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Left-handers - how many have won major championships?

Only four champions, with seven championships between them: Sir Bob Charles, Mike Weir, Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson.

Year Player Championship Venue Score
1963 Bob Charles Open Championship Royal Lytham & St Annes 277 ¹
2003 Mike Weir The Masters Augusta National 281 ²
2004 Phil Mickelson The Masters Augusta National 279
2005 Phil Mickelson US PGA Championship Baltusrol 276
2006 Phil Mickelson The Masters Augusta National 281
2010 Phil Mickelson The Masters Augusta National 272
2012 Bubba Watson The Masters Augusta National 278 ³
¹ Charles defeated Phil Rodgers in a 36 hole playoff 140 to 148
² Weir defeated Len Mattiace 5 to 6 at the first hole of a sudden-death playoff
³ Watson defeated Louis Oosthuizen 4-4 to 4-5 in a sudden death playoff

Until very recently, left-handed golfers - and especially good ones - were a rarity. The reasons usually given are a lack of left-handed equipment, overwhelmingly right-handed coaches, and the fact that it actually makes more sense to play right-handed if your leading (ie stronger) hand is the left.

Bob Charles was the first left-hander to win a major championship
Bob Charles was the first left-hander to win a major championship

The first left-hander to take a major title was Bob Charles (Sir Robert Charles since his 1999 knighthood) of New Zealand, who won the Open Championship in 1963 at Royal Lytham & St Annes in an 18 hole playoff with American Phil Rogers.

It would be 40 years before the next left-hander claimed a major, in the person of Canadian Mike Weir at the 2003 Masters, also won in a sudden -death playoff with American Len Mattiace.

Hot on his heels, Phil Mickelson (known affectionately as 'Lefty') took the 2004 Masters, the 2005 PGA, the 2006 Masters and the 2010 Masters, all of them outright, beating respectively Ernie Els, Thomas Bjørn and Steve Elkington, Tim Clark, and in 2010 Lee Westwood into second place.

Perhaps reinforcing the point that the leading hand should be the stronger hand, both Mickelson and Weir are right-handed for everything except golf.

Most recently, Bubba Watson won the 2012 Masters in a playoff against Louis Oosthuizen, meaning that five of the seven major victories by left-handers have come at Augusta National.

April 2012

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