Famous Golfers

Golf is a sport that has been played since the Middle Ages. It has greatly evolved over the years. The sport became internationally popular toward the end of the 19th century. There have been many talented golfers throughout the recorded history of the golf. Below is a list of some of the greatest golfers of all time listed by date of birth.

Famous Golfers

Harry Vardon Walter Hagen Bobby Jones
Harry Vardon (1870-1937)
Nationality: British
Known For: Won the British Open 6 times
Harry Vardon won seven major championships during his golf career and at least 17 professional tournaments in total. Interestingly, he introduced the idea of playing in knickerbockers, making him the first professional golfer to do so.
Walter Hagen (1892-1969)
Nationality: American>
Known For: Won 11 professional majors
Walter Hagen’s eleven professional major wins puts him in third behind Tiger Woods (14) and Jack Nicklaus (18). He was the first American to win at the British Open and he has twice won at the U.S. Open. He is tied for first for winning the PGA Championship five times.
NameBobby Jones (1902-1971)
Nationality: American
Known For: Being the most successful amateur golfer of all time
Although never a professional golfer, Bobby Jones competed against and beat some of the top pro golfers of his time. Jones completed the “Grand Slam” of golf all in one year. He won 13 majors in his lifetime. He was also the co-founder of the Masters Tournament.
Ben Hogan
Gene Sarazen (1902-1999)
Nationality: American
Known For: Won all of the major championships during his career
Sarazen was a top player in the world throughout the 1920’s and 1930’s. He is one of the group of 5 golfers who have won all of the major championships during their career.
Babe Zaharias (1911-1956)
Nationality: American
Known For: First American female golf celebrity
Babe started her golfing career when she was 24 years old. She was the first woman to compete in a men’s PGA tournament. She is considered the first female golf celebrity in America. She was a founding member of the LPGA.
Ben Hogan (1912-1997)
Nationality: American
Known For: Won all 4 major championships
Ben Hogan is widely considered one of the best golfers in history. He also made a huge impact on golf swing mechanics during his time. He had 9 professional major champtionships which puts him in fourth place for all time major champtionships won.
Sam-Snead Byron-Nelson
Sam Snead (1912-2002)
Nationality: American
Known For: A top ranked player in the world for nearly 40 years
During his career, Sam Snead won a record breaking 82 PGA Tour tournaments. Seven of these victories were majors. The only major tournament that he did not win was the U.S. Open. He was often admired for having what many believed to be the “perfect swing.”
Byron Nelson (1912-2006)
Nationality: American
Known For: Won eleven tournaments in a row
Byron Nelson had a relatively short career, but in that time span he managed to win many tournaments. In 1945 alone he won 18. He was the first golfer to have a PGA Tour even named after him. He was also the recipient of the Bob Jones Award
Patty Berg (1918-2006)
Nationality: American
Known For: Record for most major titles won
Batty Berg was a founding member of the Ladies Professional Golf Association. She is an inductee of the World Golf Hall of Fame. She has won 15 major titles and won 29 amateur titles before going pro.
Athea-Gibson Arnold-Palmer
Charlie Sifford (1922-present)
Nationality: American
Known For: African-American golfer who was a big part of desegregating the PGA
Charlie Sifford overcame racist attitudes in amateur and professional golf to become a successful pro golfer. He had two PGA tour wins and several other important victories throughout his career.
Athea Gibson (1927-2003)
Nationality: American
Known For: First African-American woman to play in the LPGA
Athea Gibson broke through race barriers in both golf and tennis. She was the first African American to play on the pro tour. She was even more talented in tennis, having been the first African American to play at Wimbledon.
Arnold Palmer (1929-present)
Nationality: American
Known For: First golfer to win the Masters Tournament 4 times
Nicknamed “The King,” Arnold Palmer is widely considered one of the best golfers in the history of the PGA. He was the original superstar in the beginning of the sport’s television age. He has been awarded the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award and is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Gary-Player Chi-Chi-Rodriguez
Gary Player (1935-present)
Nationality: South African
Known For: Third ever player to win the “grand slam of golf”
Gary Player won 9 major championships on the PGA Tour and 6 Champions Tour major championships. He is also a world famous golf course designer and the author of 36 books about the sport of golf.
Chi Chi Rodriguez (1935-present)
Nationality: Puerto Rican
Known For: First Puerto Rican in the World Golf Hall of Fame
Juan Antonio “Chi Chi” Rodriguez has won many awards througout his golfing career. These include the Hispanic Recognition Award, the Bob Jones Award and the Old Tom Morris Award.
Mickey Wright (1935-present)
Nationality: American
Known For: Won 82 LPGA tournaments in her career
Wright joined the LPGA Tour in 1954. She was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame just 10 years later in 1964. She has won thirteen major championships in her lifetime.
Jack-Nicklaus
Lee Trevino (1939-present)
Nationality: Mexican American
Known For: Winner of 6 major championships
Lee Trevino is considered an icon by many Mexican Americans. He has won the U.S. Open, the PGA Championship and The Open Championship each two times. He is only the fourth person to have done this.
Jack Nicklaus (1940-present)
Nationality: American
Known For: Won the PGA Championship 5 times and the U.S. Open 4 times
Jack Nicklaus is nicknamed “The Golden Bear” because of his golden blonde hair and heavier-set body type. He is considered by most to be the most successful golfer in history. He has 18 major champtionship wins, 19 second place finishes and has placed 3rd nine times.
Tom Watson (1949-present)
Nationality: American
Known For: Ranked #1 in the world for 5 years
Watson was consistantly one of the top players in the world during the 1970’s and 1980’s. He won 8 major championships and was on top of the PGA Tour earnings list 5 times. The sole major championship that he has yet to win is the PGA Champtionship.
Greg-Norman Payne-Stewart
Greg Norman (1955-present)
Nationality: Austrailian
Known For: Had over 90 professional victories
Greg Norman was ranked the world’s number one golfer for 331 weeks during the 1980’s and 1990’s. He is nicknamed “The Great White Shark” due to his large stature, blonde hair and aggressive style of play.
Betsy King (1955-present)
Nationality: American
Known For: 6 major championship wins
Betsy King has won 34 LPGA tournaments; all since 1984. In 1984 she was LPGA Tour Player of the Year for having 21 top 10 finishes. During the time span from 1984 to 1989 King won 20 LPGA events, which was more than any other player on the planet.
Payne Stewart (1957-1999)
Nationality: American
Known For: Won 11 PGA Tour tournaments
Stewart won three major championships, the last one that he was victorioius in was just months before the fatal plane crash that ended his life. Payne Stewart was known as one of the most consistant golfers of his time.
Nick-Faldo
Photo by: SN#1, CC
Juli-Inkster
Photo by: Wojciech Migda, CC
Darren Clarke
Photo by: Paddy Briggs, CC
Nick Faldo (1957-present)
Nationality: English
Known For: Winner of 6 major championships
Faldo has held the number one world ranking for 98 weeks during his career. He has won 3 Open Championships and 3 Masters. He is now a television announcer for many golf championships.
Juli Inkster (1960-present)
Nationality: American
Known For: Currently the 2nd most winning active player on the LPGA
Juli Inkster has been a professional golfer for over 29 years. She has 31 professional tournament wins under her belt as well as over $13 million in career winnings and endorsements.
Darren Clarke (1968-present)
Nationality: Irish
Known For: Has been victorious in 22 tournaments
Clarke has played on the PGA, Sunshine, Japan and European Tours. In 2011 he won the Open Champtionship that was held at Royal St. George. Clarke has been victorious in two World Golf Championships and ranked amongst the top ten golfers in the world for 43 weeks.
Phil-Mickelson
Photo by: Jim Elper, CC
Annika-Sorenstam
Photo by: AAAA0046, CC
Padraig-Harrington
Photo by: SN#1, CC
Phil Mickelson (1970-present)
Nationality: American
Known For: Has more than 40 tournament wins in his career
Phil Mickelson has won one PGA Championship and three Masters titles. He has finished in 2nd place in the U.S. Open for a record of 6 times. Several times he has reached the #2 world ranking spot. Interestingly, he is only left-handed while playing golf.
Annika Sorenstam (1971-present)
Nationality: Swedish
Known For: Won ninety international tournaments
Annika Sorenstam is considered one of the best female golfers ever to play the sport. She has the most wins of any professional female golfer of all time. She has won 10 majors as well as 18 international tournaments.
Padraig Harrington (1971-present)
Nationality: Irish
Known For: He has been victorious in 3 major championships
Harrington plays in both the PGA Tour and European Tour. He won the Open Championship in back to back years (2007 and 2008) as well as the PGA Championship in 2008.
Lee-Westwood
Photo by: Eugene Goh, CC
Karrie-Web
Photo by: Wojciech Migda, CC
Tiger-Woods
Photo by: Paddy Briggs, CC
Lee Westwood (1973-present)
Nationality: English
Known For: Won in several tournaments across the globe
Lee Westwood was player of the year in the PGA in 1998, 2000 and 2009. Westwood represented Europe in the Ryder Cup for the past eight years. In 2010 he ousted Tiger Woods from his world’s number one golfer position for 22 weeks.
Karrie Webb (1974-present)
Nationality: Austrailian
Known For: Has more wins (39) than any other active LPGA player
Karrie Webb is considered one of the best female golfers of all time and the greatest to come from Australia. She has won 39 times on the LPGA Tour and is in the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Tiger Woods (1975-present)
Nationality: American
Known For: First African-American and youngest person to win the U.S. Masters
Tiger Woods is known as one of the best golfers of all time. He was the very first person to hold all of the 4 professional championships at once. He was the youngest person, in 2000, to finish a career “Grand Slam.” Tiger was also the youngest person to ever win the Masters championship.
Bubba-Watson
Photo by: Caliban, CC
Rory-McIlroy
Photo by: Ed McDonald, CC
Michelle-Wie
Photo by: Keith Allison, CC
Bubba Watson (1978-present)
Nationality: American
Known For: Won the 2012 Masters Tournament
Bubba Watson is a major champtionship winner who is known for having one of the longest average drives in all of golf at 315.2 yards. He is capable of driving a ball over 350 yards with the ball reaching nearly 200 mph. After winning the 2012 Masters Tournament he was ranked 4th in the world.
Rory Mcilroy (1989-present)
Nationality: Irish
Known For: Won the 2011 U.S. Open and 2012 PGA Championship
Mcilroy is a member the PGA and European Tours. At one point he was a World Number One. Rory has won two major championships. In 2011 he won the U.S. Open while scoring a record 16 under par. In 2012 he won the PGA Championship by a record 8 strokes under par.
Michelle Wie (1989-present)
Nationality: American
Known For: Youngest golfer to win a USGA adult tournament at age 13
Wie qualified for an amateur USGA championship at the record young age of 10. She was also the youngest person to qualify for a LPGA Tour event and the youngest to win the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links. She became a professional when she was just 15.
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