The UK Masters: The Top Five British Golfers Of All Time
November 18, 2016
After firing his worst ever opening round at the DP World Tour Championship, Rory McIlroy has left his hopes of a third consecutive Race to Dubai title on the brink. Even before this catastrophic beginning, the 27-year-old required a mathematical miracle to ensure he finished at the head of the pack. This reliance on an almost improbable set of permutations could be attached to McIlroy’s non-participation in the Turkish Airlines Open, cited because of security fears which effectively rendered his chances of topping the money list.
However, fellow Britain Danny Willett remains very much in contention to win the season-long event with the Masters champion requiring a top-four finish to stand a chance of catching Henrik Stenson at the head of the leaderboard. Willett’s form has been patchy at best since April, but he showed promising signs in his round of 71 which sees him tied for 24th – one shot ahead of the Swede.
Great Britain will be pining for a sixth Race to Dubai winner in eight years since it replaced the Order of Merit in 2009. To tie in with their domination on the European Tour money annals, we have had a look back through history and compiled our top five British golfers of all time.
The six-time major winner was renowned for his meticulous approach and quest for technical perfection which saw him restructure his swing in the mid 1980’s. This decision saw him sacrifice flamboyance for an unerring dependability which became a hallmark of his game.
Faldo’s unflappable composure under pressure was unmatched during his era and statistically there is no other British golfer in history to rival him. He spent 97 weeks ranked as world number one and is the most successful Ryder Cup player of all time having amassed the most points of any player to have represented Europe or the USA.
Widely regarded as the finest player never to lift a major trophy, Montgomerie is acknowledged as one of Britain’s finest ever sportsman and is known affectionately to millions around the world as ‘Monty’.
The Scotsman dominated the Order of Merit during the 1990’s where he notched up a streak of seven consecutive titles from 1993 to 1999 and then added an eighth crown in 2005. His 31 European Tour victories are the most of any British player and like Faldo; Montgomerie is heralded as a Ryder Cup great.
“Mr Golf” was a part of the legendary Great Triumvirate in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. With a record six Open Championships and the legacy of the Vardon Grip to his name, the Jersey-born golfer won a remarkable 62 tournaments during his career and is rightly considered one of the greats of the game.
Many believe the four-time major champion will go on to become the best British golfer in golfing history. Only a triumph at Augusta remains absent in his pursuit of the career Grand Slam, but time remains firmly on the side of the Northern Irishman who has made record-breaking wins at the 2011 U.S. Open and the 2012 PGA Championship. He’s currently out in Dubai and has fallen out of the running in the DP World Tour Championship odds after finishing the first day 3-over-par.
There was not a dry eye to be seen following his emotional victory in the 2011 Open Championship in which he defeated Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson by three strokes.
Clarke is the second Northern Irishman to make the list and his 22 tournament wins worldwide demonstrate his ability on a global scale. He has achieved second place on the European Tour Money list three times and ranked in the top-10 of the Official World Golf Ranking for 43 weeks between 2000 and 2002.