Approximately 90% of PGA players participating in the PGA Tour never win. Although pinpointing this exact percentage is challenging, roughly only 10% of players will achieve victory at least once on the PGA Tour.
Securing a victory on the PGA Tour is a significant challenge in the professional golf arena. Players holding a PGA Tour card are pitted against the top golfers globally, making it a tough competition.
Earning a PGA Tour title is no walk in the park due to the high level of competition. Some players can have successful careers without clinching a victory, while others may win multiple events and secure lifelong membership.
In this article, I will shed light on the percentage of PGA players who never win a tournament but are still shockingly doing well in their careers.
Who are the most successful PGA players without a PGA win?
As stated earlier, 90% of PGA players participate in the tour but never win. Here, I’ll list some top players you might already know and probably look up to who have never won a PGA tour.
- Brett Quigley
Brett Quigley, a professional golfer, has an extensive career playing on both the PGA Tour and the PGA Tour Champions. Despite participating in most PGA Tour events without securing a victory and making 408 starts, he has consistently cut over 50% of the time and achieved five runner-up finishes.
While he hasn’t won a PGA Tour event, Quigley has found success on the Champions Tour, winning the Morocco Champions in 2020 and the Constellation Furyk & Friends in 2023. In his lengthy and prosperous career, he has earned over $14 million and notched 39 top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour. Additionally, he has been a reliable performer on the Champions Tour, winning multiple times and finishing in the top 10 in the Charles Schwab Cup standings on numerous occasions.
- Brian Davis
Brian Davis, a former professional golfer from England, played on the PGA Tour from 2004 to 2021. Despite a successful career, he didn’t secure a win in any PGA Tour event.
Davis won two international tournaments: the 2000 Peugeot Open de Espana and the 2004 ANZ Championship on the European Tour. He also achieved multiple top-10 PGA Tour finishes and earned over $13 million.
In 2010, Davis was in a playoff with Jim Furyk at the Verizon Heritage tournament. In an honorable move, he called a penalty on himself for accidentally moving something in a hazard, resulting in a two-stroke penalty that cost him the tournament.
After retiring from professional golf, Davis became a golf coach and commentator.
- Brendon de Jonge
Brendon de Jonge, a professional golfer from Zimbabwe, has been on the PGA Tour for quite a while. Although he hasn’t won a PGA Tour event, he secured a victory in the Xerox Classic on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2008.
Throughout his career, de Jonge came close to winning, with a notable runner-up finish in the 2014 McGladrey Classic, where he lost in a playoff. He also achieved numerous top-10 finishes in PGA Tour events, with seven in 2010 being his most successful year.
In major championships, de Jonge’s best performances include a tie for 26th at the 2011 PGA Championship, a tie for 28th at the 2014 U.S. Open, and a tie for 37th at the 2014 Masters Tournament. 2008, he was recognized as the Nationwide Tour Player of the Year.
Despite not claiming a victory on the PGA Tour, de Jonge has had a successful career, earning over $12 million in prize money and maintaining consistent performance on the tour for many years.
- Cameron Tringale
Cameron Tringale is a professional golfer from the United States. He was part of the PGA Tour from 2010 until 2022, when he left and joined LIV Golf. His only professional win was in a team event at the Franklin Templeton Shootout 2014. Despite being consistent on the PGA Tour, he never won an individual event, a record for the highest career earnings on the tour without a win.
Even though Tringale hasn’t won an individual event on the PGA Tour, his steady performances have earned him respect as a reliable player.
- Jeff Overton
Jeff Overton, a former American professional golfer, played on the PGA Tour from 2005 to 2017. Despite not winning a PGA Tour event, he had a successful career, coming close to victory at the 2010 Greenbrier Classic. He held a three-shot lead after 54 holes but was surpassed by Stuart Appleby’s remarkable 4th round score of 59, securing his 9th PGA Tour win. After this event, Overton entered the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking.
In 2017, Overton faced a turning point in his career. A procedure meant to help a herniated disc resulted in a life-threatening infection in his spine, leading to emergency surgery. After overcoming the illness, he returned to the PGA Tour at the 3M Open in 2022. Although he didn’t win, he made notable shots and cherished moments with his family, including his wife and two daughters.
Despite not clinching a PGA Tour victory, Overton had a prosperous career, making nearly 300 starts and earning over $12 million in on-course earnings. He also contributed two points to the 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor.
- David Hearn
David Hearn is a professional golfer from Canada who has been on the PGA Tour since 2004. He has had a successful career with two wins in professional golf, one on the Nationwide Tour and another on the Canadian Tour. However, he has not yet secured a victory in a PGA Tour event.
Hearn has been close to winning a PGA Tour event multiple times. In 2015, he finished tied for second at the Greenbrier Classic, losing in a playoff to Danny Lee. Another notable finish was a tie for third place at the 2016 RBC Canadian Open. Despite these near victories, Hearn has not won a PGA Tour event.
- Brandt Jobe
Brandt Jobe is a professional golfer who has played on the PGA, Nationwide, and Champions. While he hasn’t won a PGA Tour event, he has achieved success in various tournaments.
Jobe’s notable victories include the 1996 Nike Louisiana Open, the 2003 Permian Basin Open, and the 2019 Boeing Classic. He also won at the 2017 Principal Charity Classic on the Champions Tour.
Despite not clinching a victory on the PGA Tour, Jobe has had a prosperous career as a professional golfer, earning over $10 million in total career earnings. He has also finished three times in the top 25 of the PGA Tour money list.
Who Has the Best Winning Percentage in PGA Tour History?
Tiger Woods holds the record for the best winning percentage in PGA history, winning 22% of the ranking tournaments he played. This means he emerged victorious in 93 out of 421 tournaments, winning approximately one game for every five starts. His remarkable achievement highlights his dominance in golf.
Tiger Woods shares the highest number of PGA Tour victories (82) with Sam Snead, including 15 major championships.
Currently, Rory McIlroy, the world number one, has a success rate of 8.3%, winning 31 out of 372 ranking tournaments. While not as high as Woods’ record, it still showcases McIlroy’s impressive skill and consistency on the golf course.
Considered one of the greatest golfers, Jack Nicklaus, the all-time major champion, has a winning rate of 12.5%. Over his 30-year career, Nicklaus cut 85% of tournaments and finished as a runner-up 58 times.
Do PGA players get paid if they don’t win?
PGA players receive payment only if they cut into two rounds in a tournament. The cut is a set point that determines which players continue to the final rounds. The top 65 players and ties who cut earn money among regular PGA Tour events, while the rest receive nothing.
However, there are exceptions, and some tournaments, like the Masters, pay golfers even if they don’t cut. For instance, at the 2023 PGA Championship, players who missed the cut still earned $4,000. Similar arrangements were made in other majors, such as the 2023 Masters, the 2022 Open Championship, and the 2022 U.S. Open, where players who missed the cut received varying amounts.
Exempt PGA Tour players also receive a guaranteed base income of $500,000. Rookies can claim this amount upfront and earn additional prize money only when they surpass the $500,000 base. Importantly, if they don’t reach that $500,000 threshold, they don’t have to return the initial money. This structure ensures PGA Tour players a minimum income of $500,000 per season.
Taking on the PGA Tour is challenging, especially with fierce international competition. However, when you delve into the stories of golfers like Brett Quigley and Cameron Tringale, you realize that success goes beyond simply winning. It involves maintaining consistency, earning substantial money, and making a lasting impact on the sport. These narratives demonstrate the various paths to triumph in professional golf, showing that a rewarding career isn’t solely dependent on winning a PGA Tour title.