10 Most Unlikely Golf Major Winners

Many people enjoy playing golf and watching the major golf championships, while others only watch the tournaments on TV, hoping for a chance to head out to the course one day. But the golf major champions have dedicated a greater portion of their lives to playing the game. After all, you’re not going to win if you don’t play the game.

Often the stories surrounding the major golf championships, or majors as they can affectionately be called, can be quite intriguing. Often we assume that they’re only played by wealthy, privileged men born in the USA, yet many of the players have come from some interesting and diverse backgrounds.

Here are ten of the most unlikely golf major champions from the recent history of golf.

1. Jason Day

jason day's us pga championship trophy

Jason Day is a pro golfer who achieved the World Number 1 spot in World Golf Ranking in 2015. He may be considered an unlikely champion as he was born in the Philippines, and has Australian citizenship. He moved with his parents to Australia in the 80s.

Last year, he was a multiple winner of the WGC Match Play, joining the same club as Tiger Woods and Geoff Ogilvy. At the 2015 PGA Championships he did a record twenty strokes under par, which earned him the number three spot in the world.

Jason has dual citizenship in Australia and the USA. He currently has a residence in Westerville, Ohio where he lives with his family. Like many other golf players, Jason started playing golf quite young. In Australia, his dad would take him golfing to the Beaudesert Golf Club. There, Jason played as a junior member, and he was only six at the time. When you’re a junior, you’ll allowed to play six holes a day at this course.

When Jason was eight years old, his family moved to Rockhampton. During this time he won golfing events among the districts. Sadly, his dad, Alvin Day, passed away when Jason was only twelve. Dening Day, his mom, sent him to a school that had a golf course, Kooralbyn International School. After Korralbyn closed down, his coach recommended the “At the Hills International College”. There, he was able to continue his golfing, as they had a golf academy.

jason day winners trophy

Jason Day was actually inspired by Tiger Woods. One day, he borrowed a book on Tiger Woods from his roommate. This gave him the inspiration to practice his golf at least three times a day: early morning, lunchtime, and evening. Jason would challenge himself by noting Tiger Woods’s golfing scores, and aiming for the same.

Jason managed to earn his first big win at the 2000 Australian Masters junior event, but it wasn’t until 2006 that he turned pro and entered the majors. This notable event occurred after a win at the Master of the Amateurs. He then began playing the PGA Tour Events in July 2006. He had winnings that season of over $160,000. In 2007, he became the youngest man to ever win the Nationwide Tour. In 2010, he was the youngest Australian to win a PGA Tour with the HP Byron Nelson Championship.

Jason Day continues with the majors through 2017.
He has also just signed a deal with Nike to wear their clothing, even though Nike no longer makes golf equipment. This is apparently worth over $10 million a year.

2. Michael Shane Campbell

michael campbell

Michael Campbell is originally from New Zealand. He has a Maori and Scottish heritage, and was born in Hawera, New Zealand.

As a young boy, he tried many sports, including rugby, squash, softball, and table tennis. At seven years old, he began to play golf. He played at the Patea golf course, which was fenced to keep sheep out. It was his uncle who introduced him to the game, but he was also influenced by his dad who also played the game. After his family moved to Titahi Bay, he joined the junior ranks at Paraparaumu. He experienced success in the 1995 European Tour.

This golfer is on the top ten list, as he had some sudden, impressive majors wins one year, before crashing and disappearing. His most notable year was winning the 2005 US Open. This earned him the title of 2005 European Tour Player of the Year after a fantastic season. He also won the PGA Tour in 2005, and scored ahead of Tiger Woods. 2005 was his breakthrough year.

He’s had about fifteen major wins over the years, but hasn’t done a whole lot to impress us since 2005. Still, his accomplishments are worth noting for the list, as in 2005, he earned the richest prize ever in golf, £1,000,000, in the HSBC World Match Play C