Golfers Who Won 3 of the 4 Majors: Just Short of Career Grand Slam

In men's professional golf, there are four major championships: the British Open, U.S. Open, PGA Championship and Masters. Winning all four of them over the course of one's career is called the Career Grand Slam. There is no special phrase for winning three out of the four, but that is a rare achievement, too.

How many golfers have won three of the four majors — have achieved three-quarters of the Career Grand Slam? So far, only the 12 golfers below. (That's not counting the five so far who did achieve the Career Grand Slam: Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods.)

For each of these 12 golfers, we list the three majors they did win, and their victories in each, plus the one that got away — the one major each they didn't win. And we look at how close they came to getting that fourth major, to completing the Career Grand Slam.

Active Golfers One Major Away from Career Grand Slam

There are three golfers currently active on the PGA Tour who have won three out of the four majors.

Rory McIlroy (4 wins in majors)

  • U.S. Open: 2011
  • British Open: 2014
  • PGA Championship: 2012, 2014
The missing major for McIlroy is The Masters. His best finish so far was solo second (although three strokes behind) at the 2022 Masters. McIlroy has seven Top 10s in The Masters so far, including four Top-5 finishes. At the 2011 Masters, McIlroy took a 4-stroke lead into the final round but shot 80 and dropped to 15th place.

Phil Mickelson (6 wins in majors)

  • Masters: 2004, 2006, 2010
  • British Open: 2013
  • PGA Championship: 2005, 2021
Mickelson's near-misses in the U.S. Open are literally record-breaking: He has finished second six times, two times more than anyone else in tournament history. Those runner-up finishes were in 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2009 and 2013.

At the 1999 U.S. Open, Payne Stewart made a famous putt on the final green to beat Mickelson by one. At the 2004 U.S. Open, Mickelson three-putted from five feet for a double bogey on the second-to-last hole and finished two behind. He doubled bogeyed the last hole of the 2006 U.S. Open and finished one behind. (See our separate article on Mickelson's six second-place finishes in the U.S. Open for more details on all of them.)

Jordan Spieth (3 wins in majors)

  • Masters: 2015
  • U.S. Open: 2015
  • British Open: 2017
The only major missing in Spieth's quest for a Career Grand Slam is the PGA Championship. In the 2015 PGA Championship, Spieth finished solo second, three behind winner Jason Day. He also tied for third in 2019.

Other Golfers Who Won 3 of the 4 Men's Professional Majors

There are nine golfers who completed their tournament careers having won three out of the four majors, missing just one from the Career Grand Slam. But in some early cases, the fourth professional major wasn't even available for them to win — The Masters didn't debut until 1934.

Tommy Armour (3 wins in majors)

Armour had wins in the U.S. Open, PGA Championship and British Open, but not in The Masters.
  • U.S. Open: 1927
  • British Open: 1931
  • PGA Championship: 1930
Armour was 37 years old when The Masters was first played in 1934, but didn't play that tournament until the following year. He wound up making seven starts in The Masters, all of them past his prime, but Armour did tie for eighth in the 1937 Masters.

Jim Barnes (4 wins in majors)

Jim Barnes won the very first PGA Championship in 1916, and was the second golfer (after Walter Hagen) to win all three of the pro majors that existed prior to The Masters.
  • U.S. Open: 1921
  • British Open: 1925
  • PGA Championship: 1916, 1919
Barnes never played in The Masters. His final start in any major happened in 1932, two years before the first Masters Tournament.

Raymond Floyd (4 wins in majors)

The British Open is the missing major for Floyd.
  • Masters: 1976
  • U.S. Open: 1986
  • PGA Championship: 1969, 1982
Floyd skipped the Open Championship a few times early in his career, but once he began playing it regularly he challenged in a few years. In the 1978 British Open, Floyd tied for second place, two strokes behind Nicklaus. He also had finishes of tied third, fourth and eighth in the Open.

Walter Hagen (11 wins in majors)

"The Haig" was the first golfer to win all three of the professional majors that existed prior to the founding of The Masters. His 11 total wins in those three tournaments was the all-time record for most wins in majors until bettered by Jack Nicklaus.
  • U.S. Open: 1914, 1919
  • British Open: 1922, 1924, 1928, 1928
  • PGA Championship: 1921, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927
Hagen was 41 years old and well past his prime by the time of the first Masters in 1934 (he won only two more Tour events afterward). But he did tie for 13th place in that 1934 Masters. He played in only four Masters (he started two others but withdrew) with a best finish of tied 11th in 1936.

Byron Nelson (5 wins in majors)

Nelson never won the British Open but, then, he almost never tried.
  • Masters: 1937, 1942
  • U.S. Open: 1939
  • PGA Championship: 1940, 1945
Due to the travel times and expenses, it was common for American golfers of Nelson's time (and earlier, and even into the 1960s/1970s) to skip the British Open. (There were also many years in which the British Open and PGA Championship were played too close together on the schedule, some years they even overlapped.) Nelson played the British Open only twice. In 1937, the year of his first major win, he finished fifth. In 1955, when Nelson was 43 years old and mostly retired from tournament play, he tied for 32nd.

Arnold Palmer (7 wins in majors)

The PGA Championship is the one major Palmer never won.
  • Masters: 1958, 1960, 1962, 1964
  • U.S. Open: 1960
  • British Open: 1961, 1962
Palmer's best finish in the PGA Championship was tied for second, three times — 1964, 1968 and 1970. Palmer trailed by one after the second and third rounds of the 1964 PGA Championship, but finished three behind Bobby Nichols. On the final hole of the 1968 PGA Championship, Palmer hooked his drive into trees, then played a tremendous recovery shot onto the green. But he missed an 8-foot putt that would have gotten him into a playoff. He finished two behind the winner in 1970 after starting the final round five strokes off the lead.

Sam Snead (7 wins in majors)

Snead won a record 82 tournaments in his PGA Tour career. But he never won a U.S. Open.
  • Masters: 1949, 1952, 1954
  • British Open: 1946
  • PGA Championship: 1942, 1949, 1951
Snead finished solo second in the U.S. Open the very first time he played it, in 1937. But he never took that final step to winning it, even though he did move up the leaderboard: In the 1947 U.S. Open, Snead tied for first with Lew Worsham, but lost in the 18-hole playoff, 69 to 70. Snead led Worsham by two strokes with three holes to play in regulation, but couldn't keep the lead, and, after some last-green Worsham gamesmanship, Snead missed a 2 1/2-foot putt that would have won it. Then, in the playoff, Snead bogeyed the last hole to hand Worsham the win.

Snead tied for second in the 1949 U.S. Open, one stroke behind winner Cary Middlecoff. In the 1953 U.S. Open, Snead was solo second to Ben Hogan, but a distant six shots back. Snead was not the runner-up in the 1939 U.S. Open, but he would have won it had he parred the final hole. Snead, however, thought he needed a birdie on that hole, so he played aggressively, botched the hole, made triple bogey, and fell into a tie for fifth.

Lee Trevino (6 wins in majors)

The Masters is the one major that Trevino failed to win.
  • U.S. Open: 1968, 1971
  • British Open: 1971, 1972
  • PGA Championship: 1974, 1984
Trevino's best finish in The Masters was tied for 10th place, which he achieved in 1975 and 1985. Trevino was not a fan of Augusta National Golf Club — the course or the membership — and skipped The Masters several times in the early 1970s when he was at the height of his game.

Tom Watson (8 wins in majors)

Like Palmer, Watson was never able to claim a PGA Championship win.
  • Masters: 1977, 1981
  • U.S. Open: 1982
  • British Open: 1975, 1977, 1980, 1982, 1983
Watson had 10 career Top 10 finishes in the PGA Championship, but only two of those were Top 5. He was solo fifth in the 1993 PGA Championship. His best finish was tied for second in the 1978 PGA Championship. Watson took a five-stroke lead into the final round in 1978, but shot 73 and wound up in a three-way tie with John Mahaffey and Jerry Pate. Mahaffey won the sudden-death playoff on the second extra hole.

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