July 20, 2010
Winning a PGA Tour tournament is nearly impossible, so to claim one of the four major championships that are put on each year is a career maker. The problem is, once you win one, people expect you to keep on winning them, not realizing just how darn hard it is. This past weekend, Louis Oosthuizen added his name to the list of one-time major champions when he took down the British Open. Did he make our top-10 list of best one-time winners in the history of the majors? Read on and find out.
10. Ken Venturi: Better known to this generation as one of the voices of golf, Venturi was a great golfer out of San Francisco back in the 1950s and '60s. Ken took home the 1964 U.S. Open at Congressional, one of his 14 PGA Tour titles. Although Venturi was only a real factor in two other majors (he finished second in both the '56 and '60 Masters), he had 10 top-10s in the big ones including his lone win.
9. Fred Couples: Everyone's favorite pro might be the luckiest of all the major winners, when his ball famously stayed up on the bank of the 12th hole in 1992, giving him his lone win at the Masters. Freddy was able to claim 14 other PGA Tour titles, and is probably a good back away from three other majors.
8. Jim Furyk: To look at Furyk's record at major championships is to look at a guy that hardly ever is far from the lead. Like Corey Pavin, when Furyk won the 2003 U.S. Open, people thought it would be the start of something big, but he hasn't been able to recreate the magic he found at Olympia Fields.
7. Tommy Bolt: He might have had a temper, but he also had some game. Terrible Tommy's win at the 1958 U.S. Open was great, but he was able to claim 14 other PGA Tour wins, and his lone major victory was over Gary Player at Southern Hills.
6. Tom Weiskopf: It's incredible that he only won once, at the 1973 British Open, considering his play in the majors between '72 and '76. In that stretch, Weiskopf finished out of the top-10 just seven times, and was in the top-10 at Augusta all but once.
5. Davis Love III: Just one of four players on this list with 20 PGA Tour wins, Love was a type of player that most thought would win six or seven majors, not one. His only win, at the 1997 PGA Championship, was remarkable, but his final-round 64 to claim the Players Championship in 2003 might be the shining moment of his career.
4. Lanny Wadkins: He won 21 PGA Tour titles, and was in the hunt at Augusta a number of times, but like the rest of these guys, couldn't ever close out that second major championship.
3. Gene Littler: Probably not as known on this list, but just as good as any of them, Littler's resume reads about as solid as anyone's. His 29 PGA Tour wins has him tied for 19th all-time with guys like Lee Trevino, and his span of good play in majors ranges from a second-place finish in 1954 at Augusta to 1977, when he finished second at the PGA Championship.
2. Tom Kite: Kite won one of those U.S. Opens that took a lot of patience, and a ton of pars, in 1992, but his top-10 record in the other majors is why he's so high on this list. An astonishing 27 top-10s in the big four, including a stretch from '79 to '84 where he didn't finish out of the top-six at the Masters.
1. Lloyd Mangrum: He won the 1946 U.S. Open to go along with his, gulp, 36 PGA Tour titles, ranking him 13th all-time. Mangrum won seven PGA Tour titles in 1948, and finished in the top-10 at the Masters for 10 straight years.