Better know a lefty: Your guide to left-handed players on the PGA Tour
By Dan McDonald
About 10 percent of the world’s population is left-handed. But within the world of golf, that number gets even smaller, as only about 5 percent of the PGA Tour is left-handed.
Despite the small number of lefties that have played at golf’s highest level, they have made a big impact on the sport, accounting for 82 PGA Tour victories and 9 major championships.
Australian Bob Charles became the first lefty to win on the PGA Tour in 1963 at the Houston Open. Later that year, he also became the first lefty to win a major championship when he captured the Claret Jug at The Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club. Charles would go on to win four more times on the PGA Tour and finished his career with 76 wins worldwide.
A decade later, Sam Adams became the first American lefty to win on the PGA Tour when he snagged his only Tour win at the 1973 Quad Cities Open.
Today, there are seven left-handers on the PGA Tour. Here’s a look at each:
Turned pro: 1992
College: Arizona State University
PGA Tour wins: 43 (1991 Northern Telecom Open; 1993 Buick Invitational of California; 1993 The International; 1994 Mercedes Championships; 1995 Northern Telecom Open; 1996 Nortel Open; 1996 Phoenix Open; 1996 GTE Byron Nelson Golf Classic; 1996 NEC World Series of Golf; 1997 Bay Hill Invitational; 1997 Sprint Invitational; 1998 Mercedes Championships; 1998 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am; 2000 Buick Invitational; 2000 BellSouth Classic; 2000 MasterCard Colonial; 2000 The Tour Championship; 2001 Buick Invitational; 2001 Canon Greater Hartford Open; 2002 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic; 2002 Canon Greater Hartford Open; 2004 Masters Tournament; 2005 FBR Open; 2005 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am; 2005 BellSouth Classic; 2005 PGA Championship; 2006 BellSouth Classic; 2006 Masters Tournament; 2007 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am; 2007 The Players Championship; 2007 Deutsche Bank Championship; 2008 Northern Trust Open; 2008 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial; 2009 Northern Trust Open; 2009 WGC-CA Championship; 2009 The Tour Championship; 2010 Masters Tournament; 2011 Shell Houston Open; 2012 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am; 2013 Waste Management Phoenix Open; 2013 The Open Championship; 2018 WGC-Mexico Championship)
Notes: Mickelson won three individual NCAA Championships during his time at Arizona State, a record which he shares with Ben Crenshaw, who accomplished that feat at Texas. Mickelson was the first lefty to win the U.S. Amateur title in 1990 and won low amateur honors at the Masters in 1991.
Turned pro: 2001
College: Faulkner State C.C., transferred to University of Georgia
PGA Tour wins: 12 (2010 Travelers Championship; 2011 Farmers Insurance Open; 2011 Zurich Classic of New Orleans; 2012 Masters Tournament; 2014 Northern Trust Open; 2014 Masters Tournament; 2014 WGC-HSBC Champions; 2015 Travelers Championship; 2016 Northern Trust Open; 2018 Genesis Open; 2018 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play; 2018 Travelers Championship)
Notes: Watson has reached as high as No. 2 on the Official World Golf Ranking. He’s known for his unique, self-taught swing style and trick shots on and off the course, including this impressive wedge putt during the 2018 Masters Par 3 contest:
Turned pro: 1992
PGA Tour wins: 8 (1999 Air Canada Championship; 2000 WGC-American Express Championship; 2001 The Tour Championship; 2003 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic; 2003 Nissan Open; 2003 Masters Tournament; 2004 Nissan Open; 2007 Fry's Electronics Open)
Notes: Weir spent 110 weeks from 2001 to 2005 in the top 10 of the Official World Golf Ranking. In 2010, Weir was selected as No. 12 on a list of Canada's 100 Greatest Athletes of All Time.
Turned pro: 2009
College: University of Georgia
PGA Tour wins: 2 (2014 John Deere Classic; 2017 Wells Fargo Championship)
Notes: Harman is one of only three players to ever make two holes-in-one during the same round on the PGA Tour. He accomplished this feat during the final round of the 2015 Barclays at Plainfield Country Club.
Ted Potter, Jr.
Turned pro: 2002
College: Turned pro out of high school
PGA Tour wins: 2 (2012 Greenbrier Classic; 2018 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am)
Notes: Potter, Jr. won the 2013 Masters Par 3 contest. Everything you need to know about Ted Potter, Jr.
Turned pro: 1995
PGA Tour wins: 1 (2016 Barracuda Championship)
Notes: Chalmers’ PGA Tour win came after 18 years and 386 PGA Tour starts, which is one of the longest waits in Tour history. The Australian native has held off the likes of Tiger Woods and Adam Scott during his career to capture Australian major championships.
Turned pro: 2013
College: University of Texas
PGA Tour wins: 1 (2016 Sanderson Farms Championship)
Notes: Gribble played on the winning 2012 NCAA National Championship team with current PGA Tour players Jordan Spieth and Dylan Frittelli. Gribble gained some notoriety on social media at the 2017 Arnold Palmer Invitational when he moved an alligator off the fairway and back into a pond on the course.
Here's the full list of left-handed players who have won PGA Tour events:
- Sam Adams (1)
- Eric Axley (1)
- Russ Cochran (1)
- Greg Chalmers (1)
- Bob Charles (6, 1 major)
- Steve Flesch (4)
- Ernie Gonzalez (1)
- Cody Gribble (1)
- Brian Harman (2)
- Phil Mickelson (43, 5 majors)
- Ted Potter, Jr. (2)
- Bubba Watson (12, 2 majors)
- Mike Weir (8, 1 major)