Who Are Considered The Best PGA Putters Of All Time?
As they say in golf, “It’s not how you drive, it’s how you arrive,” and considering this, you may be wondering about the players who are considered the best PGA putters of all time. There are a select few players who were such good putters that their proficiency at it kept them in tournaments…or helped them win them.
- Tiger Woods– Given Woods’ overall fantastic game and his consensus ranking as one of the two best golfers in history, it’s perhaps easy to forget that he is an incredibly clutch putter…perhaps the best PGA putter of all time. We can all remember Tiger’s “better than most” 60-foot putt at the 17th at TPC Sawgrass and the insanely clutch birdie on 18 to force a playoff (and eventual victory) at the 2008 U.S. Open. Between the 2004 and 2008 seasons, his average distance of putts made was six feet beyond the tour average. He’s money on the short putts, and the long putts clearly are another reason that he’s Tiger Woods…and everyone else is playing in his shadow.
- Jack Nicklaus– The importance of putting to success in golf should be made clear by the position of Woods and Nicklaus on this list. Nicklaus made many memorable clutch putts on his way to 18 major victories, including his eagle at 15 in 1986 and birdie at 16 in 1975, both at Augusta. Known for aggressive bombs off the tee, Nicklaus was a conservative putter, simply trying to avoid three-putts…it just so happened that a lot of those “conservative” first putts found the bottom of the cup, making him one of the best PGA putters of all time.
- Bobby Jones– Jones’ putting skills were so recognized that his putter, named Calamity Jane, was only slightly less famous than he. This putter helped him force a playoff in the 1929 U.S. Open with a tricky putt on the 72nd hole and sunk a 40-foot birdie on the final hole at the 1930 U.S. Open. The man who designed the difficult greens (and the rest of the course) at Augusta clearly had an appreciation for the skill involved in putting, himself being one of the best PGA putters of all time.
- Ben Crenshaw– Crenshaw’s teacher growing up in Texas was the legendary Harvey Penick, author of the classic instruction tome, “Little Red Book.” Penick taught Crenshaw a compact, smooth stroke, effective on a variety of surfaces, making him one of the best PGA putters of all time. He “only” won two majors in his career, but his remarkable play on the greens resulted in a 1995 Masters victory in which he didn’t have a single 3-putt in 72 holes.
- Brad Faxon– Faxon has the least illustrious resume of the players on this list, but he is still perhaps one of the best PGA putters of all time. Consider that he led the PGA Tour in putting average in 1996, 1999 and 2000. In that last year, he set the all-time single-season record for fewest putts per greens in regulation, at 1.7. He claims that his key is confidence and that he hits “every putt as if I’ve just made a million in a row.”
For further reading:
Freeman, Criswell. "The Putter Principle: Golf's Greatest Legends Discuss the Ultimate Stroke." 1997. Walnut Grove Press.