The 5 Career Grand Slam Winners in Men's Golf

How Those Five Did It, Plus Some of the Golf Giants Who Came Close

Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods during the 2000 PGA Championship
Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, two of the five Career Grand Slam winners. David Cannon/Getty Images

There has been only one single-season "grand slam" winner in golf history. But there are five winners of the "career Grand Slam" in men's golf. And the single-season winner is not among the five career winners! How is that possible?

The only golfer to win a calendar-year grand slam was Bobby Jones in 1930. That's before The Masters existed, and as an amateur golfer Jones did not play the PGA Championship.

His four victories were in the U.S. and British opens, and the U.S. and British amateur championships. And that was considered, in Jones' time, the single-season grand slam.

Other than Jones, Tiger Woods has come closest to a single-season grand slam. In 2000, Woods won the U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship. Then in 2001, he won The Masters, which meant he held all four major championship trophies simultaneously. But he won them over the 2000 and 2001 seasons, rather than in the same year.

"Career Grand Slam" refers to winning all four of the professional majors in men's golf—the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship—at least once each over the course of one's career. And only five men in golf history have done that. The are listed here in the order in which they accomplished the feat:

1. Gene Sarazen

Gene Sarazen completed the career Grand Slam with the 1935 Masters.

His wins in the majors:

  • Masters: 1935
  • U.S. Open: 1922, 1932
  • British Open: 1932
  • PGA Championship: 1922, 1923, 1933

Sarazen had won each of the other three professional majors before The Masters even exists. The 1935 tournament was the second time The Masters was played, but Sarazen's first time playing it.

2. Ben Hogan

Ben Hogan completed the career Grand Slam with the 1953 British Open. His wins in the majors:

  • Masters: 1951, 1953
  • U.S. Open: 1948, 1950, 1951, 1953
  • British Open: 1953
  • PGA Championship: 1946, 1948

Along with Woods, Hogan is the only golfer to win three of the professional majors in the same calendar year. In 1953, Hogan won The Masters plus the U.S.  and British opens. He didn't play the PGA Championship (whose dates conflicted with British Open qualifying.)

3. Gary Player

So far, Gary Player is the only international (non-American) golfer on the list of men's grand slam winners. He completed the career Grand Slam with the 1965 U.S. Open. Player's wins in the majors:

  • Masters: 1961, 1974, 1978
  • U.S. Open: 1965
  • British Open: 1959, 1968, 1974
  • PGA Championship: 1962, 1972

4. Jack Nicklaus

One year after Player joined this list, Jack Nicklaus completed the career Grand Slam with the 1966 British Open. His wins in the majors:

  • Masters: 1963, 1965, 1966, 1972, 1975, 1986
  • U.S. Open: 1962, 1967, 1972, 1980
  • British Open: 1966, 1970, 1978
  • PGA Championship: 1963, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1980

In 1970, Nicklaus became the first golfer to win the double career Grand Slam (winning each major at least twice). And in 1978, he was the first to reach the triple career Grand Slam.

5. Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods completed the career Grand Slam with the 2000 British Open. His wins in the majors:

  • Masters: 1997, 2001, 2002, 2005
  • U.S. Open: 2000, 2002, 2008
  • British Open: 2000, 2005, 2006
  • PGA Championship: 1999, 2000, 2006, 2007

From the time of the golfer's first win in a major to when he completed the career slam, Woods was the fastes: He did it in three years, Nicklaus in four. Woods reached the double slam in 2005 and the triple slam in 2006.

Nicklaus and Woods are the only golfers of the five to win the career Grand Slam more than once, each having done it three times.

Active Golfers In the Hunt for a Career Grand Slam

There are three active golfers who have won three of the four majors (number in parentheses is the golfer's total wins in majors):

  • Phil Mickelson (5): Mickelson has won the Masters, British Open and PGA Championship, but not the U.S. Open.
  • Rory McIlroy (4): Has wins in the U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship, but not The Masters.
  • Jordan Spieth (3): Spieth has won the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open, but not the PGA Championship.

Plus the Golf Giants Who Fell One Win Short of the Career Grand Slam

Some of the biggest names in golf history won three of the pro majors, but never got that fourth one that would have completed their career Grand Slam. Those golfers missing only one major title are:

  • Tom Watson (8): Won the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open, never won the PGA Championship.
  • Arnold Palmer (7): Won the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open, never won the PGA Championship.
  • Sam Snead (7): Won the Masters, British Open and PGA Championship, never won the U.S. Open.
  • Lee Trevino (6): Won the U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship, never won the Masters.
  • Byron Nelson (5): Won the Masters, U.S. Open and PGA Championship, never won the British Open.
  • Raymond Floyd (4): Won the Masters, U.S. Open and PGA Championship, never won: British Open.

In addition, two golfers won the other three majors before The Masters debuted in 1934:

  • Jim Barnes retired from tour golf before The Masters began.
  • Tommy Armour was still playing when The Masters arrived, but was never a threat to win it and his other three majors came earlier.