The widest margin of victory in an official golf tournament is an impressive 16 strokes , and it is not Tiger Woods’ doing. In fact, the champion’s personal best stops at “only” 15 strokes, earning him a very respectable second place in history. Who sits at the top of the podium, then?
Strange as it may seem, that first place is quite crowded.
Old Tom Morris’s record at the British Open
To find the first such large margin of victory we have to go back to the early days of the British Open. It is 1862 and the event is still a novelty. Among the participants that year is one of the first professional golfers in history, Tom Morris Sr. or Old Tom Morris.
Tom participated in the first edition of the tournament and finished second, much to his disappointment. He decided to make up for it and participated again the following year; this time he finished first by a margin of 4 strokes. Excellent, but it can be done better. Old Tom participates in the third edition and this time writes his name in English golf history.
In 1862, Tom Morris entered the British Open for the third time and won for the second time. This time he is not content to beat his opponents: he destroys them by a margin of victory of as many as 13 strokes.
There will never be such a thing again at The Open Championship. To find such an overwhelming victory again will have to pass almost 150 years, when a young Tiger Woods won the 2000 edition by a margin of 8 strokes.
And the best is yet to come.
The record in a major tournament
In 2000, Tiger Woods is no stranger to landslide victories. In 1997, early in his career as a professional golfer, he won The Masters by a margin of 12 strokes. That was also a record-breaking victory, especially since Woods was only 21 years old. There is never an end to the best, though, you know.
After his crushing victory at the 2000 British Open, Tiger Woods is preparing to take on the U.S. Open.
If we consider only the majors, then Tiger Woods truly boasts victory by the largest margin in history. Indeed, in that fateful edition, he defeated Ernie Els and Thomas Bjorn by a margin of as many as 15 strokes. No one will ever be able to emulate that feat again, not even Tiger Woods himself.
Is it possible that someone was able to do better? If we take into account all editions of all official tournaments, there are as many as four people who have passed Woods.
Absolute record splits into 4
In the history of golf, there are four people who have won an official tournament by a margin of 16 points. To be fair, none of these tournaments are majors, and the last victory was in 1948. In all disciplines, today’s athletes are on average much better prepared than those of the past. As a result, it is normal for competition to be tighter and victories to have smaller margins.
Nevertheless, a record remains a record.
Here are the four golfers who have won an official tournament by a margin of 16 points.
- Douglas Edgar, at the 1919 Canadian Open. The man would also win the 1920 edition, although by a far smaller margin. It will be his last victory, as he will be found dead in 1921.
- Joe Kirkwood Sr. during the 1924 Corpus Christi Open. To this day, Kirkwood still holds the record for winning by the largest margin in a PGA Tour event.
- Sam Snead, during the 1936 West Virginia Closed Pro. Snead is one of the professional golfers with the most wins to his credit on the PGA Tour.
- Bobby Locke, at the 1948 Chicago Victory National Championship .
Locke’s is the last victory by a margin of 16 points, for now: golf history is still