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A major wait for success

ESPN staff
November 27, 2013
Tom Watson lost out to Stewart Cink and a number of records when finishing second at The Open in 2009 © PA Photos

Which golfer had the longest gap between major wins? asked Simon Powell

Four different golfers have gone 11 years between major wins. Britain's Henry Cotton, not helped by the Second World War, won the British Open in 1937 and again in 1948.

The other three were all American: Julius Boros won the US Open in 1952 and 1963; Hale Irwin won the US Open in 1979 and 1990; and Ben Crenshaw won the Masters in 1984 and 1995.

The longest gap between victories in two different majors is nine years, by Gene Sarazen (PGA Championship in 1923, then the British Open in 1932).

The longest span as a major winner is 24 years, by Jack Nicklaus, who won his first one in 1962 (US Open), and his 18th and last at the 1986 Masters.

Tom Watson, whose last major win was the 1983 British Open, would have smashed both those records if he'd managed to hold on in that gut-wrenching finish to the 2009 British Open at Turnberry, when the 59-year-old Watson lost a playoff to Stewart Cink.

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