Youngest Golfers to Win 3 Major Championships

Jordan Spieth teeing off in Australia in 2017

Only around 50 golfers in the history of men's pro golf have won three or more major championships. (See the list of golfers with the most wins in majors.) Of those golfers that have won at least three majors, who were the youngest golfers to do it?

We'll look at this question on a couple different time scales, beginning with the period 1934-present. Why 1934? That's the year The Masters was first played, joining the Open Championship, U.S. Open and PGA Championship — the same four tournaments that make up the four majors today.

Youngest Since 1934 to Win Third Major

  • Jack Nicklaus, age 23: Nicklaus' third major was won when he was 23 years old, at the 1963 PGA Championship. He'd previously won the U.S. Open in 1962 (also his first PGA Tour win) and The Masters in 1963. He went on to win 15 more majors for a total of 18.

  • Jordan Spieth, 23: Less than a week from turning 24, Spieth won the 2017 British Open for his third. Having already won Masters and U.S. Open titles, Spieth thus joined Nicklaus as the only golfers to win three different pro majors before turning 24. Spieth is still searching for his fourth.

  • Tiger Woods, age 24: The 2000 U.S. Open (the one Tiger won by 15 shots) was Woods' third win in a major. He'd previously won the 1997 Masters and the 1999 PGA Championship. He went on to win 12 more majors for 15 total.

  • Rory McIlroy, age 25: Having previously won U.S. Open and PGA Championship titles, McIlroy notched major victory No. 3 at the 2014 British Open. Just a few weeks later he added his fourth with another PGA crown, but he's been stuck on four major wins since that year.

  • Seve Ballesteros, age 26: Seve just missed getting his third while still 25. He won the 1983 Masters two days after turning 26. He won another two after that for five total.

  • Gary Player, age 26: The Black Knight won his third major at 26, as well, but was older than Seve. Player was 26 years, 8 months old at the time he won the 1962 PGA Championship. He went on to win another six majors, giving him nine total.

  • Peter Thomson, age 26: Thomson was about a month shy of his 27th birthday when he won his third Open Championship title in 1956. He won five total, all at The Open.

Going Back Farther

What if we go back farther than 1934? After all, the PGA Championship dates to 1916, the U.S. Open to 1895 and the British Open all the way to 1860.

This leads us to the all-time recordholder for youngest golfer to win his third major: Young Tom Morris. Morris won his first Open in 1868 when he was 17, and then he won the next two. So Tommy Jr. was only 19 at the time of his third major. Of course, professional tournament golf barely existed at that time, and there were no more than 20 golfers entered in any of Morris' first three Open wins. The concept of "majors" was far off in the future. This is why many golf records distinguish between pre-1900 and post-1900 eras.

Youngest to Win 3 Majors Since 1900

If we focus only on 1900 and after, here are the youngest golfers to win a third major:
  • 21 years old — Gene Sarazen
  • 23 years old — Jack Nicklaus, Jordan Spieth
  • 24 years old — Tiger Woods, Bobby Jones
  • 25 years old — Rory McIlroy
  • 26 years old — Seve Ballesteros, Gary Player, Peter Thomson
  • 27 years old — Tom Watson
  • 28 years old — Walter Hagen, Byron Nelson, Brooks Koepka
And a few others for the sake of comparison: Arnold Palmer was 30 when he won his third major; Lee Trevino 31, Nick Faldo 32, Phil Mickelson 35, and Ben Hogan and Sam Snead were 36.

And the Youngest Woman to Win a Third Major

What about the youngest woman to win a third major? In the LPGA Tour era, the recordholder is Yani Tseng, who won her third major at age 21. In fact, Tseng was about a month younger than Sarazen was when Sarazen won his third, making her the youngest, male or female, in the "modern" era. For comparison's sake, Mickey Wright was 24 when she won her third major, and Annika Sorenstam was 30.

Photo credit: Jordan Spieth by Justin Falconer from Melbourne, Australia, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Related articles:

PGA Tour Media Guide, All-Time Records, 2024
Media guides of The Open Championship, U.S. Open, PGA Championship and The Masters
Wikipedia, Brooks Koepka,
Wikipedia, Rory McIlroy,
Wikipedia, Jordan Spieth,

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