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Who Was the Best Golfer in the 1980s?

Back in the '80s, there were a number of great golfers competing on the PGA Tour. If we were to single out the best one from that decade, a few names come to mind.


One golfer who had a great deal of success in the '80s was Tom Watson. He won eight major championships during that decade, including the Masters in 1980 and 1982. He was also the leading money winner on the PGA Tour in 1980 and 1983.

Another golfer who had a very successful '80s was Payne Stewart. He won three major championships during that decade, including the U.S. Open in 1989. He was also the leading money winner on the PGA Tour in 1991.

And wrapping up the '80s dominant trio of golfers, we have Lee Trevino. He won four major championships during the decade, including two U.S. Opens (1984 and 1988).

That said, let's go through a list of the Top 10 golfers of the 1980s.

1. Tom Watson

As noted, Watson won eight major championships and was the leading money winner on the PGA Tour twice during the 1980s. He also had 20 wins on the PGA Tour during that decade, and is the subject of some of the best golf movies out there.

2. Payne Stewart

Stewart won three major championships and was the leading money winner on the PGA Tour in 1991. He also had 18 wins on the PGA Tour during the 1980s.

3. Lee Trevino

Trevino won four major championships and had 16 wins on the PGA Tour during the 1980s. He was also the leading money winner on the PGA Tour in 1981.

4. Raymond Floyd

Floyd won four major championships and had 15 wins on the PGA Tour during the 1980s. He was also the leading money winner on the PGA Tour in 1986. He was known for his power and his long drives.

5. Curtis Strange

Strange won two major championships and had 13 wins on the PGA Tour during the 1980s. He was also the leading money winner on the PGA Tour in 1988 and 1989.

6. Fred Couples

Couples won two major championships and had 11 wins on the PGA Tour during the 1980s. He was a popular player with fans due to his easygoing demeanor and his great swing.

7. Johnny Miller

Miller didn't win any major championships in the 1980s, but he did have 10 wins on the PGA Tour during that decade. He was known for his great putting ability.

8. Hale Irwin

Irwin won two major championships and had 9 wins on the PGA Tour during the 1980s. He was a consistent player who was known for his accuracy off the tee.

9. Seve Ballesteros

Seve (Severiano) won 90 international tournaments in his career, including five major championships between 1979 and 1988: the Open Championship three times and the Masters Tournament twice. Some magazines considered Ballesteros as the greatest Continental European golfer of all time.

10. Corey Pavin

Pavin didn't win any major championships in the 1980s, but he did have 8 wins on the PGA Tour during that decade. He was known for his great short game and his tenacity on the course.

1980s Golfing Trends

During the 1980s, the game of golf underwent some changes. The biggest change was in the technology of the clubs and balls. Newer materials and designs led to longer drives and more accurate shots. This made the game more enjoyable for fans to watch and also helped increase participation rates.

Another change that took place during the 1980s was the increasing popularity of televised golf. More and more people were tuning in to watch tournaments on TV, which helped grow the sport's popularity even further.

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