Greatest on the Greens: The Best Golfers in History


By: Nathan Chandler

6 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

For some, golf is more than a game. It's an obsession that humbles all humans. On the course, these men found more glory than defeat. How much do you know about history's best golfers?

Arnold Palmer's devout fans, who followed him in throngs on the course, were often called what?

"Arnie's Army" was the name given to the thousands of people who ringed every green to see what sort of golf magic The King would conjure next.


In 2009, which 60-year-old golfer was tied for the lead at the British Open and participated in a four-hole playoff before finally losing?

At 60 years old and 26 years since his last major title, Tom Watson charged into the spotlight at the 2009 Open. In the playoff, Stewart Cink outlasted Watson for the win.


Who is "The Golden Bear"?

With his blond hair and burly body, Jack Nicklaus was a force to be reckoned with on the golf course. He combined power, grace and humility in ways not common among high-profile athletes.


Phil Mickelson has NEVER won which major, which traditionally takes place over Father's Day weekend?

Mickelson has won three of the four majors, but he's never captured a U.S. Open. He's won the Masters three times.


Tiger Woods launched his career by winning his first major title at which event?

In 1997, Woods was just 21 years old and playing golf with power and finesse the likes of which the world had never before seen. He won the tournament by a jaw-dropping 12 strokes.


How old was Bobby Jones when he decided to retire from professional golf?

Jones was an extraordinarily successful golfer but he didn't enjoy the lifestyle that went along with the PGA tour. At just 28, he gave it all up and went on to other successful work.


Which player is often regarded as the developer of the modern golf swing?

As the golf world evolved from wooden club shafts to steel, the swing had to evolve, too. Byron Nelson realized that by adding leg drive to his swing, his game would be both more accurate and more powerful. Most players now put his techniques to use.


How many majors did Jack Nicklaus win?

Nicklaus has won more majors than any other golfer -- he racked up 18 wins during his illustrious career. Nine times, he finished third in major tournaments.


Which golfer owns the record for most PGA tour wins?

No one casts a longer shadow on golf than this man -- Sam Snead. He won 82 times during his career, which ended in the 1980s.


Which golfer helped to design the famous Augusta National golf course?

Bobby Jones was the phenom who took the golf world by storm … and then left of his own accord. After he retired, he was one of the designers of Augusta National.


Who was the captain of the first six U.S. Ryder Cup teams?

In the early 20th century, Walter Hagen was a shining star of U.S. golf. Six times in a row, he was the Ryder team's captain. He also played for the country's first five teams, starting in 1927.


In 1945, how many consecutive tournaments did Byron Nelson win?

In 1945, Nelson won a ridiculous 11 straight tournaments. He went on to win seven more that year, for a one-year total of 18 victories.


Which major championship, the last one played each season, did Arnold Palmer NEVER win?

Palmer won seven majors but never captured the PGA, which is held annually in August. He made up for it by winning the Masters four times.


Which "Golden" golfer played as an amateur at the 1960 U.S. Open and took second place?

Arnold Palmer won the 1960 Open by two shots. But he was pressed throughout the week by the powers of Jack Nicklaus, the Golden Bear, who would shortly become one of Palmer's main rivals.


Which golfer is known by his nickname, "The King"?

Arnold Palmer began his PGA career in 1955 and then blazed his way to 62 tour victories. He certainly earned "The King" nickname.


Who has the record for British Open wins?

Harry Vardon was one of the best-known athletes around the turn of the 20th century. He won the British Open six times, a record that stands to this day.


In the late 70s and early 80s, Tom Watson won numerous majors by beating which other well-known golfer, who then was pushed to second place?

Watson had an epic rivalry with Jack Nicklaus. In four majors, he came out on top, relegating Nicklaus to second place.


As of 2017, which golfer has the second most number of PGA tour wins, behind Sam Snead?

Sam Snead's record of 82 wins seemed to be in jeopardy from the likes of Tiger Woods, who has 79 victories. Given Woods' health problems in recent years, Snead's record could be safe for decades.


In how many majors did Jack Nicklaus finish second?

A whopping 19 times, Nicklaus came up just short of victory in majors. He had more second-place finishes (19) than wins (18).


As a young caddie, who did Byron Nelson beat during a caddie tournament?

When he was just 14 years old, Nelson found himself facing Ben Hogan during a caddie tournament. Nelson defeated Hogan, and the two would later face off many times on the professional tour.


As of 2017, which golfer has the third-highest number of major victories, trailing only Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods?

Walter Hagen was a flashy character who won 11 majors during his career, putting him in third place for total majors. His last major title came at the 1929 British Open.


How many majors did Ben Hogan win?

With nine major wins, Hogan is tied with Gary Player for fourth all-time. Hogan won 64 times during his PGA career.


Which golfer was the captain of the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup team?

Watson has served as Ryder Cup captain twice, first in 1993 when the U.S. won. He also led the team in 2014, when they lost in Scotland.


By how many strokes did Tiger Woods win the 2000 U.S. Open, setting a new record?

The 2000 U.S. Open was the 100th anniversary of this tournament, and Woods celebrated in style, destroying the field by 15 strokes. No golfer before or since has ever won a major tournament by so many strokes.


As of 2017, Tiger Woods has won how many majors?

Tiger's well-publicized pursuit of Nicklaus's major record (18) has so far been unsuccessful. Tiger has 14 major titles and hasn't won one since 2008.


When he was a child, why did doctors encourage Bobby Jones to take up golf?

Jones struggled with health problems as a child, so doctors told him to take up golf to keep him active and strengthen his body. They couldn't have known then that Jones would turn out to be one of the best golfers ever.


How many PGA wins did Sam Snead record after turning age 40?

Snead turned 40 years old and kept right on winning -- he had 17 wins even after he was over the hill. That was a record until Vijay Singh broke it in 2007.


Which golfer won the 2008 U.S. Open in a playoff?

Tiger Woods limped around the course suffering from a stress fracture in his leg. Shortly after his U.S. Open win, he had surgery that caused him to miss the rest of the season.


Sam Snead was very well known for which aspect of his game?

Snead was a powerful man known for his ability to drive the ball. Not only was he able to blast the ball a long distance, he was accurate, too.


How many times has Tiger Woods won the Masters?

Woods always pointed to the Masters as one of his favorite tournaments, and he expended huge energy in his attempts to win each year. As of 2016, he's won four times.


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