Multiple Wins Before Age 21 on PGA Tour

The PGA Tour dates to 1916, and the history of some of the major championships goes back farther. And in that long history, winners who are not yet 21 years old are hard to find. There have been only a handful of them — and even fewer who won multiple PGA Tour titles before reaching the age of 21.

The golfer who won the most PGA Tour tournaments before age 21 is Horton Smith. Others multiple winners on the list that follows include Tiger Woods, Gene Sarazen and Ralph Guldahl. It's a very exclusive club.

The Record-Holder: Horton Smith, 6 Wins

Horton Smith burst onto the PGA Tour in 1928 with two victories late in the year, then won another eight times in 1929 — at the time, the most wins in a single-season since the tour's 1916 founding. Four of his 1929 victories happened before his 21st birthday and, combined with those two 1928 wins give Smith six wins before turning 21 years old. And that is twice as many as other golfer has achieved on the PGA Tour before turning 21.

These were Smith's wins before age 21 on the PGA Tour:

  • 1928 Oklahoma City Open: 20 years, 5 months, 13 days old
  • 1928 Catalina Island Open: 20 years, 7 months, 1 day old
  • 1929 Pensacola Open Invitational: 20 years, 8 months, 18 days old
  • 1929 Fort Myers Open: 20 years, 9 months, 10 days old
  • 1929 La Gorce Open: 20 years, 10 months, 1 day old
  • 1929 North & South Open Championship: 20 years, 10 months, 5 days old
Smith went on to a hall-of-fame career (one thing about winning before age 21: it's a very good indicator that a great career will unfold). He won 30 times total on the PGA Tour, including the 1934 Masters and 1936 Masters. That ranks him in the Top 20 in career wins on the PGA Tour. (He also recorded 37 second-place finishes, seventh-best in tour history.)

The List: Golfers With 2 or More PGA Tour Wins Before Turning 21

  • 6 wins — Horton Smith, 1928-29 (aged 20)
  • 3 wins — Gene Sarazen, 1922 (Southern Open, U.S. Open, PGA Championship, aged 20)
  • 2 wins — Johnny McDermott, 1911-12 (U.S. Open both years, aged 19 and 20)
  • 2 wins — Tom Creavy, 1931 (Northeastern New York PGA, PGA Championship, aged 20)
  • 2 wins — Ralph Guldahl, 1931-32 (1931 Santa Monica Open, aged 19; 1932 Arizona Open, aged 20)
  • 2 wins — Tiger Woods, 1996 (Las Vegas Invitational, Walt Disney World/Oldsmobile Classic, aged 20)
  • 2 wins — Tom Kim, 2022-23 (2022 Wyndham Championship, 2023 Shriners Children's Open, aged 20)
Aside from Smith, Sarazen is the only other golfer younger than 21 to win at least three PGA Tour tournaments. And two of those were majors: Sarazen won the 1922 U.S. Open at age 20 years, 4 months, 18 days; and the 1922 PGA Championship at age 20 years, 5 months, 22 days.

Johnny McDermott won a major at an even younger age than Sarazen: He was 19 years, 10 months, 14 days old when he took the 1911 U.S. Open. That remains the record for youngest U.S. Open winner. McDermott repeated as champ the following year, too, after having lost in a playoff when he was 18 years old at the 1910 U.S. Open. McDermott also won on the young U.S. pro golf tour at the Philadelphia Open in 1910 and 1911, before turning 21. But the PGA Tour's origins trace to 1916, so those wins aren't included above. (His U.S. Open wins are included because the tour counts all major winners as official tour winners.)

McDermott and Guldahl are the two golfers on the list who won at age 19. Only five times in PGA Tour history has a golfer younger than 20 won; the youngest-ever winner was only 18 years old.

Tom Creavy is, today, the least-known of the golfers who make this list. The 1931 PGA Championship winner's last win happened in 1934 when he was still just 23 years old. He slipped in a clubhouse that year, severely wrenching his back, and was never the same player after that.

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