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Largest margins of victory in a major

By PGA.com
Published on

Old Tom Morris held the record for almost 140 years. Then Tiger Woods showed up at the 2000 U.S. Open.

Tiger's 15-shot win at Pebble Beach broke the record for the largest margin of victory in a major championship. Old Tom Morris won the 1862 Open Championship by 13 shots at Prestwick Golf Club in Scotland. Morris' win is still the second-largest ever in a major. Rory McIlroy's 8-shot win in 2012 is the best at a PGA Championship.

Largest margins of victory in a major

15 — Tiger Woods, 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach

Woods shot 65-69-71-67 at Pebble Beach to finish 15 shots ahead of Miguel Ángel Jiménez and Ernie Els — who finished 3-over. Woods was the only player in the field to finish even par or better.

13 — Old Tom Morris, 1862 Open Championship at Prestwick Golf Club

Morris won the three-round event by 13 over Willie Park, Sr. He would old the major record for margin of victory until Tiger Woods' win 138 years later.

12 — Young Tom Morris, 1870 Open Championship at Prestwick Golf Club

Morris ran his Open Championship winning streak to three, permanately taking ownership of the Challenge Belt. Without a trophy, the Open Championship skipped 1871.

In 1872, the Open Championship returned. Morris won again. He was only 21 years old.

12 — Tiger Woods, 1997 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club

Tiger won his first major in a dominating show, setting the record for biggest win in tournament history. He actually trailed by three shots after the first round. But he shot 66-65 to open up a 9-shot lead. A Sunday 69 sealed the record.

11 — Young Tom Morris, 1869 Open Championship at Prestwick Golf Club

One year after becoming the youngest major winner at only 17 years old, Young Tom Morris defended his title with a dominating win. 

11 — Willie Smith, 1899 U.S. Open at Baltimore Country Club

Smith won his only major title by being the only player to shoot sub-80 in all four rounds.

9 — Jim Barnes, 1921 U.S. Open at Columbia Country Club

Along with his 1921 U.S. Open win, Barnes won the 1916 and 1919 PGA Championship and the 1925 Open Championship. He remains the only Englishman to win the PGA Championship.

9 — Jack Nicklaus, 1965 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club

Until Tiger in 1997, Jack held the Masters record for dominance. He won his second of six green jackets, finishing 17-under.

Eight players have won a major by 8 shots, including Rory McIlroy in at the 2012 PGA Championhip — the biggest margin of victory in PGA Championship history.

  • J.H. Taylor — 1900 Open Championship
  • James Braid — 1908 Open Championship
  • J.H. Taylor — 1913 Open Championship
  • Raymond Floyd — 1976 Masters Tournament
  • Tiger Woods — 2000 Open Championship
  • Rory McIlroy — 2011 U.S. Open
  • Rory McIlroy — 2012 PGA Championship
  • Martin Kaymer — 2014 U.S. Open