The career Grand Slam is one of the most prestigious accomplishments in professional golf. To achieve the career Grand Slam, a golfer must win all four of golf's major championships throughout the course of their career.
If you follow golf, you know that winning one major title is an impressive feat, let alone all 4 of the major championships. In fact, the career Grand Slam is so challenging, only five golfers have won the Grand Slam during their careers.
In this post we'll dive into each of golf's 4 major titles and share a bit more about the golfers who've achieved the career Grand Slam.
The Golf Career Grand Slam
There are four major championships in golf. Each major has its own nuances and rich history.
The Masters Tournament was established in 1934 and is always held at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta Georgia. The Masters is always the first major championship of the year and the field of players is smaller than those of the other majors because it is an invitational event.
Jack Nicklaus has the most Masters wins with 6 (won between 1963 and 1986).
The PGA Championship
The PGA Championship was established in 1916 and is held at various courses throughout the United States. As of 2019, the PGA Championship is the second major championship of the year. There are a number of ways a golfer can qualify for the PGA Championship, including winning a major, being within the top 70 in money standings on the PGA Tour, and being a member of the most recent Ryder Cup team.
Jack Nicklaus and Walter Hagen are tied for the most PGA Championship victories with 5.
The U.S. Open
The U.S. Open Championship was established in 1895 and is held at various courses throughout the United States. The U.S. Open is the third major championship of the year and, as of 2019, awards the largest purse. There are a number of ways a golfer can qualify for the U.S. Open, including winning a U.S. Open within the last 10 years, winning the previous year's Amateur Championship, and being within the top 60 in the Official World Golf Ranking as of two weeks before the tournament.
Willie Anderson, Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, and Jack Nicklaus are each tied for the most U.S. Open victories with 4.
The Open Championship
The Open Championship, or the British Open, was established in 1860 is held at a select group of links golf courses in the United Kingdom. As of 2019, The Open is the fourth and final major of the championship year. There are a number of ways a golfer can qualify for The Open, including previous performance at The Open, winning other majors and being a leader in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Harry Vardon has the most British Open victories with 6 (won between 1896 and 1914).
Golfers with Career Grand Slams
As we've discussed, the career Grand Slam is an incredibly difficult feat in professional golf. It is so rare that since 1922, only 5 golfers have done it.
The golfers with career grand slams are Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Gene Sarazen. The table below outlines how many Major titles and career Slams each man has, along with the years they won their first and final Major title.
|Player||Major Titles||Career Slams||First Title||Last Title|
You will notice that there is one very big name that has been left off this list - Bobby Jones. Bobby Jones achieved his Grand Slam in the pre-Masters era. He won the U.S. Amateur five times, the U.S. Open four times, the British Amateur once, and The Open three times. What is most impressive about Bobby Jones is in 1930 he won all 4 of these events in the same season. So, while we can't directly compare Bobby Jones' pre-Masters Grand Slams to the players above, he certainly has his place in Grand Slam history.
About the Winners
Gene Sarazen was the first man to win the modern Grand Slam (the Masters was played in the final leg of the major season). He won the U.S. Open twice, The Open once, and the PGA Championship three times.
Ben Hogan's one and only Open appearance (and win) in 1953 earned him the career Grand Slam. Hogan won the Masters and the PGA Championship twice, and the U.S. Open four times.
Jack Nicklaus won The Open three times, the Masters six times, the U.S. Open four times, and the PGA Championship five times. Nicklaus holds the record for major titles (18).
Gary Player won the Masters and The Open three times each, the PGA Championship twice, and the U.S. Open once.
Tiger Woods has won the career Grand Slam three times. His first came in 2000 and he is still competing on the PGA Tour. Tiger has won the Masters and the PGA Championship four times each as well as the U.S. Open and The Open three times each.