The Three Best Golfers of All Time
Any definitive list of the best golfers of all time will be up for contention, but two names will always take the top pair of spots – Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. Those two won 32 majors between them, and there’s still some time left for Tiger to add to that total too. The third spot was extremely debatable, but in the end, we opted for Arnold Palmer; simply because of the impact he had on golf’s national and international popularity in the 1940s. Ben Hogan, Sam Snead and Bobby Jones were all among the honourable mentions who could have easily made the list on another day. But we only have room for three here, and so, without further ado, lets get into it.
Oh, and to ward off any controversy, this list is in no particular order.
With 18 major championships and no less than six Masters wins under his belt, the ‘Golden Bear’ Jack Nicklaus is undoubtedly one of golf’s most accomplished and famous names. First turning professional in 1961, when he challenged ‘The King’ Arnold Palmer at the US open, by 1966 he became the first player to win back-to-back Masters trophies. In the same year he also won the Open, becoming the youngest player ever to achieve a grand slam Jack is also The Master’s oldest ever winner, beating Tom Kite and Greg Norman by one stroke each at the 1986 tournament, to win his 18th championship at the age of 46.
The undisputed great of the modern game, no-one came close to challenging Tiger Wood’s dominance between 1997 and 2004, and then again between 2005 and 2010 – after he took time out due to marital issues and back problems. A record-breaking winner Woods has the most consecutive, and most total, weeks at World Number One during his two periods of injury and controversy free play. He is also the youngest player to ever win a career grand slam (a feat he achieved three times) and a PGA player of the year award-winner a record eleven times.
Not without his controversy, Woods is without doubt a hugely recognisable figure around the world who has done a lot to keep the sport in public consciousness. He was one of the highest paid athletes in the world during the 2000s and endorsement deals included his own video-game series.
No list of top golfers would be complete without paying homage to a legendary figure of the sport, in this case – Arnold Palmer. His humble beginnings, all-American good looks and propensity to speak his mind helped popularise the sport amongst working class Americans who may have previously considered golf somewhat elitist. Known as The King during his career, Palmer won seven major titles and was one of the original 13 inductees into the World Golf Hall of Fame. He died in 2016, aged 85, and was reportedly worth around $85 million dollars. The name Arnold Palmer will go down in golfing history, and rightly so. RIP to a legend of the game!