There is a reason that everyone loves the four major tournaments year in and year out. Golf’s best and brightest stars are on the biggest stages, duking it out in a memorable four days for signature colored jackets and iconic trophies.
That’s why those who have done it better than anyone else have become immortalized in golf lore. Let’s face it. As good as it makes your golf game feel when seeing a top golfer struggle on a hole or two, we all want to see that under par continue to get lower and lower by the tournament’s finale.
So we decided to take a look at who has done that better than everyone else. What are the lowest scores to win each of the four men's majors?
It was in 1997 at Augusta that a young Eldrick Woods was officially introduced to the world. Though he struggled in the opening round, Tiger led the final three rounds on his way to a record-setting 18-under. Woods became the youngest Masters champion in history and his 18-under, 270 broke Jack Nicklaus (1965) and Raymond Floyd’s (1976) mark of 17-under. Woods defeated Tom Kite by a whopping 12 strokes for yet another record on his memorable day.
Jordan Spieth, just 21 years old as well, later matched Woods' feat, scoring an 18-under to win the 2015 Masters. Spieth became just the fifth golfer to lead wire-to-wire, defeating Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose by four strokes to win his first major.
The U.S. Open
Rory McIlroy came out on fire in the opening round of the 2011 U.S. Open at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland. He shot an opening round six-under and never looked back, leading from start to finish to defeat Jason Day by eight strokes with a 16-under, 268 for his first major. He became just the fifth golfer in U.S. Open history to score under par in all four rounds and was joined by Robert Garrigus who finished tied for third at six-under. In fact, McIlroy shot all four rounds under 70, just the third-ever to do so joining Lee Trevino (1968) and Lee Janzen (1993) in the rare feat.
Brooks Koepka tied the McIlroy’s 16-under in his first of two U.S. Open titles in 2016. He shot an aggregate 272 at Erin Hills in Erin, Wisconsin, however, leaving him just short of tying both of McIlroy’s records.
The Open Championship
Henrik Stenson's one major win was a memorable one, when he took the 2016 Open Championship in record-setting fashion at Royal Troon. Stenson finished a record 20-under par in becoming the first Scandinavian man to win a major. He defeated Phil Mickelson, who had won The Open himself in 2013, by three strokes.
Mickelson actually led the charge, shooting an opening round 63 and leading through two days of the tournament. Stenson jumped ahead on Day 3, and the two battled in an exciting final round on Day 4 that saw Stenson shoot a 63 to Mickelson’s 65. In his four rounds, Stenson never scored above a 68 on the Par-71 course. The result broke Tiger Woods mark of 19-under set in his 2000 Open Championship victory at St. Andrews.
The PGA Championship
Jason Day came out of the opening round of the 2015 PGA Championship in a logjam at third place, four-under and two strokes off the lead of Dustin Johnson at Whistling Straits. He shot five-under in the second round to jump to second, and by that Saturday, he found himself in first place for good. He shot an aggregate 268, recording a 20-under, the lowest score to win a major at the time. Day defeated Jordan Spieth by three strokes to win his first major championship.