Ranking the 10 Best Left-Handed Players in Golf History

Ben Alberstadt@benalberstadtFeatured ColumnistApril 24, 2014

Ranking the 10 Best Left-Handed Players in Golf History

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    Golf is not included with spiral notebooks, scissors and "bonking elbows with a righty at the dinner table" on a Buzzfeed list titled "The 18 Worst Things For Left-Handed People." Nevertheless, although there's no practical disadvantage to golfing from the south side, there are relatively few left-handed golfers on the PGA Tour. 

    Perhaps this is because natural left-handers end up playing golf right-handed due to the lack of immediate availability of left-handed equipment. Whatever the reason, southpaws on the whole haven't achieved tremendous success in professional golf.

    Still, a few have managed to do pretty well for themselves. 

    Let's see who the 10 best left-handed players in golf history are. 

10. Nick O'Hern

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    PGA Tour Wins: None

    Other Wins: 5 (including the 2006 Australian PGA Championship) 

    Why He's Here: He's winless in his career on the PGA Tour, but Australian Nick O'Hern has notched 23 top-10 finishes on golf's top circuit in his 13 years on the PGA Tour. Although he's playing more on the Web.com Tour these days, the avid wine collector has earned nearly $7.5 million from his play on the PGA Tour in his career. 

9. Sam Adams

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    PGA Tour Wins: 1 (1973 Quad Cities Open)

    Other Wins: 1 (1975 North Carolina Open)

    Why He's here: Because of his role as a patriot and his skills as a brewer and a businessman. Sorry. Wrong Sam Adams.

    This Sam Adams won the 1973 Quad Cities Open. Although his professional career was not a distinguished one, his membership on the short list of lefties with PGA Tour wins earns him a spot on this list. 

8. Ted Potter Jr.

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    PGA Tour Wins: 1 (2012 Greenbrier Classic)

    Other Wins: Potter won twice on the Web.com Tour in addition to racking up more than 15 wins on the NGA Hooters Tour. 

    Why He's Here: Ted Potter Jr. makes our list in the No. 8 position thanks to his 2012 win. In addition to the win during his rookie season, Potter made 13 of 25 cuts and 11 of 22 cuts the following season.

    Although he hasn't taken a great leap forward since the victory (which gives him exemption on tour through the end of the season), a PGA Tour win places Potter in an elite left-handed fraternity. 

7. Eric Axley

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    PGA Tour Wins: 1 (2006 Valero Texas Open)

    Other Wins: Axley won once on the then-Nationwide Tour at the 2005 Rex Hospital Open. He has also recorded two victories on the NGA Hooters Tour. 

    Why He's Here: Potter and Axley are really in a dead heat on this list. Axley, who now divides his time between the PGA Tour and minor tours, had a decent streak of longevity on tour, particular between 2006 and 2010, when he played at least 29 events each season.

    The win, the longevity and five career top-10 finishes nudge the Tennessee native in front of the younger Ted Potter Jr. 

6. Russ Cochran

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    PGA Tour Wins: 1 (1991 Centel Western Open)

    Other Wins: 9 (including the 2011 Senior Open Championship)

    Why He's Here: The golfers immediately beneath the Paducah, Kentucky, native on this list have each won a single PGA Tour event. Cochran, while he's won only one PGA Tour event, has a senior major championship to his credit as well as a number of additional victories. 

5. Steve Flesch

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    PGA Tour Wins: 4 (including the 2004 Bank of America Colonial and the 2007 Reno-Tahoe Open)

    Other Wins: 4 (including the 1997 Nike Tour Championship)

    Why He's Here: In moving from Russ Cochran at No. 6 to Steve Flesch at No. 5, we're heading into the upper echelons of left-handed golfers in PGA Tour history.

    As difficult as it may be to believe, there are only five left-handed golfers who have won more than one event on the PGA Tour. Steve Flesch, with his four wins, is the first of those golfers on this list. 

4. Bob Charles

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    PGA Tour Wins: 4 (including the 1963 Open Championship and the 1974 Greater Greensboro Open)

    Other Wins: Charles has a wealth of other victories, including four on the European Tour and 23 on the Champions Tour. 

    Why He's Here: Sir Robert James Charles has won more than 60 events as a professional golfer. The fact that six of those came on the PGA Tour vaults the left-hander up this list, and his 1963 Open Championship victory places him among the top four left-handed golfers of all time, each of whom has at least one major title to his name.

3. Mike Weir

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    PGA Tour Wins: 8 (including the 2003 Masters and the 2004 Nissan Open) 

    Other Wins: 7 (including three wins on the then-Canadian Tour) 

    Why He's Here: In a sense, it's difficult to bump Mike Weir, with his 15 wins as a professional, ahead of Bob Charles, who won more than four times that amount.

    However, Weir won the Masters in 2003, a considerably more difficult feat than winning the Open Championship in the 1960s, as Charles did. In addition, he has eight wins on the PGA Tour to Charles' four. Thus, Mike Weir is the third-best lefty in golf history. 

2. Bubba Watson

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    PGA Tour Wins: 6 (including the 2012 and 2014 Masters) 

    Other Wins: 2 (including the 2008 CVS Charity Classic)

    Why He's Here: Majors make the man, or they at least distinguish the best male golfers. And those who triumph at golf's four events with the deepest fields and most difficult conditions earn the most heavily weighted victories in any ranking.

    Thus, with his two green jackets, Bubba Watson secured the second spot on this list, as he has the second-greatest number of major wins among left-handers. 

1. Phil Mickelson

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    PGA Tour Wins: 42 (including the 2004, 2006 and 2010 Masters, the 2006 PGA Championship, and the 2013 British Open) 

    Other Wins: 9

    Why He's Here: No other left-handed golfer has anywhere near the bounty of professional victories as one Philip Alfred Mickelson has under his $2,000 leather belt. It shouldn't be a surprise that Mickelson, the golfer known as "Lefty," is our top left-hander.

    With his 42 wins on the PGA Tour, including five majors, Mickelson is the lead dog by miles.