Professional golf is a meritocracy. Most democratic of all sports; you get paid for performing well (insert: knowing Al Czervik eye roll here).
The truth - winners are typically well-known, established players.
Rarely does a relative unknown (or a complete unknown) win, let alone a major event.
Jack. Arnie. Gary. Nancy. Mickey. Annika. Tiger. Phil. Seve. It goes without saying, if you’re a “single name golfer”, you aren’t exactly paying green fees nor stealing range balls before you go play.
Success in professional golf tends to be a self-sustaining pursuit when played at the highest levels.
Like any sport, majors usually see the cream rise to the top, and this is born out on the all-time majors list:
That doesn’t mean majors don’t suffer from “Who-the-hell-just won-that-i-tis” every so often.
One can assess these one-offs in many ways, however, calling them “the worst golfers to win a major” is harsher than catching your ankle bone with your putter head.
- Ten “Worst” Major Winners & Lightning Caught In A Bottle
- Worst Major Champions Since The Greatest Generation Saved The World
- Woof! Woof! Golf's Biggest Underdog Major Winners
- PGA Championship Biggest Upsets & Surprise Parties
- Upsets At The Augusta National Corral
- US Open & Shut - The Suits Weren’t Happy With These Non-Regal Winners
- Trevor Immelman & “The Open” Door To One-Off Obscurity
Some folks used this to springboard onto greater (or more sustained) pastures:
- Daly (‘91 PGA), Oosthuizen (‘10 Open), Schwartzel (‘11 Masters)
- Francis Ouimet (1913 US Open) - The Greatest Game Ever Played. Apparently.
Others cashed in their Golden Ticket; all the while adding their names to golf lore:
- Micheel (2003 PGA), Hamilton (2004 Open), Curtis (2003 Open), Bradley (2011 PGA), Beem (2002 PGA), Lunke (2003 Women’s US Open)
Best or “worst”, winning (major or not) is to be celebrated; even if your legacy is more “who the hell won that” as opposed to being measured for a bust in the World Golf Hall of Fame.