Oldies but goodies: Top 10 PGA Tour wins by players age 45 and over


Jack Nicklaus, pictured during the final round of the 1986 Masters

(Getty Images)

Rod Pampling won the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open Sunday at age 47 years, 1 month and 14 days. He became the oldest player to win the annual PGA Tour event in Las Vegas, snapping a streak of five straight years in which the Shriners champion was in his 20s.

So that got us thinking: What are the best PGA Tour victories by a golfer age 45 or older?

Here is our list of 10 favorites (well, No. 10 was a tie, so 11):

• • •

10a. John Barnum, 1962 Cajun Classic

Age: 51 years, 1 month, 5 days

Barnum is still the PGA Tour record holder for oldest first-time winner. The six-shot victory at Oakbourne Country Club in Lafayette, La., was Barnum’s only Tour triumph. He died 1996 at the age of 85.

• • •

10b. Art Wall Jr., 1975 Greater Milwaukee Open

Age: 51 years, 7 months, 10 days

Wall edged Gary McCord by a shot at Tuckaway Country Club for his 14th and final PGA Tour title – and first since winning the 1966 Insurance City Open.

• • •

9. Davis Love III, 2015 Wyndham Championship

Age: 51 years, 4 months, 10 days

Before Love beat Jason Gore by a shot at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C., for his 21st PGA Tour win, he hadn’t won since the 2008 Children’s Miracle Network Classic. Love is still enjoying his two-year exemption he received for that victory, too.

• • •

8. Johnny Miller, 1994 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am

Age: 46 years, 9 months, 8 days

Seven years after he won the 1987 title at Pebble Beach, Miller won by a shot over four players, including Tom Watson. After his win, Miller delivered this gem of a quote: “That didn’t really happen. It was a mirage. It was weird, like the whole thing wasn’t happening. I had this strange sense of calm.”

• • •

7. Fred Funk, 2005 Players Championship

Age: 48 years, 9 months, 14 days

Funk won the 2007 Mayakoba Golf Classic at age 50 for his eighth Tour win, but his victory at TPC Sawgrass in 2005 is much more memorable. Funk opened with a 65 that year and eventually won by a shot over Luke Donald, Tom Lehman and Scott Verplank.

• • •

6. Sam Snead, 1965 Greater Greensboro Open

Age: 52 years, 10 months, 8 days

To this day, Snead is still the oldest player to win a PGA Tour event. He won at Sedgefield Country Club in 1965 for his 82nd Tour title, which is also a Tour record.

• • •

5. Jerry Barber, 1961 PGA Championship

Age: 45 years, 3 months, 6 days

Barber first and only major victory came via a playoff against Don January at Olympia Fields (Ill.) Country Club. He then won his seventh and final PGA Tour title two years later at the 1963 Azalea Open. Barber died in 1994 at 78 years old.

• • •

4. Old Tom Morris, 1867 British Open

Age: 46 years, 99 days

For some reason, it’s hard to find video of Tom’s win, color photos or any Tweets about this one. The news of this victory likely first reached the United States via telegraph cable laid beneath the Atlantic Ocean. A task first completed in 1858. Old Tom’s fourth Claret Jug certainly deserves a spot on this list.

• • •

3. Hale Irwin, 1990 U.S. Open

Age: 45 years, 15 days

Irwin won three U.S. Open titles, his last coming after he shot a final-round 67 and then beat Mike Donald in a playoff at Medinah (Ill.) Country Club. And who could forget that putt he made on his 72nd hole to force that playoff?

• • •

2. Julius Boros, 1968 PGA Championship

Age: 48 years, 4 months, 18 days

Boros is still the oldest player to win a major thanks to his triumph at Pecan Valley Golf Club in San Antonio, Texas. Boros shot 1-over 281 to beat Arnold Palmer and Bob Charles by a shot. Boros died in 1994 at 74 years old and Pecan Valley closed down in 2012.

• • •

1. Jack Nicklaus, 1986 Masters

Age: 46 years, 2 months, 23 days

Yes sir! Nicklaus’ 18th and final major victory is No. 1 on this list by a landslide. Nicklaus shot 30 on the back nine as part of a closing 7-under 65 at Augusta National to win by a shot over Greg Norman and Tom Kite. It was Nicklaus’ sixth Masters victory, a record, and it came 23 years after his first green jacket, which he won in 1963.

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