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Biggest blowout wins in golf major history

  • Biggest blowout wins in golf major history

    Winning one of the four major championships in golf places players on an elite list shared by a precious few at the top of the game. Winning multiple majors shrinks that elite list even further. But the most rarified air belongs to the legendary golfers who not only won a major but did so in dominating fashion.

    Since 1950, there have been around two dozen epic major golf victories where the top place finisher simply decimated the field. With some minor exceptions, the list is a veritable who's who of golf royalty that includes Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan, and Arnold Palmer.

    To learn which players had the most dominant victories in majors history, Stacker scoured data from the PGA Tour from 1950 to the 2019 PGA Championship. The list is ranked by the highest stroke difference between the winner and the runner-up, and ties were broken by the most recent tournament.

    The end result is a list of the greatest golfers in the world who destroyed their competition in ways no others have ever done. This is a collection of the biggest blowouts by the very best, how they did it, where they won, and the legacies they left behind.

    You may also like: Biggest comeback wins in golf major history

  • #25. 1953 Masters

    - Margin of victory: 5
    - Winner: Ben Hogan (274)
    - Runner-up: Ed Oliver (279)

    Ben Hogan wanted revenge. Not against any one player in particular, but against Augusta National Golf Course. Hogan previously won the Masters in 1951 and was well on his way to repeating in '52 when he collapsed by shooting a 79 in the final round. Heading into the '53 Masters, Hogan wasn't about to let the previous year's letdown get to him. As a result, Hogan shot 14-under for the tournament, beating the then-tournament record by five strokes and beating his nearest competitor, Ed Oliver, by five strokes, as well. Hogan was so good in 1953, that he also won the U.S. Open and The Open Championship.

  • #24. 1964 Open Championship

    - Margin of victory: 5
    - Winner: Tony Lema (279)
    - Runner-up: Jack Nicklaus (284)

    Tony Lema's Open Championship win in 1964 was truly remarkable. The tournament was played at St. Andrews, affectionately known as the Old Course, and considered to be the oldest course in the world. Lema's win was out of left field because he'd never stepped foot on the course before. He also borrowed Arnold Palmer's caddy for the event. And he wound up beating Jack Nicklaus by five strokes to secure the title. Unfortunately for Lema, it was the only major win of his career; he lost his life in a plane crash in 1966.

  • #23. 1986 Open Championship

    - Margin of victory: 5
    - Winner: Greg Norman (280)
    - Runner-up: Gordon Brand (285)

    Located in Scotland, 50 miles south of Glasgow, Trump Turnberry (as it's now owned by Donald Trump) has hosted The Open Championship four times—in 1977, 1986, 1994, and 2009. Heading into the '86 Championship, Australian golfer Greg Norman was on a mission. He had held the 54-hole lead at the Masters and the U.S. Open, only to lose both in the last round of 1986 (he also held the 54-hole lead at the PGA Championship that year and lost as well). But The Open Championship was Norman's official coming out party as he not only won his first major, he won it by five strokes over Gordon Brand and was the only player in the entire tournament to not shoot over par.

  • #22. 1990 Open Championship

    - Margin of victory: 5
    - Winner: Nick Faldo (270)
    - Runners-up: Mark McNulty, Payne Stewart (275)

    The Open Championship has been played at St. Andrews in Scotland 29 times, with the first outing in 1873. By the time the championship rolled around in 1990, the tournament record was 13-under, shot by Tom Watson in 1977. English golfer Nick Faldo was on a roll entering the tournament in 1990, having already won the Masters and finishing third at the U.S. Open. And his great play continued at the Old Course, as Faldo finished at 18-under par, shattering the tournament record and beating Mark McNulty and Payne Stewart by a whopping five strokes.

  • #21. 1996 Masters

    - Margin of victory: 5
    - Winner: Nick Faldo (276)
    - Runner-up: Greg Norman (281)

    The 1996 Masters Championship is known for both the biggest comeback in tournament history in addition to the biggest collapse. Heading into the final round, Greg Norman was 13-under and leading the tournament by six strokes over Nick Faldo. The two golfers played together in the final group as Norman withered, shooting 78, and Faldo thrived, shooting 67 for his third green jacket. The result was a lopsided five-stroke victory for Faldo and the seventh runner-up finish for Norman in major championships.

  • #20. 1997 PGA Championship

    - Margin of victory: 5
    - Winner: Davis Love III (269)
    - Runner-up: Justin Leonard (274)

    By almost any measure, Davis Love III has had a stellar golf career, with one exception: his record in major championships. The 1997 PGA Championship was played at Winged Foot Golf Club in New York, a course known for hosting numerous U.S. Opens. Love came into the tournament as one of the best players in the world to have never won a major, but that changed quickly. He darted out to a lead after the first round, and the momentum carried throughout as he closed the weekend with back-to-back 66's and beat Justin Leonard by five strokes for his first and only major victory.

  • #19. 2005 Open Championship

    - Margin of victory: 5
    - Winner: Tiger Woods (274)
    - Runner-up: Colin Montgomerie (279)

    Tiger Woods was already familiar with the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland, as he won The Open Championship there when it was held in 2000. Woods was a heavy favorite going into the tournament in 2005 for another reason—he had already won the Masters that year, in addition to two other tournaments before the start of the Open Championship. Woods made quick work of the course, shooting 14-under and fending off second-place finisher and local favorite Colin Montgomerie by five shots.

  • #18. 2006 PGA Championship

    - Margin of victory: 5
    - Winner: Tiger Woods (270)
    - Runner-up: Shaun Micheel (275)

    Like so many other tournaments, Tiger Woods has a history of winning on the same golf course over and over. That trend held at the 2006 PGA Championship at Medinah Country Club in Illinois where Woods had won the previous PGA Championship held there in 1999. In 2006, Woods shot all four rounds in the 60s, finished at 18-under—tying the course record—and netting his then-12th major victory.

  • #17. 1953 U.S. Open

    - Margin of victory: 6
    - Winner: Ben Hogan (283)
    - Runner-up: Sam Snead (289)

    Ben Hogan's PGA season in 1953 was one of the greatest of all time. Hogan won the Masters, the U.S. Open, and The Open Championship, and the only reason he didn't have a chance to win the PGA Championship was because it was happening at the same time as the British Open. The '53 U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club in Western Pennsylvania was one of Hogan's finest achievements. He led the tournament wire-to-wire and bested his biggest rival, Sam Snead, by six strokes. Hogan was the only golfer in the world to ever win three majors in a year until Tiger Woods accomplished the same feat in 2000.

  • #16. 1962 Open Championship

    - Margin of victory: 6
    - Winner: Arnold Palmer (276)
    - Runner-up: Kel Nagle (282)

    Royal Troon Golf Club in Scotland has hosted The Open Championship nine times and the 1962 event was one of its finest. Going into the tournament, Arnold Palmer was already on a roll. The year 1962 was enormous for the legend as he won eight tournaments, including the Masters, and was the defending champion at The Open Championship. He didn't lead wire to wire, but after the first round, Palmer torched the rest of the field to win the event by six strokes, shooting 12-under and cementing the tournament scoring record at the time.

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