Largest Margin of Victory in a Golf Major

Tiger Woods had the largest margin of victory in a golf major

Which golfer recorded the largest margin of victory in one of the major championships of men's professional golf? Who won a major by the most strokes? Below you'll find the answer to that question, along with a longer list of the largest margins of victories in majors.

So far in the history of The Masters, PGA Championship, U.S. Open and British Open, a golfer has won by eight or more strokes 16 times. Six of those times, the margin was double-digits. But since 1900, there have been only two double-digit wins in a major, and both were by the same golfer.

The Record: 15 Strokes by Tiger Woods

The all-time record for biggest winning margin in a golf major is 15 strokes, set by Tiger Woods at the 2000 U.S. Open, played at Pebble Beach. That was the year Woods won three of the four majors.

Woods led by one stroke following the first round, six strokes after the second, 10 after the third and 15 at the end. His scores were 65, 69, 71 and 67. He finished at 12-under; nobody else was better than 3-over.

Woods was the first player in U.S. Open history to finish double-digits under par (and just the second to reach double-digits under par at any point in a U.S. Open). And Tiger's 272 total tied the tournament record at the time (since broken). It was the third win in a major championship for Woods, and the 20th win of his PGA Tour career.

The List: Largest Winning Margins in Men's Major Championships

This is the list of all golfers who have won a men's major by at least eight strokes. The golfers' winning stroke totals are listed, as are those golfers who finished as the distant runners-up.
  • 15 strokes — Tiger Woods, 2000 U.S. Open, 272. Runner-up: Ernie Els, Miguel Angel Jimenez
  • 13 strokes — Old Tom Morris, 1862 British Open, 163 (36 holes). Runner-up: Willie Park Sr.
  • 12 strokes — Tiger Woods, 1997 Masters, 270. Runner-up: Tom Kite
  • 12 strokes — Young Tom Morris, 1870 British Open, 149 (36 holes). Runner-up: Bob Kirk
  • 11 strokes — Willie Smith, 1899 U.S. Open, 315. Runners-up: Val Fitzjohn, George Low, Bert Way
  • 11 strokes — Young Tom Morris, 1869 British Open, 157 (36 holes). Runner-up: Bob Kirk
  • 9 strokes — Jack Nicklaus, 1965 Masters, 271. Runners-up: Arnold Palmer, Gary Player
  • 9 strokes — Jim Barnes, 1921 U.S. Open, 289. Runners-up: Walter Hagen, Fred McLeod
  • 8 strokes — Martin Kaymer, 2014 U.S. Open, 271. Runners-up: Erik Compton, Rickie Fowler
  • 8 strokes — Rory McIlroy, 2011 U.S. Open, 268. Runner-up: Jason Day
  • 8 strokes — Rory McIlroy, 2012 PGA Championship, 275. Runner-up: David Lynn
  • 8 strokes — Tiger Woods, 2000 British Open, 269. Runners-up: Thomas Bjorn, Ernie Els
  • 8 strokes — Raymond Floyd, 1976 Masters, 271. Runner-up: Ben Crenshaw
  • 8 strokes — J.H. Taylor, 1913 British Open, 304. Runner-up: Ted Ray
  • 8 strokes — James Braid, 1908 British Open, 291. Runner-up: Tom Ball
  • 8 strokes — J.H. Taylor, 1900 British Open, 309. Runner-up: Harry Vardon
Note that from 1916 through 1957, the PGA Championship used a match play format, with 36-hole championship matches. The largest winning margin during the PGA Championship's match play era was 8-and-7. Paul Runyan won by that score over Sam Snead in the 1938 PGA Championship.

Photo credit: "Tiger Woods" by myophoto is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

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