2/5)
1904 Willie Anderson (3/4) Jack White
1903 Willie Anderson (2/4) Harry Vardon (5/7)
1902 Laurie Auchterlonie Sandy Herd
1901 Willie Anderson (1/4) James Braid (1/5)
1900 Harry Vardon (4/7) John Henry Taylor (3/5)
1899 Willie Smith Harry Vardon (3/7)
1898 Fred Herd Harry Vardon (2/7)
1897 Joe Lloyd Harold Hilton (2/2)
1896 James Foulis Harry Vardon (1/7)
1895 Horace Rawlins John Henry Taylor (2/5)
1894 Not yet founded John Henry Taylor (1/5)
1893 Willie Auchterlonie
1892 Harold Hilton (1/2)
1891 Hugh Kirkaldy
1890 John Ball, Jnr
1889 Willie Park, Jr. (2/2)
1888 Jack Burns
1887 Willie Park, Jr. (1/2)
1886 David Brown
1885 Bob Martin (2/2)
1884 Jack Simpson
1883 Willie Fernie
1882 Bob Ferguson (3/3)
1881 Bob Ferguson (2/3)
1880 Bob Ferguson (1/3)
1879 Jamie Anderson (3/3)
1878 Jamie Anderson (2/3)
1877 Jamie Anderson (1/3)
1876 Bob Martin (1/2)
1875 Willie Park, Sr. (4/4)
1874 Mungo Park
1873 Tom Kidd
1872 Young Tom Morris (4/4)
1871 Not played
1870 Young Tom Morris (3/4)
1869 Young Tom Morris (2/4)
1868 Young Tom Morris (1/4)
1867 Old Tom Morris (4/4)
1866 Willie Park, Sr. (3/4)
1865 Andrew Strath
1864 Old Tom Morris (3/4)
1863 Willie Park, Sr. (2/4)
1862 Old Tom Morris (2/4)
1861 Old Tom Morris (1/4)
1860 Willie Park, Sr. (1/4)
Year Masters Tournament U.S. Open The Open Championship PGA Championship
Total 83 119 148 101

Jock Hutchison was born in Scotland, however on April 1, 1920 he was naturalized as U.S. citizen. His 2 majors are counted to U.S. regarding the 'wins and champions per nationality' accumulation.

** Tommy Armour was born in Scotland and became U.S. citizen thus his wins are listed under the U.S..

Major champions by nationality

The table below shows the number of major championships won by golfers from various countries. Tallies are also shown for major wins by golfers from Europe and from the "Rest of the World" (RoW), i.e. the world excluding Europe and the United States. The United States plays Europe in the Ryder Cup and an International Team representing the Rest of the World in the Presidents Cup. The table is complete through the 2019 Open. Since the establishment of The Masters in 1934, an American has won at least one major every year, with the exception of 1994.


Scoring records

Scoring records - aggregate

The aggregate scoring records for each major are tabulated below, listed in order of when the majors are scheduled annually.

DateTournamentPlayerCountryRoundsScoreTo par
Apr 13, 1997Masters TournamentTiger Woods United States70-66-65-69270−18
Apr 12, 2015Jordan Spieth United States64-66-70-70
Aug 12, 2018PGA ChampionshipBrooks Koepka United States69-63-66-66264−16
Jun 19, 2011U.S. OpenRory McIlroy Northern Ireland65-66-68-69268−16
Jul 17, 2016The Open ChampionshipHenrik Stenson Sweden68-65-68-63264−20

Scoring records - to par

The scoring records to par for each major are tabulated below, listed in order of when the majors are scheduled annually.

DateTournamentPlayerCountryRoundsScoreTo par
Apr 13, 1997Masters TournamentTiger Woods United States70-66-65-69270−18
Apr 12, 2015Jordan Spieth United States64-66-70-70270
Aug 16, 2015PGA ChampionshipJason Day Australia68-67-66-67268−20
Jun 19, 2011U.S. OpenRory McIlroy Northern Ireland65-66-68-69268−16
Jun 18, 2017Brooks Koepka United States67-70-68-67272
Jul 17, 2016The Open ChampionshipHenrik Stenson Sweden68-65-68-63264−20

Single round records

The record for a single round in a major championship is 62 which was recorded by South African golfer Branden Grace in the third round of the 2017 Open Championship.

'Player of the Year' in major championships

There is no official award presented to the player with the best overall record in the four majors, although the PGA's Player of the Year system favors performances in the major championships. Since 1984, world ranking points have been assigned to finishes in the majors, which has allowed a calculation of which player has earned the most ranking points in majors in a season – in almost every year since, one of the year's major winners has either won two of them, or has been the only player to win one and record a high finish in another (like Justin Leonard in 1997, David Duval in 2001, Lucas Glover in 2009 or Dustin Johnson in 2016), enough to finish top of such a merit table in those years. The single exception was Nick Faldo in 1988, whose finishes of 2nd, 3rd and 4th earned him more world ranking points than any of that year's champions achieved during the season.

Tables are occasionally constructed for interest showing the overall scoring records for those players who have completed all 288 holes in the majors during a season. In the 1970s, Jack Nicklaus led such a table in 1970–73, 1975 and 1979, with Gary Player leading in 1974, Raymond Floyd in 1976, and Tom Watson in 1977 and 1978. In the 1980s a notable leader was in 1987, when Ben Crenshaw was top of this compilation after finishing 4th, 4th, 4th and 7th in the four majors. In total Crenshaw took 1,140 strokes, only 12 more than the sum total of the four respective champions' scores of 1,128. Recent 'winners' of this accolade are Pádraig Harrington in 2008, Ross Fisher in 2009, Phil Mickelson in 2010, Charl Schwartzel in 2011, and Adam Scott in 2012. In 2013, Scott and fellow Australian Jason Day tied for this accolade with a cumulative score of +2. Rickie Fowler led in 2014 with −32 after top-five finishes in all four tournaments, while in 2015 Jordan Spieth led the standings by achieving the lowest all-time cumulative score in a year of −54, one shot better than the cumulative score of Tiger Woods in 2000. In 2016, Jason Day again led with −9, achieved despite not winning any of the major tournaments during the year. In 2017, Brooks Koepka topped the list with a cumulative scored of −21, one shot better than Matt Kuchar and Hideki Matsuyama. In 2018, Justin Rose had the best cumulative score of −12, one shot better than 2014 list leader Rickie Fowler. In 2019, Koepka topped the list for the second time in three years with a dominant cumulative score of −36, 22 shots better than his compatriots Dustin Johnson and Xander Schauffele who were tied in second.

Consecutive victories at a major championship

Nationality Player Major # Years
 ScotlandTom Morris, Jr.The Open Championship41868, 1869, 1870, 1872[a]
 United StatesWalter HagenPGA Championship41924, 1925, 1926, 1927
 ScotlandJamie AndersonThe Open Championship31877, 1878, 1879
 ScotlandBob FergusonThe Open Championship31880, 1881, 1882
 ScotlandWillie AndersonU.S. Open31903, 1904, 1905
 AustraliaPeter ThomsonThe Open Championship31954, 1955, 1956
 ScotlandTom Morris, Sr.The Open Championship21861, 1862
 JerseyHarry VardonThe Open Championship21898, 1899
 ScotlandJames BraidThe Open Championship21905, 1906
 EnglandJohn Henry TaylorThe Open Championship21894, 1895
 United StatesJohn McDermottU.S. Open21911, 1912
 EnglandJim BarnesPGA Championship21916, 1919[a]
 United StatesGene SarazenPGA Championship21922, 1923
 United StatesBobby JonesThe Open Championship21926, 1927
 United StatesWalter HagenThe Open Championship21928, 1929
 United StatesLeo DiegelPGA Championship21928, 1929
 United StatesBobby JonesU.S. Open21929, 1930
 United StatesDenny ShutePGA Championship21936, 1937
 United StatesRalph GuldahlU.S. Open21937, 1938
 South AfricaBobby LockeThe Open Championship21949, 1950
 United StatesBen HoganU.S. Open21950, 1951
 United StatesArnold PalmerThe Open Championship21961, 1962
 United StatesJack NicklausMasters Tournament21965, 1966
 United StatesLee TrevinoThe Open Championship21971, 1972
 United StatesTom WatsonThe Open Championship21982, 1983
 United StatesCurtis StrangeU.S. Open21988, 1989
 EnglandNick FaldoMasters Tournament21989, 1990
 United StatesTiger WoodsPGA Championship21999, 2000
 United StatesTiger WoodsMasters Tournament22001, 2002
 United StatesTiger WoodsThe Open Championship22005, 2006
 United StatesTiger WoodsPGA Championship (2)22006, 2007
 IrelandPádraig HarringtonThe Open Championship22007, 2008
 United StatesBrooks KoepkaU.S. Open22017, 2018
 United StatesBrooks KoepkaPGA Championship22018, 2019

a These are consecutive because no tournaments were played in between at The Open Championship in 1871 or at the PGA Championship in 1917 and 1918.

Wire-to-wire major victories

Players who have led or been tied for the lead after each round of a major.

Top ten finishes in all four modern majors in one season

It was rare, before the early 1960s, for the leading players from around the world to have the opportunity to compete in all four of the 'modern' majors in one season, because of the different qualifying criteria used in each at the time, the costs of traveling to compete (in an era when tournament prize money was very low, and only the champion himself would earn the chance of ongoing endorsements), and on occasion even the conflicting scheduling of the Open and PGA Championships. In 1937, the U.S. Ryder Cup side all competed in The Open Championship, but of those who finished in the top ten of that event, only Ed Dudley could claim a "top ten" finish in all four of the majors in 1937, if his defeat in the last-16 round of that year's PGA Championship (then at matchplay) was considered a "joint 9th" position.

Following 1960, when Arnold Palmer's narrowly failed bid to add the Open Championship to his Masters and U.S. Open titles (and thus emulate Hogan's 1953 "triple crown") helped to establish the concept of the modern professional "Grand Slam", it has become commonplace for the leading players to be invited to, and indeed compete in, all four majors each year. Even so, those who have recorded top-ten finishes in all four, in a single year, remains a small and select group.

Three majors won in calendar year that the top ten was completed  #
Two majors won in calendar year that the top ten was completed  
One major won in calendar year that the top ten was completed  
No majors won in calendar year that the top ten was completed  ^
Never won a regular tour major championship in his career  *
Nationality Player Year Wins Major championship results Lowest
Masters U.S. Open Open Ch. PGA Ch.
 United StatesEd Dudley  *193703rd5th6thR16R16
 United StatesArnold Palmer  19602112ndT7T7
 South AfricaGary Player  ^19630T5T8T7T8T8
 United StatesArnold Palmer (2)  ^19660T42ndT8T6T8
 United StatesDoug Sanders  *19660T4T8T2T6T8
 United StatesMiller Barber  *196907thT610thT510th
 United StatesJack Nicklaus  19711T22ndT51T5
 United StatesJack Nicklaus (2)  19731T3T44th1T4
 United StatesJack Nicklaus (3)  ^19740T4T103rd2ndT10
 South AfricaGary Player (2)  197421T817thT8
 United StatesHale Irwin  ^19750T4T3T9T5T9
 United StatesJack Nicklaus (4)  197521T7T31T7
 United StatesTom Watson  19751T8T919thT9
 United StatesJack Nicklaus (5)  ^197702ndT102nd3rdT10
 United StatesTom Watson (2)  197721T71T6T7
 United StatesTom Watson (3)  19822T511T9T9
 United StatesBen Crenshaw  ^19870T4T4T4T7T7
 United StatesTiger Woods  #200035th1115th
 SpainSergio García  ^200208th4thT810th10th
 South AfricaErnie Els  ^200402ndT92ndT4T9
 United StatesPhil Mickelson  2004112nd3rdT6T6
 FijiVijay Singh  ^20050T5T6T5T10T10
 United StatesTiger Woods (2)  2005212nd1T4T4
 United StatesRickie Fowler  *20140T5T2T2T3T5
 United StatesJordan Spieth  2015211T42ndT4
 United StatesBrooks Koepka  20191T22ndT41T4

On 13 of the 26 occasions the feat has been achieved, the player in question did not win a major that year – indeed, three of the players (Dudley, Sanders and Barber) failed to win a major championship in their careers (although Barber would go on to win five senior majors), and Fowler has also yet to win one.

Multiple major victories in a calendar year


  • 1930: Bobby Jones; The Open Championship, U.S. Open, U.S. Amateur Championship, The Amateur Championship


  • 1953: Ben Hogan; Masters Tournament, U.S. Open, and The Open Championship; he was unable to play in both the Open Championship and the PGA Championship because the dates effectively overlapped.
  • 2000: Tiger Woods; U.S. Open, The Open Championship, and PGA Championship


Masters and U.S. Open

Masters and Open Championship

Masters and PGA Championship

  • 1949: Sam Snead
  • 1956: Jack Burke, Jr
  • 1963: Jack Nicklaus
  • 1975: Jack Nicklaus

U.S. Open and Open Championship

U.S. Open and PGA Championship

  • 1922: Gene Sarazen
  • 1948: Ben Hogan
  • 1980: Jack Nicklaus
  • 2018: Brooks Koepka

Open Championship and PGA Championship

Consecutive major victories (including over multiple years)


  • 1868–72: Young Tom Morris 1868 Open, 1869 Open, 1870 Open, 1872 Open (No Open Championship played in 1871)
  • 1930: Bobby Jones 1930 Amateur, 1930 Open, 1930 U.S. Open, 1930 U.S. Amateur
  • 2000–01: Tiger Woods 2000 U.S. Open, 2000 Open, 2000 PGA, 2001 Masters



Note: The order in which the majors were contested varied between 1895 and 1953. Prior to 1916, the PGA Championship did not exist; Prior to 1934, the Masters did not exist. From 1954 through 2018, the order of the majors was Masters, U.S. Open, Open Championship, PGA except in 1971, when the PGA was played before the Masters. From 2019, the order will be Masters, PGA, U.S. Open, Open Championship.

  • 1861–62: Old Tom Morris 1861 Open, 1862 Open
  • 1894–95: J.H. Taylor 1894 Open, 1895 Open
  • 1920–21: Jock Hutchison 1920 PGA, 1921 Open (The Open Championship was the first major contested in 1921)
  • 1921–22: Walter Hagen 1921 PGA, 1922 Open (The Open Championship was the first major contested in 1922)
  • 1922: Gene Sarazen 1922 U.S. Open, 1922 PGA
  • 1924: Walter Hagen 1924 Open, 1924 PGA
  • 1926: Bobby Jones 1926 Open, 1926 U.S. Open (The Open Championship was played before the U.S. Open in 1926)
  • 1927–28: Walter Hagen 1927 PGA, 1928 Open (The Open Championship was the first major contested in 1928)
  • 1930–31: Tommy Armour 1930 PGA, 1931 Open (The Open Championship was the first major contested in 1931)
  • 1932: Gene Sarazen 1932 Open, 1932 U.S. Open (The Open Championship was the first major contested in 1932, followed by the U.S. Open)
  • 1941: Craig Wood 1941 Masters, 1941 U.S. Open
  • 1948: Ben Hogan 1948 PGA, 1948 U.S. Open (The PGA was played between the Masters and U.S. Open in 1948)
  • 1949: Sam Snead 1949 Masters, 1949 PGA (As in 1948, the 1949 PGA was played between the Masters and U.S. Open)
  • 1951: Ben Hogan 1951 Masters, 1951 U.S. Open
  • 1953: Ben Hogan; 1953 Masters, 1953 U.S. Open (The 1953 Open Championship, also won by Hogan, was actually concluded only 3 days after 1953 PGA; he chose not to play in the PGA because of the strain on his legs, and the conflict with the Open championship.)
  • 1960: Arnold Palmer 1960 Masters, 1960 U.S. Open
  • 1971: Lee Trevino 1971 U.S. Open, 1971 Open
  • 1972: Jack Nicklaus 1972 Masters, 1972 U.S. Open (The 1971 PGA, also won by Nicklaus, was not consecutive due to being played prior to the Masters in 1971)
  • 1982: Tom Watson 1982 U.S. Open, 1982 Open
  • 1994: Nick Price 1994 Open, 1994 PGA
  • 2002: Tiger Woods 2002 Masters, 2002 U.S. Open
  • 2005–06: Phil Mickelson 2005 PGA, 2006 Masters
  • 2006: Tiger Woods 2006 Open, 2006 PGA
  • 2008: Pádraig Harrington 2008 Open, 2008 PGA
  • 2014: Rory McIlroy 2014 Open, 2014 PGA
  • 2015: Jordan Spieth 2015 Masters, 2015 U.S. Open

Most runner-up finishes in major championships

For the purposes of this section a runner-up is defined as someone who either (i) tied for the lead after 72 holes (or 36 holes in the case of the early championships) but lost the playoff or (ii) finished alone or in a tie for second place. In a few instances players have been involved in a playoff for the win or for second place prize money and have ended up taking the third prize (e.g. 1870 Open Championship, 1966 Masters Tournament). For match play PGA Championships up to 1957 the runner-up is the losing finalist.

Along with his record 18 major victories, Jack Nicklaus also holds the record for most runner-up finishes in major championships, with 19, including a record 7 at the Open Championship. He is also the only golfer with multiple runner-up finishes in all four majors. Phil Mickelson has the second most with 11 runner-up finishes after the 2016 Open Championship, which includes a record 6 runner-up finishes at the U.S. Open, the one major he has never won. Arnold Palmer had 10 second places, including three in the major he never won, the PGA Championship. There have been three golfers with 8 runner-up finishes – Sam Snead, Greg Norman and Tom Watson. Norman shares the distinction of having lost playoffs in each of the four majors with Craig Wood (who lost the 1934 PGA final – at match play – on the second extra hole).

Players with runner-up finishes in all four majors

U.S. OpenOpen
Jack Nicklaus444719
Phil Mickelson126211
Arnold Palmer234110
Tom Watson31228
Greg Norman32218
Craig Wood21115
Louis Oosthuizen11114
Dustin Johnson11114

Players with most runner-up finishes but no major victories

a Crampton was second to Jack Nicklaus on each occasion.

Most major championship appearances (100 major club)

164Jack Nicklaus United States181957–2005
150Gary Player South Africa91956–2009
145Tom Watson United States81970–2016
142Arnold Palmer United States71953–2004
127Raymond Floyd United States41963–2009
118Sam Snead United States71937–1983
117Ben Crenshaw United States21970–2015
115Gene Sarazen United States71920–1976
110Mark O'Meara United States21980–2018
109Tom Kite United States11970–2004
108Phil Mickelson United States51990–2019
107Bernhard Langer Germany21976–2019
104Ernie Els South Africa41989–2019
100Nick Faldo England61976–2015
100Davis Love III United States11986–2018
100Fred Couples United States11979–2019

Jay Haas, who played 87 majors, holds the record for the most major championship appearances without winning. Lee Westwood, with 82 starts, has the second most.[30]

See also


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  4. Burke, Monte (May 9, 2012). "The Players Championship Is Not The "5th Major," But It's Still A Great Tournament". Forbes. Retrieved June 27, 2013.
  5. Cronin, Tim. "Nelson's Magnificent Seven" (PDF). Chicago District Golf Association. Retrieved August 14, 2013.
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  7. Harig, Bob (April 7, 2008). "Golf's professional Grand Slam has developed over time". ESPN. Retrieved April 7, 2008.
  8. Herrington, Ryan (August 7, 2017). "PGA Championship officially moving to May". Golf Digest. Retrieved August 9, 2017.
  9. Shedloski, Dave (August 7, 2017). "The PGA Championship is moving to May and players are on board". Golf Digest. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
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  11. "Open Championship: Sky wins rights; BBC to show highlights". BBC Sport. February 3, 2015. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
  12. Murray, Ewan (July 13, 2017). "Sky faces golf embarrassment after losing rights to next month's US PGA". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  13. "BBC to broadcast live coverage of US PGA Championship". BBC Sport. July 27, 2017. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  14. "Golf fans throughout UK to receive unprecedented live coverage of the 2017 PGA Championship". PGA of America. July 31, 2017. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  15. MacInnes, Paul (August 13, 2018). "Eleven Sports viewers miss Brooks Koepka win US PGA Championship". The Guardian. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  16. Sandomir, Richard (October 11, 2007). "ESPN Replaces USA as Early-Round Home of the Masters". The New York Times. Retrieved April 8, 2017.
  17. "NBC gets U.S. Open golf". The New York Times. June 2, 1994. Retrieved July 23, 2012.
  18. Stewart, Larry (July 21, 1995). "ABC getting a major chance with British Open coverage". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 23, 2012.
  19. Ourand, John; Lombardo, John (June 8, 2015). "NBC, Golf Channel ending ABC/ESPN British Open reign". Sports Business Journal. Retrieved June 8, 2015.
  20. "Timing of USGA-Fox announcement rankles many". Golf Channel. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
  21. Ourand, John; Lombardo, John (October 10, 2018). "PGA Championship Leaving TNT For ESPN In '20, Re-Ups With CBS". Sports Business Daily. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  22. Harig, Bob (May 25, 2017). "Quick 9: With new putter, Spieth hopes to rebound at Colonial". ESPN. Retrieved May 25, 2017.
  23. "2018 to Bring New Playoff Format for US Open Championships". USGA. February 26, 2018. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  24. Collins, Michael (July 17, 2016). "Michael Collins Round 4 Open grades". Retrieved July 17, 2016. I noticed no one complaining about how the course was too easy or too hard. I couldn't find one bad thing on social media about the scores being too low even though 21 players finished at par or better. You know why? Because the R&A allowed Royal Troon to be itself and let whatever was going to happen, score-wise, happen.
  25. Harig, Bob (July 17, 2018). "Tiger Woods to battle past struggles with slow greens at The Open". Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  26. "Masters – Past Winners & Results". The Masters. Archived from the original on October 12, 2013. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
  27. "Past Winners of the PGA Championship". PGA of America. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
  28. "U.S. Open – History". USGA. Archived from the original on June 29, 2013. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
  29. "Open Champions". The Open Championship. Archived from the original on November 26, 2011. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
  30. "Masters 2017: Key numbers to know ahead of Sunday's final round". PGA of America. April 9, 2017. Retrieved April 9, 2017.
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