The 20 best names of golf’s major championship winners

August 12, 2013 – 3:12 am by Ryan Phillips

Jason Dufner

On Sunday afternoon Jason Dufner joined an elite club by winning his first major championship. With his victory at the 2013 PGA Championship, Dufner put himself among the elite players in the history of golf.

His two-stroke win over Jim Furyk at Oak Hill East in Pittsford, New York was masterfully done. But the 36-year-old Cleveland native also entered an even more exclusive club with his two stroke victory: guys who have awesome names who have also won golf’s major championships.

Below is our list of the top 20 names of major championship winners. Enjoy.

Herman Keiser

20. Herman Keiser

The thought of a guy winning the Masters while playing in a World War I-Era German helmet is pretty awesome, but unfortunately this Keiser was born in Misouri. The 1946 Masters champion beat Ben Hogan by one stroke to win his only major championship.

 

Tom Kite

19. Tom Kite

A 42-year-old Kite won the 1992 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach by two strokes over Jeff Sluman. How he reads putts with those glasses, is one of the great mysteries of life.

 

Bob Tway

18. Bob Tway

Tway’s name sounds like it’s something the priest from The Princess Bride would say. But he won the 1986 PGA Championship when he was just 27 years old. Notably, he became the first player in modern history to win the PGA on the 72nd hole, when he holed his shot from a greenside bunker at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio.

 

Jason Dufner

17. Jason Dufner

Dufner’s win at the 2013 PGA Championship will be most remembered for the love pat he gave his wife Amanda as he left the 18th green on Sunday.

 

Seve Ballesteros

16. Seve Ballesteros

The guy’s name is just fun to say. Ballesteros won the Masters twice (1980 and 1983), and The Open Championship three times (1979, 1984 and 1988).

 

Curtis Strange

15. Curtis Strange

Such an underrated name. Strange won back-to-back U.S. Open titles in 1988 and 1989.

 

Charles Coody

14. Charles Coody

Billy Charles Coody was born in Stamford, Texas and won the 1971 Masters. To do so he stunned both Johnny Miller and Jack Nicklaus, besting both men by two strokes. He was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 2000 and has a college golf tournament – the Charles Coody West Texas Intercollegiate – named after him.

 

Julius Boros

13. Julius Boros

Boros was a Hungarian-American (an interesting combination to say the least) who won the U.S. Open in 1952 and 1963 and the PGA Championship in 1968 at age 48. He is remembered for never bothering to size up shots, instead he would just walk up to the ball and “just do it.”

 

Sandy Herd

12. Sandy Herd

Alexander “Sandy” Herd won the 1902 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in England. The Scotsman had the three shot lead after 54 holes but shot an 81 in the final round. Luckily for Herd, Harry Vardon and James Braid both missed medium length putts that would have forced a playoff.

 

Horace Rawlins

11. Horace Rawlins

Rawlins not only had a great name, he also had a fantastic mustache. He won the first U.S. Open in 1895. The tournament was held at the Newport Golf Club in Newport, Rhode Island and Rawlins beat Scotsman Willie Dunn by two strokes. The tournament was a one-day event played over 36 holes and the Rawlins won $150 to take back to his native England.

 

Dow Finsterwald

10. Dow Finsterwald

Dow Henry Finsterwald Sr. was a native of Athens, Ohio and won the 1958 PGA Championship, which was the first edition of the event played under stroke play. Previous PGA Championships were match play tournaments. Sam Snead led after 54 holes, but he faded to third with a 73 (+3) and Finsterwald edged runner-up Billy Casper by two shots.

 

Bubba Watson

9. Bubba Watson

His full name of Gerry Lester Watson is almost as awesome as Bubba, but we’ll stick with his preferred moniker. Watson won the 2012 Masters by besting Louis Oosthuizen on the second playoff hole.

 

Old Tom Morris Young Tom Morris

8. Old Tom Morris, Young Tom Morris (tie)

These guys were around so long ago they weren’t even known as Tom Morris, Sr. and Tom Morris, Jr. They were actually referred to as “Old Tom” and “Young Tom.” For some reason we find that awesome. Old Tom Morris won The Open Championship in 1861, 1862, 1864 and 1867. So basically he dominated golf when the United States was fighting the Civil War.

Young Tom Morris tied his dad with four Open Championships, with his wins coming in 1868, 1869, 1870 and 1872. So a guy named “Tom Morris” won The Open Championship eight times from 1861 to 1872 and they didn’t hold the tournament in 1871.

More fun with the Morris family: Young Tom won his first Open Championship in 1868 at just 17 years old, making him the youngest major champion in history (a record that still stands). The man he beat for the title? His father, who was three strokes behind.

Old Tom was the groundskeeper and professional at St. Andrews Links in Scotland, in the town of his birth.

Young Tom died tragically at just 24 years old of a heart attack in 1875.

 

Gay Brewer

7. Gay Brewer

This is just too easy. Brewer won the Masters in 1967 by one stroke over Bobby Nichols. We also think his name would make an awesome crossword clue: “Winner of the 1967 Masters, or a homosexual Milwaukee baseballer.”

 

Alf Padgham

6. Alf Padgham

Alf Padgham won the 1936 Open Championship, one year after (and we’re not making this up) Alf Perry. In 1935 when Perry won, Padgham finished second, which meant an Alf-dominated leaderboard. When Padgham won in 1936 he bested Jimmy Adams by one stroke.

Padgham’s title came at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in his native England.

 

Johnny Revolta

5. Johnny Revolta

Revolta was a St. Louis native who captured the 1935 PGA Championship by beating Tommy Armour 5 & 4 in match play. He took home $1,000 for his trouble. Back then the PGA was was a six day event that demanded the winner to play 12 rounds (216 holes) in that span.

 

Y.E. Yang

4. Y.E. Yang

A native of Seogwipo-si Jeju-do, South Korea, Yang Yong-eun, is better known in America as Y.E. Yang. He won the 2009 PGA Championship by smoking Tiger Woods in the final round. Woods held a two-stroke lead after 54 holes, but melted down and shot a 75 (+3) on the final day, while Yang cruised to the finish with a 70 and a three-stroke win. Yang celebrated by lifting his bag above his head like the Stanley Cup.

 

Orville Moody

3. Orville Moody

Orville Moody was born in Chickasha, Oklahoma because of course he was. He also won the 1969 U.S. Open by one stroke over the trio of Deane Beman, Al Geiberger (see No. 2) and Bob Rosburg. Several past champions had awful showings at Champions Golf Club in Houston that week. Lee Trevino (+9), Gene Littler (+12) and Ken Venturi (+13) all missed the cut, while Julius Boros (+7), Jack Nicklaus (+9), Billy Casper (+13) and Gary Player (+15) were far out of contention.

 

Al Geiberger

2. Al Geiberger

Allen Lee Geiberger, Sr. won the 1966 PGA Championship at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio. He topped Dudley Wysong (who would have been on this list if he ever won a major) by four strokes to take home the title. The Red Bluff, California native was known as both Mr. 59 and Skippy, but we’re assuming you can call him Al.

 

Willie Park, Sr.

1. Mungo Park

Not to be confused with the famed Scottish explorer, this Scottish golfer won the 1874 Open Championship by two strokes over Young Tom Morris. It was Park’s only championship, though he finished third in 1875.

Mungo Park’s brother Willie (who is pictured above, since Mungo was too busy being a badass to pose for any pictures) won The Open Championship four times (1860, 1863, 1866 and 1875) and his nephew Willie Park Jr. won it in 1887 and 1889.

Mungo was born in 1835 in Musselburgh, Scotland and when the tournament was scheduled to be held on his hometown Musselburgh Links in 1874 he competed for the first time. His brother Willie finished 13th the year Mungo won, but came back and won it the next year.

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