Although the sport is five centuries old, golf popularity is increasing more than ever. The countries with most players and therefore most golf courses include New Zealand, Australia, Canada, United States, Sweden, and England. The most important golf competitions for professional golfers are: the Masters Tournament, the U.S. Open, the Open Championship and the PGA Championship.
United States is one of the countries with the most amateur golf players counting more than 25 million players. The number of professional golfers is also impressive and is clear why the charts are dominated by US players.
The top ten golfers by major competitions won are:
1. Jack Nicklaus (United States), 18 titles: he is considered by many the greatest golfer of all time. He has his own tournament on the PGA Tour, and also one of the top companies of golf course design.
2. Tiger Woods (United States), 14 titles: is the most successful golfer and the best paid professional athlete worldwide.
3. Walter Hagen (United States), 11 titles: was the best golfer of the first half of 19th century.
4. Gary Player (South Africa), 9 titles he is the only golfer in the top ten from outside US. He is now a golf course designer having more than 300 finished projects around the world.
5. Ben Hogan (United States), 9 titles: this early 20th century golfer is famous for his impressive ball-striking ability and his contribution to golf swing theory.
6. Tom Watson (United States), 8 titles: he was the number one player in the world several years between 1978 and 1984.
7. Arnold Palmer (United States), 7 titles: he was the first golf star in the television age.
8. Sam Snead (United States), 7 titles: he was among the top players in the world for more than forty years, turning pro in 1934.
9. Gene Sarazen (United States), 7 titles: he was the among the leading golfers in 1920s and 1930s.
10. Bobby Jones (United States), 7 titles: he was a lawyer and competed in tournaments as an amateur.