How Golf’s Legends Won Their First Major Championship

1 of 7 Corbis
Walter Hagen (shown here in 1920) won 11 major championships in his career, the first of which came at the 1914 U.S. Open.
2 of 7 Bettmann/CORBIS
In 1946, when Ben Hogan won his first of the modern major championships, the PGA Championship was still a match play event. Hogan (shown here at the 1946 Goodall Round Robin Gold Tournament at Winged Foot) defeated Ed Oliver 6 & 4 in the 36-hole championship match.
3 of 7 Courtesy Black Knight International
Gary Player weathered through 36 holes on the final day of the 1959 British Open at Muirfield to win his first of nine majors by two shots.
4 of 7 Walter Iooss Jr./SI
Player hacked this shot out of the rough at Bellerive Country Club at the 1965 U.S. Open, where he defeated Kel Nagle in a playoff for the victory.
5 of 7 John Zimmerman/SI
A 22-year-old Jack Nicklaus took on the well-established Arnold Palmer at the 1962 U.S. Open. Nicklaus' first of a record four U.S. Opens came as he defeated Palmer in a playoff, signaling the beginning of a new era.
6 of 7 Bettmann/CORBIS
Tom Watson always played his best golf across the pond, winning five career British Opens. So it should come as no surprise that Watson's first major championship came in 1975 at Carnoustie (with wife, Linda, after his win).
7 of 7 John Iacono/SI
Tiger Woods's 18-under total at the 1997 Masters forever changed the modern face of golf. Bigger purses, longer courses, and higher ratings engulfed the game for years.