Oldest Golfers to Win a Men's Major Championship

Nearly All of the Golfers on the List Are Hall of Famers

American golfer Julius Boros, a member of the US Ryder Cup team, drives off from the 1st at Royal Birkdale, Southport, 7th October 1965
Julius Boros was over 48 years old when he won the 1968 PGA Championship.

Ted West/Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

In the history of men's major championships, no golfer older than 48 (and just one golfer older than 46) has won. As we'll see on the list below, nearly all of those golfers who are on the list of oldest major winners are Hall of Famers.

The Oldest Major Champion Is ...

Julius Boros holds the record as oldest major championship winner in golf history. Boros was 48 when he won the 1968 PGA Championship. (Boros held off Arnold Palmer to do it, denying Palmer the only major Arnie never won.)

Boros bested the record that was previously held by Jerry Barber, who won the 1961 PGA Championship at age 45.

No question Boros was one of the greatest over-40 golfers ever. Half of Boros' 18 career PGA Tour wins came after turning 40, including, at age 43, the 1963 U.S. Open. (At the time, that made him the oldest U.S. Open winner.) When Boros was 53, he shared the lead in the 1973 U.S. Open with 10 holes to play before finishing seventh.

Ironically, the major where Boros set this record - the 1968 PGA - is perhaps better-known for Palmer's failure to win. As noted, the PGA Championship was the only major Palmer didn't win. But Palmer played a heroic approach shot out of the woods on the final hole, hitting 2-iron uphill and finding the green to keep his hopes alive. The site of that 2-iron shot was marked by a historic marker on the golf course (which no longer exists).

But, all these years later, Boros' record as the oldest major winner endures.

10 Oldest Major Championship Winners

Here are the 10 oldest winners of men's golf majors:

  • Julius Boros: 1968 PGA Championship, 48 years, 4 months, 18 days
  • Old Tom Morris: 1867 British Open, 46 years, 99 days
  • Jack Nicklaus: 1986 Masters, 46 years, 2 months, 23 days
  • Jerry Barber: 1961 PGA Championship, 45 Years, 3 months, 6 days
  • Hale Irwin: 1990 U.S. Open, 45 years, 15 days old
  • Lee Trevino: 1984 PGA Championship, 44 years, 8 months, 18 days
  • Roberto de Vicenzo: 1967 British Open, 44 years, 93 days
  • Harry Vardon: 1914 British Open, 44 years, 41 days
  • Raymond Floyd: 1986 U.S. Open, 43 years, 9 months, 11 days
  • Ted Ray: 1920 U.S. Open, 43 years, 4 months, 16 days old

They Were This Close

There have been a few golfers over the decades who came close to winning a major at an older age. The most famous is Tom Watson, who led much of the final round at the 2009 British Open when he was 59 years old. But Watson lost in a playoff.

A couple others of note: At age 49, Raymond Floyd was runner-up in the 1992 Masters; and at 50, Harry Vardon finished second in the 1920 U.S. Open. Vardon was runner-up to 43-year-old Ted Ray, who is on the list above.

How Old Were They at the Time of Their Final Major Win?

Some of golf's all-time greats - e.g., Nicklaus, Trevino, Vardon - appear on the list above. But many others don't. These are the ages of some other golf greats at the time of their final win in a major: