Did you know that only about 10% of the world population is left-handed? It’s a statistic that might not come as a surprise to golfers, considering only about 5 to 7 percent of golfers are left-handed and there are only a handful of left-handed golfers on the PGA Tour today – they’re certainly the minority in golf.
You can’t say the same about left-handed athletes in other sports. For example, the NHL estimates that roughly 60-70% of professional hockey players shoot left-handed. And while left-handed baseball players are a minority in the MLB, they still make up 25% of the league – more than twice the global average.
While those numbers are subject to change on a yearly basis, one thing never seems to fail and that’s the lack of left-handed representation on the PGA Tour. Of course, that lack of representation makes it that much more exciting when we finally see a left-handed golfer win – we’re looking at you, Brian Harman.
Which Left-Handed Golfers Have Won on the PGA Tour?
In honor of International Lefthanders Day – which is observed annually on August 13 and celebrates the few and proud left-handed individuals in the world – we’re highlighting some of the greatest left-handed golfers to ever step foot on a golf course. They’re the few and the proud, but they deserve recognition.
More specifically, we’re highlighting the 15 – yes, there’s only 15 – left-handed golfers who have won on the PGA Tour since its inception in 1929. They not only defied the odds, but they proved that left-handed golfers can find success on some of golf’s biggest stages – no matter how much people doubt them.
Of the 15 left-handed golfers to win on the PGA Tour, only seven of them have one more than once and only two of them have double-digit wins on the tour. Of course, there’s one left-handed golfer, in particular, who has been in a league of his own with 45 career wins on the PGA Tour – do you know who it is?
Without further ado, let’s put your knowledge to the test and see how many of the 15 left-handed golfers to win on the PGA Tour you can name.
15. Akshay Bhatia – 1 win
Akshay Bhatia is a 21-year-old left-handed golfer who turned professional in 2019. His first and only win on the PGA Tour came just a few weeks ago at the 2023 Barracuda Championship – he defeated Patrick Rodgers after the first playoff hole to win $684,000. There’s a good chance he wins again in the future.
Bhatia won two silver medals (individual and team) at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games before turning professional the following year. He has five wins as a professional, including a win at The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic (Korn Ferry Tour) in January 2022. At just 21, he has his whole career ahead of him.
14. Garrick Higgo – 1 win
Garrick Higgo is a 24-year-old left-handed golfer who turned professional in 2019. His first and only win on the PGA Tour came on June 13, 2021 at the Palmetto Championship – a one-time event that replaced the RBC Canadian Open in 2021. Higgo won with a score of -11, beating six other golfers by one stroke.
While Higgo only has one win on the PGA Tour, he has two wins on the Sunshine Tour (where he was named Rookie of the Year in 2019-20) and three wins on the European Tour – including the 2020 Open de Portugal, the 2021 Gran Canaria Lopesan Open, and the 2021 Canary Islands Championship.
13. Cody Gribble – 1 win
Cody Gribble is a 32-year-old left-handed golfer who turned professional in 2013. His first and only win on the PGA Tour came on October 30, 2016 at the Sanderson Farms Championship. He won $1.422 million and had a score of 268 (-20) – beating Chris Kirk, Luke List, and Greg Owen by four strokes.
Gribble still plays on the PGA Tour (past champion status) and also plays on the Korn Ferry Tour, but his win at Sanderson Farms remains his only win as a pro – not just on the PGA Tour. He has only appeared in four majors and his best finish was tied-21st at the 2014 U.S. Open – he was 14 strokes off the lead.
12. Eric Axley – 1 win
Eric Axley is a 49-year-old left-handed golfer who turned professional in 1997. His first and only win on the PGA Tour came at the 2006 Valero Texas Open (La Cantera Golf Club). He earned $720,000 for the win and had a score of 265 (-15) – beating Anthony Kim, Justin Rose, and Dean Wilson by 3 strokes.
Axley doesn’t compete on the PGA Tour anymore, but has since moved on to the Korn Ferry Tour – where he won the 2005 Rex Hospital Open and 2018 North Mississippi Classic. And while he has only made the cut in two of his eight major appearances, his best finish was tied-9th at the 2008 U.S. Open.
11. Greg Chalmers – 1 win
Greg Chalmers is a 49-year-old left-handed golfer who turned professional in 1995. His first and only win on the PGA Tour came on July 3, 2016 at the Barracuda Championship – he was 42 years old. He earned $576,000 for the win and finished with a score of 43 points – defeating Gary Woodland by six points.
Chalmers has 11 wins as a professional, including five wins on the PGA Tour Australasia, two wins on the Korn Ferry Tour, and one win on the Challenge Tour. His highest world ranking was No. 53 in September 2012 and his best major finish was tied-4th at the 2000 PGA Championship – he lost by six strokes.
10. Ernie Gonzalez – 1 win
Ernie Gonzalez was a left-handed golfer who turned professional in 1983 and passed away in 2020. His first and only win on the PGA Tour came on October 12, 1986 at the Pensacola Open – he defeated Joey Sindelar by one stroke with a score of 128 (-14). The tournament was shortened to 36 holes due to rain.
When Gonzalez won that tournament, he became the first left-handed golfer to win on the PGA Tour since Bob Charles in 1974. He was good friends with Phil Mickelson – the greatest left-handed golfer of all-time – and was 59 years old when he died after suffering from complications to Alzheimer’s disease.
9. Russ Cochran – 1 win
Russ Cochran is a 64-year-old left-handed golfer who turned professional in 1979 and he currently competes on the PGA Tour Champions. His first and only win on the PGA Tour came on July 7, 1991 at the Centel Western Open – he finished with a score of 275 (-13) and beat Greg Norman by two strokes.
Aside from his one win on the PGA Tour, Cochran has five wins on the PGA Tour Champions and 11 wins total since turning professional. His highest world ranking was No. 64 in June 1992 and he has two top-10 major finishes to his name – both at the PGA Championship (tied-10th in 1984 and tied-7th in 1992).
8. Sam Adams – 1 win
Sam Adams is a 77-year-old left-handed golfer who turned professional in 1969, but doesn’t compete anymore. His first and only win on the PGA Tour came on September 30, 1973 at the Quad Cities Open – where he finished with a 268 (-16) and defeated Dwight Nevil and Kermit Zarley by three strokes.
With his win, Adams became the first American lefty to win on the PGA Tour – he almost achieved it sooner as the runner-up at the 1972 Canadian Open. Aside from his lone win on Tour, he also won the 1975 North Carolina Open and 2000 Tennessee PGA Championship. He still plays, but not professionally.
7. Ted Potter Jr. – 2 wins
Ted Potter Jr. is a 39-year-old left-handed golfer who turned professional in 2002 and still competes on the PGA Tour – he only made the cut in three of his eight appearances this season. He has two career wins on the Tour, including the 2012 Greenbrier Classic and the 2018 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Potter Jr. has more than 19 wins since turning professional – including two on the Korn Ferry Tour, two on the Nationwide Tour, and 12 on the NGA Hooters Tour. He hasn’t had much success in majors and only made the cut in two of his eight appearances – his best finish was tied-60 at The Open Championship.
6. Brian Harman – 3 wins
Brian Harman is a 36-year-old left-handed golfer who turned pro in 2009 and still competes on the PGA Tour. He has three wins on the PGA Tour – including the biggest win of his career at the 2023 The Open Championship. It was his first major win and best major finish since being tied-2 at the 2017 U.S. Open.
Harman made history with the win, becoming just the fourth PGA Tour golfer to win a major. His win also came on the same day Akshay Bhatia won the Barracuda Championship – marking the first time two left-handed golfers won on the same day. If he keeps playing like this, he’ll likely win again on the Tour.
5. Steve Flesch – 4 wins
Steve Flesch is a 56-year-old left-handed golfer who turned professional in 1990 – he still competes on the PGA Tour (where he has 4 career wins) and PGA Tour Champions (where he has 3 career wins). He also has one win on the Korn Ferry Tour, one on the Asia Golf Circuit, and won the Kentucky Open twice.
His first win on the PGA Tour came on May 4, 2003 at the HP Classic of New Orleans and his second win came on May 23, 2004 at the Bank of America Colonial. He added two more PGA Tour wins in 2007 – winning the Reno-Tahoe Open on August 5th and Turning Stone Resort Championship on September 23.
4. Bob Charles – 6 wins
Bob Charles is an 87-year-old former left-handed golfer who turned professional in 1960 and earned himself six wins on the PGA Tour between 1963 and 1974. He’s one of four left-handed golfers to win a major championship – defeating Phil Rodgers in a 36-hole playoff at the 1963 The Open Championship.
Charles won one other event in 1963 – the Houston Classic just three months prior to his major win. His four other wins on the PGA Tour came at the 1965 Tucson Open Invitational, 1967 Atlanta Classic, 1968 Canadian Open, and 1974 Greater Greensboro Open. He also has 25 wins on the PGA Tour Champions.
3. Mike Weir – 8 wins
Mike Weir is a 53-year-old left-handed golfer who turned professional in 1992 and still competes on the PGA Tour (where he has eight wins) and PGA Tour Champions (where he has one win). His biggest win came at the 2003 Masters Tournament (his sixth win on the PGA Tour and first major win of his career).
He had two other wins in 2003 – the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and the Nissan Open (a win he defended the following year). He also has wins at the 1999 Air Canada Championship, the 2000 WGC-American Express Championship, the 2001 The Tour Championship, and the 2007 Fry’s Electronics Open.
2. Bubba Watson – 12 wins
Bubba Watson is a 44-year-old left-handed golfer who turned pro in 2002 and currently competes on the LIV Golf. He joined the PGA Tour in 2006 and ended up winning 12 times between 2010 and 2018 – including three wins in 2014 and three more in 2018. He’s a two-time winner at the Masters (2012, 2014).
In addition to his two major wins, Watson is a three-time winner at the Genesis Open and a three-time winner at the Travelers Championship. His four other wins came at the 2011 Farmers Insurance Open, 2011 Zurich Classic, 2014 WGC-HSBC Champions, and 2018 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.
1. Phil Mickelson – 45 wins
Phil Mickelson is a 53-year-old left-handed golfer who turned pro in 1992 and currently competes on the LIV Golf tour. He joined the PGA Tour right out of college thanks to his win at the 1991 Northern Telecom Open – making him one of a few golfers to ever win on the PGA Tour as an amateur. Quite impressive!
His 45 wins on the PGA Tour between 1991 and 2021 currently ranks tied-8th all-time. He’s a six-time major winner, two-time World Golf Championships winner, two-time The Tour Championship winner, 2007 The Players Championship winner, and 2007 Deutsche Bank Championship. There aren’t many better!
Has a PGA Tour Event Ever Had a Left-Handed Winner and Runner-Up?
Left-handed golfers make up the few and proud on the PGA Tour and are almost always overshadowed by their right-handed counterparts, but the 15 golfers listed above helped re-write that narrative. With that said, you might be wondering if there has ever been a lefty winner and runner-up in the same event.
There has been! In fact, there have been three such instances – the first coming at the 2005 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, which saw Phil Mickelson win and Mike Weir earn second place. What should come as no surprise, Mickelson was a part of the other two such instances in 2011 and 2018.
The 2011 Farmers Insurance Open saw Bubba Watson win and Phil Mickelson place second, while the 2018 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am saw Ted Porter Jr. win and Mickelson place second. Considering it has been five years since it happened last, one has to wonder when it’ll happen again – if it’ll happen again…
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