Most 2nd-Place Finishes in the PGA Championship

Which golfers have finished second the most times in the PGA Championship? So far, there are five golfers with three runners-up finishes each. But the PGA Championship tournament record for most seconds is four.

The golfer who holds that record with four runners-up is Jack Nicklaus. Nicklaus finished second in 1964, 1965, 1974 and 1983. In the 1964 PGA Championship, Nicklaus tied for second three behind the winner, Bobby Nichols. In 1965, he tied with Billy Casper, two behind Dave Marr. In the 1974 PGA Championship, Nicklaus was solo second, one behind winner Lee Trevino. And in 1983, Nicklaus shot 66 in the final round to very nearly catch the winner, Hal Sutton. Nicklaus finished one behind.

Of course, Nicklaus also won the PGA Championship five times. And that is another tournament record for Nicklaus, one that he still shares.

The List: Most Times PGA Championship Runner-Up

  • 4 times — Jack Nicklaus, 1964, 1965, 1974, 1983
  • 3 times — Byron Nelson, 1939, 1941, 1944
  • 3 times — Billy Casper, 1958, 1965, 1971
  • 3 times — Arnold Palmer, 1964, 1968, 1970
  • 3 times — Lanny Wadkins, 1982, 1984, 1987
  • 3 times — Tiger Woods, 2002, 2009, 2018

Among the three-time winners, Nelson, Wadkins and Woods each also won the tournament — Nelson twice, Wadkins once and Woods four times.

But Casper never won the PGA Championship (he did win three other majors). And most notably, Palmer never won the PGA Championship. The PGA is the only major Palmer didn't win. He tied with Nicklaus behind Nichols in 1964, and in 1968 finished one stroke behind winner Julius Boros. In 1970, near the tail-end of his winning years on the PGA Tour, Palmer tied with Bob Murphy, two strokes behind winner Dave Stockton.

Nelson is the only golfer on the list whose second-place finishes happened during the PGA Championship's match-play era (which ended after 1957). Nelson, also a two-time champion, lost the championship match to Henry Picard in 1939, Vic Ghezzi in 1941 and Bob Hamilton in 1944.

Because his seconds were all match play, Nelson was the solo runner-up all three times. All of Woods' second-place finishes in the PGA Championship were also solo runners-up.

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