Has a Teen-Ager Ever Won on the PGA Tour?

Yes, the PGA Tour, whose history traces back to 1916, has had a handful of teen-aged champions. So far, five golfers still in their teens have recorded wins in official PGA Tour tournaments. The youngest of them was only 18.

Teens Who Won PGA Tour Tournaments

Chuck Kocsis, 18 years old

Chuck Kocsis wasn't just 18 years old when he won the 1931 Michigan Open — he was an 18-year-old amateur. And at age 18 years, 6 months and 9 days, he is the youngest winner in PGA Tour history. Kocsis also had to beat tour legend Tommy Armour in an 18-hole playoff to take the trophy, which he did by one stroke, 73 to 74. Kocsis was a lifelong amateur and did not have any other wins on the pro tour.

(Related: See Youngest Winners on the PGA Tour for a longer list of the tour's all-time youngest champs, plus the youngest winners since 1970.)

'Lighthorse' Harry Cooper, 19 years old

Harry Cooper, nicknamed Lighthorse because he played fast, just missed winning as an 18-year-old. He was 19 years and four days old when he won the 1923 Galveston Open. It was three years before he won again on tour, but then he won a lot: 29 career victories, which ranks him high on the list of golfers with the most PGA Tour wins.

Ralph Guldahl, 19 years old

Ralph Guldahl won the 1931 Santa Monica Open at the age of 19 years, 2 months and three days old. (He had another tour win at age 20.) Frustrated with a slump a few years later, Guldahl quit the tour to sell cars. But he eventually decided to return to golf. Good decision! He went on win three majors, the 1937 and 1938 U.S. Opens, plus the 1939 Masters.

John McDermott, 19 years old

McDermott is the only teen-aged major championship winner on this list. His victory in the 1911 U.S. Open happened when he was 19 years, 10 months and 14 days old, and came one year after he lost in a playoff at age 18 in the 1910 U.S. Open. McDermott won the USGA national championship again in 1912. Alas, mental health issues forced him out of golf when he was only 23 years old.

Jordan Spieth, 19 years old

The fifth and most-recent golfer to win as a teen-ager on the PGA Tour is Spieth, whose victory in the 2013 John Deere Classic happened when he was 19 years, 11 months and 18 days old. Spieth faced Zach Johnson and David Hearn in a three-way playoff in that tournament and won it on the fifth sudden-death hole.

Since winners of the British Open going back to that major's founding in the 1860s are credited with official PGA Tour wins, Young Tom Morris also deserves mention. Morris won the Open Championships of 1868, 1869 and 1970, when he was 17 years old, 18 and 19, respectively. However, the PGA Tour's official record-book only includes tournaments and golfers going back to 1900 for this achievement (teen winners on tour).

Related articles:

espn.com. "Jordan Spieth, 19, takes John Deere," July 14, 2013, https://www.espn.com/golf/story/_/id/9477785/jordan-spieth-wins-pga-tour-john-deere-classic
Fields, Bill. espn.com, "McDermott's sad tale after Open wins," https://www.espn.com/golf/usopen04/news/story?id=1823757
PGA Tour. The Official 2022-23 PGA Tour Media Guide.
Shefter, David. USGA.org, "Kocsis, Amateur Runner-Up, Dies at 93," https://web.archive.org/web/20110511152317/http://www.usga.org/news/2006/June/Kocsis-Dies-At-93/
World Golf Hall of Fame. "Harry Cooper," https://worldgolfhalloffame.org/harry-cooper/
World Golf Hall of Fame. "Ralph Guldahl," https://worldgolfhalloffame.org/ralph-guldahl/

Popular posts from this blog

Ryder Cup Captains: The Full List