Who Are the Golfers With the Most Majors?

By Ryan Watson

Jack Nicklaus at 1986 Masters

The Masters, PGA Championship, U.S. Open and Open Championship (also known as the British Open) make up golf’s four majors. They are the pinnacles of achievement in the game and are looked at as the defining factors for greatness amongst the best players to ever pick up a golf club. Here is a list of the golfers, past and present, with the most major titles to their names.

Golfers With the Most Major Championship Wins

1. Jack Nicklaus - 18 Major Championships

6 Masters (1963, 1965, 1966, 1972, 1975, 1986)

5 PGA Championships (1963, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1980)

4 U.S. Opens (1962, 1967, 1972, 1980)

3 Open Championships (1966, 1970, 1978)

Jack Nicklaus’ unmatched major championship run spanned from 1962 to 1986 as the “Golden Bear” won major championships in three decades. Jack won multiple majors in a year an incredible four times, doing so in 1963, ’66, ’72 and ’80. He won at least one major in four consecutive years from 1970-1973, and rattled off seven of his 18 major triumphs in a six-year span from 1970-1975. Records are made to be broken, but it’s hard to imagine anybody breaking Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championships.

2. Tiger Woods - 15 Major Championships

Tiger Woods swings at Masters

5 Masters (1997, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2019)

4 PGA Championship (1999, 2000, 2006, 2007)

3 U.S. Opens (2000, 2002, 2008)

3 Open Championships (2000, 2005, 2006)

Despite sitting a few major titles short of Jack Nicklaus, many golf fans and historians alike consider Tiger Woods the best golfer of all time. Tiger absolutely blitzed the Tour by winning 14 of his 15 majors in a span of just 12 years from 1997 - 2008. He became the first golfer of all time to hold all four major championships at one time, what is now referred to as the “Tiger Slam” when he won the PGA Championship, U.S. Open and Open Championship in 2000 and followed it up with a Masters win in early 2001. He won the 2008 U.S. Open on a broken leg and added perhaps the most impressive major championship victory to his resume by winning the 2019 Masters, 22 years after his maiden major win.

3. Walter Hagen - 11 Major Championships

Walter Hagen golf swing

5 PGA Championships (1921, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927)

4 Open Championships (1922, 1924, 1928, 1929)

2 U.S. Opens (1914, 1919)

Walter Hagen won all 11 of his major championships before the fourth major, the Masters, even existed. Hagen’s final major triumph came at the 1929 Open Championship, five years before the first Masters was played. Although he competed in six Masters Tournaments in his career, his best finish was T11 and he was unable to accomplish what is today known as the career grand slam. Hagen did however win four consecutive PGA Championships from 1924-27 and rack up 11 major championships in an era when only three majors were contested each year.

T4. Ben Hogan - 9 Major Championships

Ben Hogan holding golf club

4 U.S. Opens (1948, 1950, 1951, 1953)

2 PGA Championships (1946, 1948)

2 Masters (1951, 1953)

1 Open Championship (1953)

Ben Hogan had an incredible six-year run from 1948-1953, winning all nine of his majors in that span. In 1953 he won three of the year’s four majors, the U.S. Open, Masters and Open Championship, and did not enter the PGA Championship due to issues relating to his serious car crash in 1949. He completed the career grand slam with his 1953 Open Championship win, which proved to be the final major of his career.

T4. Gary Player - 9 Major Championships

Gary Player sitting on golf bag

3 Open Championship (1959, 1968, 1974)

3 Masters (1961, 1974, 1978)

2 PGA Championships (1962, 1972)

1 U.S. Open (1965)

Gary Player won majors in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, amassing nine majors in that span. After winning his first major at the 1959 Open Championship, Player completed the career grand slam in just six years, culminating in the 1965 U.S. Open, the only U.S. Open win of his career. Player’s won both the Open Championship and Masters in 1974 and won his final major in 1978, his third Masters win.

6. Tom Watson - 8 Major Championships

5 Open Championships
2 Masters
1 U.S. Open

T7. Bobby Jones - 7 Major Championships

4 U.S. Opens
3 Open Championships

T7. Gene Sarazen - 7 Major Championships

3 PGA Championships
2 U.S. Opens
1 Open Championship
1 Masters

T7. Sam Snead - 7 Major Championships

3 PGA Championships
3 Masters
1 Open Championship

T7. Arnold Palmer - 7 Major Championships

4 Masters
2 Open Championships
1 U.S. Open

T7. Harry Vardon - 7 Major Championships

6 Open Championships
1 U.S. Open

Rank Golfer Majors
T12 Nick Faldo 6
T12 Lee Trevino 6
T12 Phil Mickelson 6
T15 Seve Ballesteros 5
T15 Byron Nelson 5
T15 Peter Thomson 5
T15 J. Taylor 5
T15 James Braid 5
T20 Raymond Floyd 4
T20 Ernie Els 4
T20 James Barnes 4
T20 Bobby Jones 4
T20 Bobby Locke 4
T20 Rory McIlroy 4
T20 Willie Park 4
T20 Tom Morris, Sr. 4
T20 Tom Morris, Jr. 4
T20 Willie Anderson 4
T20 Brooks Koepka 4
T31 Julius Boros 3
T31 Billy Casper 3
T31 Hale Irwin 3
T31 Cary Middlecoff 3
T31 Larry Nelson 3
T31 Nick Price 3
T31 Payne Stewart 3
T31 Ralph Guldahl 3
T31 Jimmy Demaret 3
T31 Vijay Singh 3
T31 Tommy Armour 3
T31 Henry Cotton 3
T31 Denny Shute 3
T31 Padraig Harrington 3
T31 Robert Ferguson 3
T31 Jamie Anderson 3
T31 Jordan Spieth 3

Career Grand Slams

No one has yet won all four majors in one calendar year, although Tiger Woods coined the "Tiger Slam" by simultaneously holding all four major titles. However, five elite golfers have won each of the majors throughout their careers. This achievement is known as the career grand slam. The following is a list of golfers to win the career grand slam.

Jack Nicklaus (Won each major at least three times)
Tiger Woods (Won each major at least three times)
Ben Hogan
Gary Player
Gene Sarazen

Grand Slam Hopefuls

Three active players have completed three legs of the career grand slam, and need just one more to join the exclusive group of grand slam winners.

Player Major needed
Phil Mickelson U.S. Open
Jordan Spieth PGA Championship
Rory McIlroy The Masters

About the Author

Ryan Watson is a freelance sportswriter and history professor. He has been an avid fan of golf since his father signed him up for golf camp as a young child. Ryan enjoys following the professional game and learning about new equipment and gadgets.