Collectively, the four major tournaments are the highest honors in golf. These are: the Masters Tournament, the U.S. Open, The Open Championship, and the PGA Championship. Our analysis team was going through the major tournament winners and stumbled upon some fascinating facts and patterns that have repeated themselves.
For instance, The grand slam or winning all of these four in a single calendar year is something that has eluded golfers for decades. No one has managed to accomplish this incredible feat. However, some have come close.
Tiger Woods came closest. In 2001 and 2002, he won all the four major tournaments but not in the same calendar year. He is also one of the five golfers to have won the career grand slam. If you’re wondering who the other four are, keep reading.
In this article, we’ll talk about some more intriguing patterns and factoids that will surprise many of you. Here they are.
1. American Monopoly Over The Major Tournaments
Unsurprisingly, Americans comprise a significant chunk of the winner’s pie. Out of 457 major tournaments, 277 have been won by American golfers (more than 60%).
Despite this, Americans didn’t touch any major silverware for the first 50 years after the creation of the first major tournament (The Open Championship). The first American to win a major tournament was John McDermott in 1911 when he won the U.S. Open.
If you look closely at the Masters tournament, you’ll see no other nation except one has managed to cross the double-digit mark. While Americans have won the Masters for a whopping 62 times. Next in line is South Africa with a measly figure of five winners.
The same is the case with the PGA Championship, where Americans have won it 82 times, and no other nation has made it to double digits.
In 1934, the Masters became the most recent tournament to be added to the majors club. Since then, nine times, all the four major tournaments were won by American golfers in a single calendar year.
No other nation has achieved this even once. However, this hasn’t happened for nearly 40 years as it last occurred in 1982. 2017 was the most recent year when it could’ve been the tenth time, but Sergio Garcia won the Masters tournament and spoiled it for Uncle Sam.
2020 is a particular case because American golfers won three of the four major tournaments, but the Open Championship was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic,
Interestingly, there was one year when every major tournament evaded the grasp of American golfers. This was 1994 when not a single major tournament was won by an American and this has happened only once since all the major tournaments were created.
2. Early Scottish Delight
The first fifty years from the creation of the first major tournament (The Open Championship) can be called the Golden Era of Scottish golf. More than 90% of the major tournaments won by Scotsmen are from this period.
It is also worth mentioning that the Open Championship and the U.S. Open were the only two major tournaments at the time and Scotsmen won the bulk of them. In fact, the first 29 Open Championships had Scottish Winners. However, the glory days of Scottish golfers are long gone; the last Scotsman to win a major tournament was Paul Lawrie, who won the Open Championship in 1999.
3. The Fabled Grand Slam
As mentioned above, no one has achieved the grand slam in golf. Tiger Woods came closest by winning the “Tiger Slam,” where he won all three except the Masters in 2000, which he won the next year.
The career grand slam is currently the highest achievement that golfers have achieved until now. Five golfers have done it so far: Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Ben Hogan, and Gene Sarazen (first to do it).
Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus are the only two players who have won the career grand slam three times. Unsurprisingly, these two also lead the major tournament wins tally with 15 and 18 wins, respectively.
Bobby Jones is another legendary golfer who deserves a mention in this article. He famously won The Original Grand Slam which consisted of the US Open, The Open Championship, The Amateur Championship, and the US Amateur Championship. He did so using his famous single-length irons nearly a century ago in 1930. No other golfer has achieved the Original Grand Slam except him.