The 10 Greatest Ever Golf Seasons

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In 2015, Jordan Spieth put together one of the greatest years in the history of professional golf. Spieth who began the year aged 21, won two majors and three other tournaments en route to FedEx Cup glory, earning more than $22 million and overhauling Rory McIlroy at the top of the world rankings. But how does Spieth's 2015 season compare to other great years in golf history? We rank the 10 finest, in ascending order. 

10. Lee Trevino, 1971

lee-trevino-1971

Total wins: 6 
Majors: 2 
Stroke average: 70.27

Six wins included a span of 20 days when he was unbeatable. He defeated Nicklaus in an 18-hole play-off at the US Open, then won the Canadian Open, followed by his first Claret Jug at Royal Birkdale. He also won Sports Illustrated magazine's 'Sportsman of the Year'. 

9. Tom Watson, 1977

tom-watson-1977

Wins: 5
Majors: 2
Stroke average: 70.32

The duel in the sun with Nicklaus at Turnberry is almost enough in itself, with Watson closing the weekend 65, 65 to his arch rival’s 65, 66. But he began the year in similar fashion by beating Jack into second place at the Masters, too.

8. Gary Player, 1974

gary-player-1974

Total wins: 10
Majors: 2
Stroke average: 70.92

The Black Knight won tournaments in Brazil, Spain, Australia, America, Britain and his native South Africa. OK, some of those didn’t feature great fields, but he was golf’s first truly global icon. Plus, in nine career major triumphs, the Masters and The Open in 1974 was the only time he won more than one major in a season. 

7. Arnold Palmer, 1960

arnold-palmer-1960

Total wins: 8
Majors: 2
Stroke average: unknown

It’s a toss-up as to whether Arnie’s best year was in 1960 or 1962. In the latter he won the Masters and Open, but lost to Nicklaus in a US Open playoff. In 1960, he won the first two majors but was edged out by Kel Nagle by a shot at The Open.

6. Jack Nicklaus, 1972

jack-nicklaus-1972

Total wins: 7
Majors: 2
Stroke average: 70.23 

The best player ever was never one to cram too much jaw-dropping brilliance into one season, athough his seven wins in 1972 included a valiant attempt at a Grand Slam. Trevino's chip-in on 17 at Muirfield meant Nicklaus finished runner-up at The Open, having already won The Masters and US Open. 

5. Jordan Spieth, 2015

jordan-spieth-us-open

Total wins: 5
Majors: 2
Stroke average: 68.91

The Texan won the Masters and US Open and had a 54-under-par aggregate total in the majors, finishing 1st, 1st, tied-fourth and 2nd in the four. Only Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus had previously been in the top four in every major in a season. Spieth then collected the FedEx Cup and Tour Championship, becoming the youngest player to win five times in a season since Horton Smith in 1929. 

4. Byron Nelson, 1945

byron-nelson

Total Wins: 18
Majors: 1
Stroke average: 68.33

Nelson only won one major in 1945, but it was the only one he played, the US PGA. He also clocked up another 17 victories, including 11 in a row. It would have been 12 if a 36-hole event had been allowed to count. Nelson also managed 19 consecutive rounds in the 60s.

3. Ben Hogan, 1953

ben-hogan

Total wins: 5
Majors: 3
Stroke average: 70.35

Hogan played a restricted schedule following an horrific car crash in 1949, which makes his 1953 exploits all the more remarkable. Three major wins and he couldn’t play the fourth because it clashed with the third. He won the Masters by five, the US Open by six and The Open by four.

2. Bobby Jones, 1930

bobby-jones

Total wins: 5
Majors: 4
Stroke average: unknown

The majors in Jones’ day comprised of the Open and Amateur championships of Britain and America. Jones won all four of them and then retired. He also won the Southeastern Open against the top professionals of the era.

1. Tiger Woods, 2000

tiger-woods-2000

Total wins: 9
Majors: 3
Stroke average: 67.7

To hold all four major titles at the same time is ‘slam’ enough for most and it was the year 2000 that paved the way to Tiger doing exactly this. Tiger won the US Open at Pebble Beach by an astonishing 15 shots, The Open at St Andrews by eight and the US PGA in a play-off.

Can you think of any we've missed?