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Golfers with the most PGA Tour wins of all-time

Apr 14, 2019; Augusta, GA, USA; 2018 winner Patrick Reed places the green jacket on 2019 winner Tiger Woods after the final round of The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

The all-time PGA Tour wins list is full of golf legends, headlined by none other than the arguable GOAT himself, Tiger Woods.

Reigning PGA Championship winner Phil Mickelson also ranks among the winningest golfers ever, but do continue reading to learn more about several other giants of the game who deserve their due recognition and rank in the top 10 for most PGA Tour victories.

T1. Tiger Woods & Sam Snead, 82 PGA Tour wins

T1. Tiger Woods & Sam Snead, 82 PGA Tour wins
Sep 23, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Tiger Woods reacts to win the Tour Championship golf tournament at East Lake Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Any casual sports fan knows all about Tiger Woods‘ dominance, which has fundamentally changed golf over the past quarter-century or so. Before going deep on his epic PGA Tour tenure, let’s first take a closer look at Sam Snead.

Snead’s wins spanned from 1936 through 1965, and in his final victory, he won the Greater Greensboro Open — now called the Wyndham Championship — for the eighth time. No one has won a single PGA Tour event as many times as Snead won that tournament.

In addition to his prowess on the regular tour, Snead collected seven major titles to add to his overall win total. Snead won the Masters and PGA Championship three times apiece, as well as the Open Championship in 1946. The only leg of the career Grand Slam he missed was the U.S. Open, where he was a four-time runner-up.

OK, now let’s get into Woods. Here are the highlights from Tiger’s record-tying 82nd victory at the 2019 Zozo Championship:

Tiger has defied the odds time and again, whether it’s recovering from major injuries, rebuilding his swing or rebounding from personal life struggles outside the ropes. He went more than five years between victories from the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in 2013 to his 2018 Tour Championship triumph.

That breakthrough in the FedEx Cup finale foreshadowed Woods’ return to major glory at the 2019 Masters, which is among the most incredible wins and comeback stories in sports history. It marked Woods’ fifth green jacket and 15th major, putting him only three behind Jack Nicklaus for the all-time mark.

On the regular PGA Tour, Woods has twice matched Snead’s achievement of winning a single event eight times at the aforementioned Bridgestone Invitational and at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

3. Jack Nicklaus, 73 PGA Tour wins

3. Jack Nicklaus, 73 PGA Tour wins
May 1980; Unknown Location, USA; FILE PHOTO; Jack Nicklaus in action during the 1980 PGA tour season. Mandatory Credit: Malcolm Emmons- USA TODAY Sports

What’s perhaps most incredible about Jack Nicklaus’ career beyond his unmatched major total is how many close calls he actually had at the four Grand Slam events. In addition to his 18 wins, the Golden Bear logged 19 second-place finishes.

Considering how relatively close behind the all-time PGA Tour wins mark Nicklaus sits in proximity to Snead and Woods, those near-misses at majors have to sting a little more.

However, Nicklaus was one of the most mentally tough players the game has ever seen, and claims to have selective memory loss about the marquee events he lost. That’s part of what made him so great.

Nicklaus won six Masters, four U.S. Opens, three Open Championships and five PGA Championships, completing the career Grand Slam several times over. He and Harry Vardon are the only six-time champions at a single major.

The last time he claimed glory at Augusta National Golf Club on a Masters Sunday, Nicklaus was 46, and that proved to be his final PGA Tour victory.

4. Ben Hogan, 64 PGA Tour wins

4. Ben Hogan, 64 PGA Tour wins
May 26, 2016; Fort Worth, TX, USA; Statue of Ben Hogan at the entrance to Colonial Country Club during the first round of the 2016 Dean & Deluca Invitational. at Colonial Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

There may never have been a better ball-striker in the history of golf than Ben Hogan. His steely determination, tireless work ethic on the driving range and perfection of his swing mechanics forged The Hawk into a nine-time major champion and prolific PGA Tour winner.

In his home state of Texas, Hogan won the Colonial National Invitation — now known as the Charles Schwab Challenge — five times, and is tied with Nicklaus, Bobby Jones and Willie Anderson for the record of four U.S. Open wins.

Hogan had his career impeded by serving in the Army during World War II and a near-fatal car accident in 1949 that caused severe injuries. His 1950 U.S. Open victory is therefore considered one of the crowning achievements in golf and all of sports.

5. Arnold Palmer, 62 PGA Tour wins

5. Arnold Palmer, 62 PGA Tour wins
1979; Unknown location, USA; FILE PHOTO; PGA golfer Arnold Palmer signs autographs for fans during the 1979 season. Mandatory Credit: Tony Tomsic-USA TODAY NETWORK

While Tiger Woods lifted golf into another stratosphere in terms of coolness and accessibility, in the earlier days of television, when golf was still searching for a solid audience, Arnold Palmer was the catalyst who helped the sport explode with popularity.

Beyond his undeniable star power, though, The King is one of golf’s greatest champions. Palmer had one of the most dominant stretches of all-time from 1960 through 1963, in which he won a whopping 32 times.

6. Byron Nelson, 52 PGA Tour wins

6. Byron Nelson, 52 PGA Tour wins
May 19, 2016; Irving, TX, USA; Statue of Byron Nelson during the first round of the 2016 AT&T Byron Nelson golf tournament at TPC Four Seasons Resort – Las Colinas. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

The achievement Byron Nelson will always be best known for is his streak of 11 straight victories in 1945. He won 18 times that year alone, which wouldn’t be a bad career at all for anyone. What’s crazy is, Nelson ranks this high on the all-time PGA Tour wins list despite retiring at age 34.

No one had ever even reached 50 wins on tour, so when Nelson started piling up trophies at such a crazy clip, it was truly mind-blowing at the time. Like Palmer, too, Nelson has a tournament named after him that still runs on the PGA Tour to this day.

7. Billy Casper, 51 PGA Tour wins

7. Billy Casper, 51 PGA Tour wins
Oct 1968; Costa Mesa, CA, USA: FILE PHOTO; Billy Casper in action during the Haig National Open, Oct 21-27 at Mesa Verde Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Darryl Norenberg-USA TODAY NETWORK

To get a sense of how good Billy Casper was, consider that he won the PGA Tour’s Vardon Trophy five times — which is awarded each season for the lowest scoring average — and also also won at a clip of 9.2%. In golf, that’s quite an excellent percentage.

Casper was a strong chipper and putter who competed with many of the other stars on this list in their primes. Because his game wasn’t as much of a superstar as, say, Nicklaus or Palmer, he often gets a little overlooked.

In fact, Casper went head-to-head with Palmer and came out on top in one of the most thrilling finishes ever.

At the 1966 U.S. Open, he was paired with Palmer for the final round. When they made the turn to the back nine, Palmer was seven strokes ahead. Amazingly, Casper rallied to tie in regulation, and then topped Palmer in an 18-hole playoff for one of his three major championships.

T8. Phil Mickelson & Walter Hagen, 45 PGA Tour wins

T8. Phil Mickelson & Walter Hagen, 45 PGA Tour wins
May 23, 2021; Kiawah Island, South Carolina, USA; Phil Mickelson poses for a portrait with the Wanamaker Trophy after winning the PGA Championship golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

On the strength of his PGA Championship triumph, which made him the oldest major champion ever, Phil Mickelson tied Walter Hagen for eighth on the all-time PGA Tour wins list.

Mickelson was already a Hall of Famer and had little left to prove at this stage of his career. Nevertheless, he’s continued to grind and has proven he can still compete with the world’s best. All that’s really missing from his resume is a U.S. Open victory, and he should still have at least a few years left to take a crack at that.

As for Hagen, well, he burst onto the scene at the 1914 U.S. Open for his first PGA Tour victory in his early 20s and never looked back. He won at a prolific rate, and became a pioneer for endorsements and higher prize money who was also golf’s first-ever millionaire.

T10. Tom Watson & Cary Middlecoff, 39 PGA Tour wins

T10. Tom Watson & Cary Middlecoff, 39 PGA Tour wins
04/12/1979; Augusta, Georgia, USA; Tom Watson hits ball at the Augusta National GC during the 1979 Masters. Mandatory Credit: File Photo -The Augusta Chronicle via USA TODAY NETWORK

Being in your prime at the same time as Jack Nicklaus makes for some stiff competition, but Tom Watson never backed down. He was a pure ball-striker and phenomenal putter in his heyday, and had the game to travel anywhere and thrive under any conditions.

Watson won the Open Championship five times and was a steady winner in the 1960s, ’70s and early ’80s. Even after his supposed prime was over, Watson won the Nicklaus-hosted Memorial Tournament in 1996 — nearly nine years removed from his last PGA Tour win — and got one more “W” at Colonial in May 1998.

Although Cary Middlecoff isn’t as well-known, he won three majors and actually got his first win as an amateur at the 1945 North and South Open, which was a huge tournament at the time. In the 1950s, Middlecoff racked up 28 victories, and only played 15 seasons on tour. That’s a much shorter tenure than most players on this list.