The Best Golfers of All Time and How They Made It

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If you love golf, you’re probably familiar with professionals in the field. 

Each of these individuals have worked from the bottom up to make a name for themselves. It’s more than just an activity, but a serious sport which is adored around the world. Let’s talk about the best golfers of all time, including what awards they won and how they earned their titles.

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Credit: Pixabay, guildrl


The Best Golfers of All Time

Though the list is longer than what we’ve included, we’ve randomly picked professional golfers. Let’s talk about how they made their way to fame and interesting facts about their personal life. Becoming professional is difficult and requires hard work like in any sport or industry.

All of these golfers hired a coach to improve their skills and take golfing from a hobby to a professional career. Unlike other sports, golf doesn’t limit people by their background, status, or even their body type. There’s a stigma that golfing doesn’t require fitness. However, notice how most of the best golfers of all time had to undertake surgery for sporting injuries. Talk about dedication to their craft!

1. Tom Watson

Tom Watson is one of the best golfers of all time. Born in Kansas City in 1949, Tom joined a professional golf association in America after winning in 1974. Since then, he went on to win the Masters in golf twice and joined the Champions Tour in 1999. This year, Tom became the oldest golfer in history to win the pre-Masters Par 3 contest.

His golfing career began when studying Psychology at Stanford University. In his spare time, he took up the hobby and loved it from the first time he hit the ball. It wasn’t until 1971 though that he began building a reputation as a professional golfer who could play successfully under any type of pressure. After graduating, Watson worked with Byron Nelson who became his mentor, and in 1974, helped Watson to compete in his first golfing victory. Since then, Watson won the PGA Tour for six years running and became the best player of his time.

In 1999, Watson played on the Champions Tour and was later voted Player of the Year in 2003. Due to personal situations of a friend diagnosed with a disease, Watson co-founded a personal organization called Driving 4 Life. He donated $1 million of his golfing fund to this organization. During his professional career, he’s become one of the best golfers of all time and won a multitude of awards. These include the British Open in 1982 and 1983. He also won the Masters Tournament in 1981, followed by the British Open award later in both 1975 and 1977.

2. Tiger Woods

It’s hard to talk about the best golfers of all time and not mention Tiger Woods. Born in 1975 in Cypress, California, Woods held a record score at the age of 21, which made him the youngest man to win the U.S Masters at Augusta in 1997. As well as Tom Watson, Woods also studied at Stanford University, and continued golfing in his spare time.

After graduating, he appeared at the British Open for the first time and held a new record of 64. From there, his success blossomed to see him win many more competitions. These included three Open Championships, three U.S. Masters, and four PGA titles.

In 2006, Woods suffered a personal loss of his father who died of prostate cancer. This was a very difficult and traumatic time for Woods, who commented that his dad was his best friend and will always be remembered. Despite this traumatic event, Woods didn’t give up or take a break from golf. As it’s always been his passion, he returned to win more events, which included the British Open and PGA Championship. Woods’s entire career is amazing to witness, and he currently has over 100 awards, of which he stores in his garage.

On March 20, 2018, Forbes ranked Woods number 16 of the world’s highest paid athletes. His success, passion and dedication is amazing considering he’s undergone four back surgeries due to excessive playing. Despite this, he took time off for his health to get back to normal before competing again.

3. Phil Mickelson 

Phil Mickelson is one of the best golfers of all time and was born in San Diego, California in 1970. As a young boy, Mickelson showed a huge interest in golfing and family members weren’t surprised to see him make it professional and create an amazing career in the industry. Close friends and relatives comment that Mickelson grew a passion for golfing before he could walk and talk. His parents, Phil and Mary, talked about a time he told neighbours he was going to run away from home to go to the nearest golf course.

As a teenager, he began an amateur career in golf. Though we say amateur, it’s clear he was destined to become one of the best golfers of all time. In his teenage years, he won 34 San Diego Junior Golf Association competitions. His family supported his passion. Consequently, his mother worked two jobs to help fund his amateur golfing career.

Upon graduating from high school in 1988, Mickelson studied Psychology at Arizona State University. It was during his college years that his golfing career lifted off. He won three championships and three Haskin Awards for being a college golfer. This made history as Mickelson became the first ever collegiate to earn All-American honors.

Mickelson placed second at the 2015 Masters which was the tenth time he’d competed in a major competition. As he’s competitive, he took up a new swing coach late that year to learn new skills and improve his tactics. Even despite surgery for a sports hernia that year, he never gave up and continued being one of the best golfers of all time.

4. Gary Player

Another of the best golfers of all time is Gary Player. Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, on November 1, 1935, Player knew he wanted to become a professional golfer from an early age. As such, he hired a coach to develop his skills and become the best player of all time. His hard work and dedication payed off as he won the U.S. PGA circuit in 1957 multiple times. In addition to this, Player positioned third in the Grand Slam of Golf. His success didn’t stop there though as he won the PGA Tour 24 times, and the Champions Tour 19 times against 163 tournament wins worldwide.

The awards speak for themselves. Player was awarded a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, one of the best honors a golfer can receive. He continued as the Recipient of the South African Sportsman of the Century award. In addition, Player earned the title of Captain of the International Team in 2003, 2005 and 2007.

Being one of the single best golfers of all time from Africa, Players worked hard to improve racial comments about his native background. As such, he founded The Player Foundation to improve education of his country and religions. He truly believed in equality and respect for all people of all backgrounds.  


Who Do You Think The Best Golfers of All Time Are?

We hope you enjoyed learning about the career and background of the best golfers of all time. If you love golf and are seriously interested in turning it into a professional career, don’t give up on your dreams. Take the first step by registering with the PGA Professional Golf Management.

We’d love to hear who you think the best golfers of all time are. Share your favourite athletes in the comments to continue the conversation.

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