Amateur Winners in Golf Majors Plus Best Finishes Since

Justin Rose finished in the Top 5 of a pro major as an amateur
How many amateur golfers have won a men's professional major? Have any amateur golfers come close to winning lately? We can aswer those questions, so let's get to it.

The four pro majors in men's golf are The Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship. The PGA Championship does not invite any amateur golfers, so that major is not part of the discussion.

But the other three do allow amateurs, and the U.S. Open and British Open have both been won by amateurs. But not since 1933.

The answer to how many amateurs have won a major is eight, and those eight golfers combined for 14 wins (seven of them by Bobby Jones alone). All of those wins happened prior to 1934.

And while it has been rare for amateurs to finish high in a pro major since then, it does occasionally happen. We went through each major's history year-by-year looking for amateurs who've finished in the Top 5 since the last time any amateur won. It's a short list, but we have it.

Note that the British Open is the only major in which amateurs have recorded Top 5 finishes since 1972.

Amateurs in The Masters


Top 5 Finishes (Founded in 1934)

Amateurs in the U.S. Open

Winners Top 5 Finishes Since 1933
  • Bud Ward, 4th, 1939
  • Bud Ward, 5th, 1947
  • Jack Nicklaus, 2nd, 1960
  • Jack Nicklaus, 4th, 1961
  • Jim Simons, 5th, 1971

Amateurs in the British Open

  • John Ball, 1890
  • Harold Hilton, 1892, 1897
  • Bobby Jones, 1926, 1927, 1930
Top 5 Finishes Since 1930
  • Lawson Little, 4th, 1934
  • Frank Stranahan, 2nd, 1947
  • Frank Stranahan, 2nd, 1953
  • Willie Smith, 5th, 1957
  • Reid Jack, 5th, 1959
  • Justin Rose, 4th, 1998
  • Chris Wood, 5th, 2008

Photo credit: "Justin Rose" by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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