Golf Power Rankings: Tiger Woods and the Top 15 Players To Ever Take the Course

Shane PattonCorrespondent INovember 3, 2010

Golf Power Rankings: Tiger Woods and the Top 15 Players To Ever Take the Course

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    Every now and then you hear an argument as to who was the best at his/her sport. Almost every weekend, I hear some form of this argument and decided to put together my list of the 15 best golfers to ever hit the links.

    Please keep in mind that I am in my 30s and my view is obviously influenced by the players who use modern equipment. I do however include some of the "old timers" on this list as well...

No. 15: Anika Sorenstam

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    Anika Sorenstam: Known as MS. 59 after posting that score in the 2001 Standard Register Ping (the only sub-60 round in LPGA history).

    With 72 career LPGA victories and 10 major titles, Sorenstam deserves to be on this list.

No. 14: Billy Casper

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    Billy Casper: Won 51 tournaments, including the U.S. Open in 1959 and 1966 and the Masters in 1970. Casper won the Vardon Trophy five times and played in eight Ryder Cups, winning 23.5 points (more than any other American).

    He was the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year in 1966 and 1970.

No. 13: Walter Hagen

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    Walter Hagan: The “Haig” won 45 PGA Tour events including 11 majors.

    He played for the U.S. in the first five Ryder Cup matches and captained the U.S. team in the first six.

    Plus, you gotta give him style points. Check out the tie...golfers had great style back then.

No. 12: Lee Trevino

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    Lee Trevino: Taught himself how to play on a course near his home. Trevino won 29 PGA Tour events, including six majors.

    He has added another 29 victories while on the senior tour.

No. 11: Gary Player

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    Gary Player: Considered a global pro, Player won 163 tournaments around the world, including nine majors and 24 PGA Tour events.

    At only 5’6”, Player made up for his lack of size with his dedication to fitness and creating a workout routine. The man was ahead of his time.

No. 10: Tom Morris

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    Tom Morris: Won the 1868 British Open when he was just 17 years old (the events youngest ever). Morris went on to win the British Open three consecutive times.

    Morris had success quickly as he died at the young age of 24.

No. 9: Tom Watson

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    Tom Watson: Won eight majors including five British Opens between 1975 and 1983.

    Watson played on four Ryder Cup teams and was the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year six times.

No. 8: Sam Snead

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    Sam Snead: Known for his smooth swing, Snead won three Masters, three PGA Championships and a British Open.

    Snead’s 82 career PGA Tour victories is still the all-time record.

No. 7: Arnold Palmer

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    Arnold Palmer: Won seven majors including four Masters Titles.

    Palmer collected 62 PGA Tour victories, putting him fifth all-time.

No. 6: Seve Ballesteros

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    Seve Ballesteros: Won 70 tournaments around the world and five majors, including the 1979, 1984 and 1988 British Opens and the 1980 and 1983 Masters.

    Ballesteros competed in eight Ryder Cups, leading Europe to its first win on U.S. soil.

No. 5: Byron Nelson

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    Byron Nelson: Won 54 Tour events, including five majors.

    Nelson had arguably the best season ever in 1945, putting together 18 wins (11 of the wins came consecutively).

    His season scoring average of 68.33 remains a PGA Tour record to this day.

No. 4: Ben Hogan

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    Ben Hogan: Survived a near fatal auto accident in 1949 to become one of the best golfers ever.

    Hogan completed a career Grand Slam with two Masters titles, four U.S. Opens, two PGA Championships and the 1953 British Open.

No. 3: Bobby Jones

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    Bobby Jones: Between 1923 and 1939, Jones competed in 20 major championships and won 13 of them, culminating with the Grand Slam (British Amateur, British Open, U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur).

    Jones was really only a lifelong amateur, deciding to attend Harvard, Georgia Tech and then law school at Emory (leaving early to take and pass the bar exam).

    Retiring at the age of 28, Jones went on to practice law.

    Jones later founded and helped design Augusta National.

No. 2: Tiger Woods

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    Tiger Woods: Turned pro in 1996 and promptly won the PGA Tour’s Rookie of the Year award.

    Woods won the 1997 Masters by a record 12 strokes.

    Woods has won 13 more major titles and is set to challenge Jack Nicklaus’s career record of 18.

No. 1: Jack Nicklaus

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    Jack Nicklaus: Known as the “Golden Bear”; Nicklaus won 70 PGA Tour events and 18 professional majors. He has 19 career second place finishes in majors.

    One of the greatest compliments about Jack came from Bobby Jones himself. Jones commented, “he plays a game with which I am not familiar.”