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Best Ever Major Golf Finishes

Rob Joyce
July 23, 2019 - 4:40 pm

Shane Lowry took home the 148th Open Championship on Sunday, a fitting finish as the Irishman won his first major at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland. However, the year’s final major also marked a bit of history for fourth place finisher Brooks Koepka. Though he finished with a three-over 74 on Sunday, his finish marks the fifth straight major in which he’s finished in the top-five, something that only four other men in the Masters era (since 1934) have done.

The 29-year-old still has a ways to go before he’s in the same breath as the upper echelon of golf history, but this is a pretty remarkable start for the four-time major winner. Here’s the complete list of golfers who have five straight top-five finishes in majors:

Brooks Koepka:

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Were it not for a tie for 39th at last year’s Open Championship, he’d have seven straight top-five finishes. Alas, he won the 2018 PGA Championship to close out last season, then at the Masters tied for second. He successfully defended his PGA Championship in May at Bethpage, took second at Pebble Beach at the U.S. Open, and then tied for fourth this past weekend to make it 18 weeks as the world’s number one ranked golfer.

Jordan Spieth:

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He hasn’t come close to matching this production since, but Spieth burst onto the scene as a 23-year-old in 2015 with a remarkable run of major finishes. He started by becoming the second-youngest Masters champion ever, and followed it by being the youngest U.S. Open winner since 1923. Though he couldn’t complete the grand slam, he finished fourth at the Open and second at the PGA. For good measure he finished tied for second at the 2016 Masters, albeit after a collapse at the par-3 12th.

Rickie Fowler:

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The only player on this list who doesn’t have a major to his name (everyone else has at least three) Fowler is infamous for his close-but-not-quite finishes, largely thanks to 2014. He started by finishing tied for fourth at the Masters. At the U.S. Open he finished tied for second, though Martin Kaymer cruised to victory. At the Open Championship he turned a six-stroke deficit into a two-stroke defeat, finishing tied for second. Lastly, he led for a portion of Sunday at the PGA, but wound up tied for third. Since then he has as many cuts missed (three) as top-five finishes.

Tiger Woods:

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You probably aren’t surprised to hear that Tiger has accomplished the feat twice: in 2000 and 2005. He won the 1999 PGA Championship, then finished fifth at the 2000 Masters, leading into one of the great runs of all-time: the Tiger Slam. Four straight major victories followed before a tie for 12th at the 2001 U.S. Open, also snapping a streak of eight straight top-10 finishes.

Then in 2005 he won the Masters, was the runner-up at the U.S. Open, then won the Open and tied for fourth at the PGA. He began 2006 with a tie for third at Augusta, but missed the cut for the first time as a professional at the U.S. Open to end the streak. Don’t worry though – he won the next two majors to make up for it.

Jack Nicklaus:

Like Tiger, Jack did it twice: in 1971 and ’73. The Golden Bear holds the longest run of consecutive top-five finishes with seven, starting with the 1971 Masters and ending with the ’72 Open Championship. In that span he won three times (the PGA, Masters and U.S. Open) and finished second three times. Then in 1973 he went tied for third, tied for fourth, fourth in the opening majors, then won the PGA before adding a top-five finish at the ’74 Masters.

How about this: were it not for a 13th place finish at the 1972 PGA, Nicklaus would have finished in the top-five in 13 straight majors, and in the top-10 in 19 straight.