The Longest Gaps Between Major Wins

Keeping a consistent golf game is extremely hard for not only amateurs but also professionals.

When a player is in their prime on the PGA Tour, the wins usually come over a span of a few years. 

Sometimes, the stars lose their swings but refind them over a decade later.

It’s a rare occurrence, but this happened to some of the sport’s best, even in major championships.

Ranking the longest gaps between majors

Julius Boros

4027 Days (11 years): 1952 and 1963 U.S. Opens

Boros won his first U.S. Open (1952) at Northwood Golf Club in Dallas, Texas, and waited 11 years before his second win at the tournament in 1963 at The Country Club in Brookline (Massachusetts).

The Junior College of Connecticut product won 10 times on tour (18 total) between the two titles.

Boros became the oldest player (48 years old) to win a major (at the time) when he triumphed at the 1968 PGA Championship in San Antonio at Pecan Valley Golf Club.

The Fairfield, Connecticut native was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1982.

The PGA Championship’s media team created the following video to commemorate his win in 1968.

Hale Irwin

4019 Days (11 years): 1979 and 1990 U.S. Opens

The three-time major champion won the 1979 U.S. Open, his second, at Inverness Club (Ohio) by famously beating Gary Player and Jerry Pate. 

11 years later, he captured his third edition at Medinah Country Club in Ohio, making him the oldest U.S. Open champion at 45 years old.

The World Golf Hall of Famer was victorious six times on tour between the two major wins, with his most memorable coming at the 1983 Memorial, where he defeated Ben Crenshaw and David Graham by a stroke.

Irwin won a total of 20 times on the PGA Tour and came close at the 1983 Open Championship, a major he desperately wanted to win but finished tied for second.

The following short documentary showcases Irwin’s triumph at the 1974 U.S. Open hosted by Winged Foot.

Ben Crenshaw

4012 Days (11 years): 1984 and 1995 Masters

The World Golf Hall of Famer won two Masters with 11 years separating them. His first came at 32 years old at the 1984 edition when he defeated Tom Watson by two strokes. 

The 1995 Masters win was extremely emotional for the Austin, Texas native due to claiming the Green Jacket just a week after his mentor, Harvey Penick’s death.

Crenshaw dealt with Graves’ disease, a thyroid condition, between his two wins but continued to play excellently and won eight events.

He finished his career with 19 PGA Tour victories and achieved a top-two finish at the Open and PGA Championship.

The clip below, produced by The Masters, features Crenshaw discussing how he dedicated his 1995 win to Penick.

Henry Cotton

4011 Days (11 years): 1937 and 1948 Open Championships

Cotton won his second Open Championship in 1937 at Royal St George’s and went 11 years before claiming his third Open in 1948 at Muirfield in Gullane. 

Between his long gap, he won 16 events and captained the European Ryder Cup team in 1947.

The Englishman won his first Open Championship in 1934.

The following video by Secret Golf highlights Cotton’s career and dives into his unique swing.

Tiger Woods

3971 Days (11 years): 2008 U.S. Open and 2019 Masters

After winning the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines on one leg, 11 years went by and more and more health problems arose for Woods.

Many thought his major-winning window had passed before Woods provided arguably the greatest major win in golf history at the 2019 Masters.

On the sixth hole of the final round, the 43-year-old found himself three strokes behind leader Francesco Molinari and had to contend with some of the world’s finest in their primes, including Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, and Patrick Cantlay.

Many believe the victory to be the greatest comeback ever in golf, if not all, sports. For the preceding 11 years, Woods had fought with three back operations and other challenges.

The 15-time major champion’s performances at the 2008 U.S. Open and 2019 Masters can be seen in the following videos.

Lee Trevino

3660 Days (10 years): 1974 and 1984 PGA Championships

The six-time major winner went a decade before capturing his second PGA Championship and fifth major at Shoal Creek Golf & Country Club, where he defeated Gary Player and Lanny Wadkins.

10 years earlier, he beat Jack Nicklaus by a stroke at Tanglewood Park. 

The legend is one of only four players to have won the US Open, Open Championship, and PGA Championship twice.

Between his two PGA Championships (final two major wins), the Garland, Texas native won nine PGA Tour events (29 total in his career), including the 1980 Players Championship, where he outdueled Crenshaw.

Trevino played in six Ryder Cups, achieving an undefeated record with five wins and one tie.

His winning putt in his ultimate major victory can be seen here: 

Ernie Els

3653 Days (10 years): 2002 and 2012 Open Championships

The South African won the final two majors (four total) of his career 10 years apart. 

At the 2012 Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes, the 75-time worldwide winner ousted Adam Scott by one stroke after birdieing the 72nd hole.

He was victorious a decade earlier via a playoff at Muirfield in Gullane over Stuart Appleby, Steve Elkington and Thomas Levet.

The former top-ranked player in the OWGR won eight PGA Tour events between his two Open wins, highlighted by the 2004 Memorial and 2010 Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Els etched his name into the history books and became the eighth player to win major championships in three different decades. 

Also on the list are Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Billy Casper, Raymond Floyd, John Henry Taylor, and Harry Vardon. Tiger Woods became the ninth in 2019.

Els’ 2012 miraculous comeback at the Open Championship is featured in these highlights:

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Lawrence Smelser has been part of the Golfible writing staff since 2019 and is a freelance golf journalist. Smelser has covered the PGA Tour including the U.S. Masters with He holds a journalism Bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M and a Master’s journalism degree from the University of North Texas. Learn more about our team at Golfible on our About Us page.

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