Best Player to Only Win One Major

jim8flog

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When I originally read this thread I had several in mind but did some fact checking first. Just shows how the memory fails you with age.
 
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I can't see how it isn't DJ.

Only 4 players in the game have been the number 1 ranked player for longer, and surely it won't be long before he makes it only 3 - 6 weeks behind faldo.

As tiger said yesterday, he's running out of majors. Is DJ? Who knows?
The number one ranking is a bit of a red herring because there are players a similar age to Tiger who would probably have gotten to no. 1 in any other era. At the moment we are seeing possibly 4 or 5 guys 'share' the ranking through a typical season, while Tiger was no 1 for about 15 years from 97 onwards.

The ones that spring to mind from the Tiger era are Sergio Garcia and Adam Scott. I'm sure Scott was no.1 briefly after his Masters win and Garcia had a long time in the top 5 of the rankings, was certainly no. 2 to Rory (in 2014) and I'm sure was no. 2 to Tiger previously as well.

I guess you could also argue that both would have won more majors if it wasn't for Tiger, so wouldn't be in this category. And both have played and won international events, not just on the PGA Tour. Accept DJ has also won a few Middle East and Asian events.

Both players are ball striking machines, which I feel is the key to longevity on tour and why these guys have been competitive for 2 decades, and DJ will be as well, for another 10 years or so.

In total I make the win column;
DJ: 22 (5 WGCs)
AS: 27 (2 WGCs + 1 Players)
SG: 30 (1 Players)

In reality - extremely comparable careers, albeit DJ is a bit younger and you'd imagine will pad out the win column, as he seems to do every year, more than the others.
 

Ethan

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The number one ranking is a bit of a red herring because there are players a similar age to Tiger who would probably have gotten to no. 1 in any other era. At the moment we are seeing possibly 4 or 5 guys 'share' the ranking through a typical season, while Tiger was no 1 for about 15 years from 97 onwards.

The ones that spring to mind from the Tiger era are Sergio Garcia and Adam Scott. I'm sure Scott was no.1 briefly after his Masters win and Garcia had a long time in the top 5 of the rankings, was certainly no. 2 to Rory (in 2014) and I'm sure was no. 2 to Tiger previously as well.

I guess you could also argue that both would have won more majors if it wasn't for Tiger, so wouldn't be in this category. And both have played and won international events, not just on the PGA Tour. Accept DJ has also won a few Middle East and Asian events.

Both players are ball striking machines, which I feel is the key to longevity on tour and why these guys have been competitive for 2 decades, and DJ will be as well, for another 10 years or so.

In total I make the win column;
DJ: 22 (5 WGCs)
AS: 27 (2 WGCs + 1 Players)
SG: 30 (1 Players)

In reality - extremely comparable careers, albeit DJ is a bit younger and you'd imagine will pad out the win column, as he seems to do every year, more than the others.
Ernie Els was the biggest casualty of Tiger's rise, imho. He could have won any of the majors, and contended, but Tiger ate his lunch more than once. I am not sure Sergio was ever really made of the same stuff.
 
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This post looks like it should have been titled "Best Player to have Won only One Major currently playing".

Statements like "it clearly has to be DJ" from those who have little or no knowledge of the players and tournaments of the past are IMO not thought through.

I can only go back to the sixties but what about Tony Lema or Tom Weiskopf?
 
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This post looks like it should have been titled "Best Player to have Won only One Major currently playing".

Statements like "it clearly has to be DJ" from those who have little or no knowledge of the players and tournaments of the past are IMO not thought through.

I can only go back to the sixties but what about Tony Lema or Tom Weiskopf?
Obviously recency bias is legitimate, but imo most of these players are going to come from the Tiger era, due to his dominance. Someone like Garcia who came onto the scene in 1999 effectively played the 1st 10 years of his career with Tiger winning a third of all majors. Ok, so Jack won more, but this was over a longer time period and imo the depth was not the same back then.

Now it's fairly common to have 4 different winners of majors and often 3 1st time major winners in a season. Look at the past few years with Garcia, Reed, Thomas, Molinari, Woodland, Lowry, Willett, Walker, Stenson and now Morikawa. All new names in terms of majors, some younger, most will only win, 1 but I don't think anyone would argue these were fluke wins like a Ben Curtis or Steve Jones. Maybe Willett got a bit of help, but he's still a quality player who will win and contend in other big events.
 

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The number one ranking is a bit of a red herring because there are players a similar age to Tiger who would probably have gotten to no. 1 in any other era. At the moment we are seeing possibly 4 or 5 guys 'share' the ranking through a typical season, while Tiger was no 1 for about 15 years from 97 onwards.

The ones that spring to mind from the Tiger era are Sergio Garcia and Adam Scott. I'm sure Scott was no.1 briefly after his Masters win and Garcia had a long time in the top 5 of the rankings, was certainly no. 2 to Rory (in 2014) and I'm sure was no. 2 to Tiger previously as well.

I guess you could also argue that both would have won more majors if it wasn't for Tiger, so wouldn't be in this category. And both have played and won international events, not just on the PGA Tour. Accept DJ has also won a few Middle East and Asian events.

Both players are ball striking machines, which I feel is the key to longevity on tour and why these guys have been competitive for 2 decades, and DJ will be as well, for another 10 years or so.

In total I make the win column;
DJ: 22 (5 WGCs)
AS: 27 (2 WGCs + 1 Players)
SG: 30 (1 Players)

In reality - extremely comparable careers, albeit DJ is a bit younger and you'd imagine will pad out the win column, as he seems to do every year, more than the others.
I think the loss of the PGA that Martin Kaymer won is credited as one DJ had more or less won and let slip away by grounding the club in that bunker/sandy area at Whistling Straits.

Scotty is a bit older, turned pro in 2000 (DJ 2007), and he has a more diverse set of wins on various Tours. If you count only the PGA Tour and Eruropean Tour, I make it 22 unique wins - 14 PGA Tour, 11 European Tour (but 3 of those also counted by PGA Tour). A great record, for sure, but maybe not quite as strong at the highest level as DJ.

DJ also has second or tied second in each of the other majors, Scott is not quite as good.
 
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Obviously recency bias is legitimate, but imo most of these players are going to come from the Tiger era, due to his dominance. Someone like Garcia who came onto the scene in 1999 effectively played the 1st 10 years of his career with Tiger winning a third of all majors. Ok, so Jack won more, but this was over a longer time period and imo the depth was not the same back then.

Now it's fairly common to have 4 different winners of majors and often 3 1st time major winners in a season. Look at the past few years with Garcia, Reed, Thomas, Molinari, Woodland, Lowry, Willett, Walker, Stenson and now Morikawa. All new names in terms of majors, some younger, most will only win, 1 but I don't think anyone would argue these were fluke wins like a Ben Curtis or Steve Jones. Maybe Willett got a bit of help, but he's still a quality player who will win and contend in other big events.
And did not Nicklaus dominate the game during his era? And there is absolutely no evidence to support a claim that the depth of the field has been stronger in recent times.

BTW Jack's Major wins were spread over a 24 year period and Tiger's over 22 years. Not a massive difference.

Championship golf existed long before 1996.
 
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Has to be DJ he has won tournaments each and every year for 10 years + including multiple WGC's. DJ held world number 1 for over a year no comparison for me.
 
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Has to be DJ he has won tournaments each and every year for 10 years + including multiple WGC's. DJ held world number 1 for over a year no comparison for me.
Again World Rankings are only relevant to the modern era.

The OWGR were not introduced until 1986 so Nicklaus was never World Number 1.
 
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And did not Nicklaus dominate the game during his era? And there is absolutely no evidence to support a claim that the depth of the field has been stronger in recent times.

BTW Jack's Major wins were spread over a 24 year period and Tiger's over 22 years. Not a massive difference.

Championship golf existed long before 1996.
14 of Tiger's wins were condensed into an 11 year period. If you happened to be born in the 1970s or early 80s... then you didn't have many majors to play for that Tiger wasn't a factor in.

Jack's were spread out much more evenly across 3 decades.

Just my opinion on the depth of field. I appreciate it's very difficult to compare eras, but it was quite uncommon for a lot of the European's to even play in the US majors throughout much of Jack's career and there were really none who were competitive in the states until the 1980s. Now you've got over a dozen European's turning up with a genuine chance, not to mention Australians and South African's that might not have played much in the US either, but became 'European Tour' players back then.
 

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14 of Tiger's wins were condensed into an 11 year period. If you happened to be born in the 1970s or early 80s... then you didn't have many majors to play for that Tiger wasn't a factor in.

Jack's were spread out much more evenly across 3 decades.

Just my opinion on the depth of field. I appreciate it's very difficult to compare eras, but it was quite uncommon for a lot of the European's to even play in the US majors throughout much of Jack's career and there were really none who were competitive in the states until the 1980s. Now you've got over a dozen European's turning up with a genuine chance, not to mention Australians and South African's that might not have played much in the US either, but became 'European Tour' players back then.
Tiger and Jack used their time differently, though. Jack had periods of downtime too, although not for quite the same reasons.

I agree that majors pre Seve/Sandy/Faldo/Woosie/Ollie were very American and a closed shop, Jacklin being a rare exception, but even he has often talked of resentment he experienced.
 
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14 of Tiger's wins were condensed into an 11 year period. If you happened to be born in the 1970s or early 80s... then you didn't have many majors to play for that Tiger wasn't a factor in.

Jack's were spread out much more evenly across 3 decades.

Just my opinion on the depth of field. I appreciate it's very difficult to compare eras, but it was quite uncommon for a lot of the European's to even play in the US majors throughout much of Jack's career and there were really none who were competitive in the states until the 1980s. Now you've got over a dozen European's turning up with a genuine chance, not to mention Australians and South African's that might not have played much in the US either, but became 'European Tour' players back then.
The first 14 of Jack's Major wins were condensed into a similar period.

As for non-American winners I can only say that there weren't too many of them winning the Open during that period. It was still dominated by players from the USA.
 

sunshine

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The number one ranking is a bit of a red herring because there are players a similar age to Tiger who would probably have gotten to no. 1 in any other era. At the moment we are seeing possibly 4 or 5 guys 'share' the ranking through a typical season, while Tiger was no 1 for about 15 years from 97 onwards.

The ones that spring to mind from the Tiger era are Sergio Garcia and Adam Scott. I'm sure Scott was no.1 briefly after his Masters win and Garcia had a long time in the top 5 of the rankings, was certainly no. 2 to Rory (in 2014) and I'm sure was no. 2 to Tiger previously as well.

I guess you could also argue that both would have won more majors if it wasn't for Tiger, so wouldn't be in this category. And both have played and won international events, not just on the PGA Tour. Accept DJ has also won a few Middle East and Asian events.

Both players are ball striking machines, which I feel is the key to longevity on tour and why these guys have been competitive for 2 decades, and DJ will be as well, for another 10 years or so.

In total I make the win column;
DJ: 22 (5 WGCs)
AS: 27 (2 WGCs + 1 Players)
SG: 30 (1 Players)

In reality - extremely comparable careers, albeit DJ is a bit younger and you'd imagine will pad out the win column, as he seems to do every year, more than the others.
Good post - logical arguments.

Adam Scott is a great shout and one I had forgotten. Probably because he hasn't contended in as many majors as you would expect, given his win record and ball striking ability.
 
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Good post - logical arguments.

Adam Scott is a great shout and one I had forgotten. Probably because he hasn't contended in as many majors as you would expect, given his win record and ball striking ability.
I think with all 3 of these guys, Scott, DJ and Garcia, there is a contentedness about their life and career that perhaps hasn't made them as prolific as other players. Perhaps Stenson is up there as well.

Although Stenson lost a lot of money in a financial scam and basically had to start from zero again - which perhaps gave him the kick up the backside to get back to the top of the game.
 
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Ernie Els was the biggest casualty of Tiger's rise, imho. He could have won any of the majors, and contended, but Tiger ate his lunch more than once. I am not sure Sergio was ever really made of the same stuff.
There were quite a few around the end of the 90s who I might put in that category.

Els, Singh, Duval, Mickelson, Goosen would likely have been the 'dominant' players around the turn of the century and who knows if they'd each gotten a few more. Maybe Olazabel as well.

And for all Woods' dominance, there was a run of majors in 2003 where the winners were; Mike Weir, Shaun Micheel, Jim Furyk and Ben Curtis. Ok, Jim was a quality player - but crazy to think of the guys who beat him at these events.
 
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Hoganman1

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I guess there is a bias toward players that are still competing in some of the answers my post generated. There's no question that Tom Kite, Tom Weiskopf, Tony Lema and David Duvall as well a few other retired players should be considered. Anyway, I got what I wanted which was a robust discussion. Remember, these are all opinions and there is no right or wrong answer.
Thanks to all that are replying and please keep it going.

PS I loved the post that suggested Collin Morikawa.
 

Wolf

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Tom Kite for me out of past era

Dustin in the modern era.

Everyone will always have a bias towards the era they started watching golf in which is why so many suggestions are more modern players.
 
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