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Ranking the best decades of each major (1960-2019)

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The 148th Open Championship was the 40th and final major contested in the decade of the 2010s. GolfChannel.com writer Will Gray ranked the best majors over the last 10 years, prior to Lowry's Open domination, and we are going a little deeper here.

Below is a look at the winner of every major from each decade, beginning with the 1960s. GolfChannel.com writers, editors and feature producers surveyed those results and then ranked the decades for each major.

Were the 1960s better than the 1980s at Augusta National? Where do the 2010s rank for each of the four majors? First, take a look at all the major champs, year by year, decade by decade. Then look at our ranking results.

Year Masters U.S. Open The Open PGA Championship
1960 Arnold Palmer Arnold Palmer Kel Nagle Jay Hebert
1961 Gary Player Gene Littler Arnold Palmer Jerry Barber
1962 Arnold Palmer Jack Nicklaus Arnold Palmer Gary Player
1963 Jack Nicklaus Julius Boros Bob Charles Jack Nicklaus
1964 Arnold Palmer Ken Venturi Tony Lema Bobby Nichols
1965 Jack Nicklaus Gary Player Peter Thomson Dave Marr
1966 Jack Nicklaus Billy Casper Jack Nicklaus Al Geiberger
1967 Gay Brewer Jack Nicklaus Roberto De Vicenzo Don January
1968 Bob Goalby Lee Trevino Gary Player Julius Boros
1969 George Archer Orville Moody Tony Jacklin Ray Floyd
Year Masters U.S. Open The Open PGA Championship
1970 Billy Casper Tony Jacklin Jack Nicklaus Dave Stockton
1971 Charles Coody Lee Trevino Lee Trevino Jack Nicklaus
1972 Jack Nicklaus Jack Nicklaus Lee Trevino Gary Player
1973 Tommy Aaron Johnny Miller Tom Weiskopf Jack Nicklaus
1974 Gary Player Hale Irwin Gary Player Lee Trevino
1975 Jack Nicklaus Lou Graham Tom Watson Jack Nicklaus
1976 Ray Floyd Jerry Pate Johnny Miller Dave Stockton
1977 Tom Watson Hubert Green Tom Watson Lanny Wadkins
1978 Gary Player Andy North Jack Nicklaus John Mahaffey
1979 Fuzzy Zoeller Hale Irwin Seve Ballesteros David Graham
Year Masters U.S. Open The Open PGA Championship
1980 Seve Ballesteros Jack Nicklaus Tom Watson Jack Nicklaus
1981 Tom Watson David Graham Bill Rogers Larry Nelson
1982 Craig Stadler Tom Watson Tom Watson Ray Floyd
1983 Seve Ballesteros Larry Nelson Tom Watson Hal Sutton
1984 Ben Crenshaw Fuzzy Zoeller Seve Ballesteros Lee Trevino
1985 Bernhard Langer Andy North Sandy Lyle Hubert Green
1986 Jack Nicklaus Ray Floyd Greg Norman Bob Tway
1987 Larry Mize Scott Simpson Nick Faldo Larry Nelson
1988 Sandy Lyle Curtis Strange Seve Ballesteros Jeff Sluman
1989 Nick Faldo Curtis Strange Mark Calcavecchia Payne Stewart
Year Masters U.S. Open The Open PGA Championship
1990 Nick Faldo Hale Irwin Nick Faldo Wayne Grady
1991 Ian Woosnam Payne Stewart Ian Baker-Finch John Daly
1992 Fred Couples Tom Kite Nick Faldo Nick Price
1993 Bernhard Langer Lee Janzen Greg Norman Paul Azinger
1994 Jose Maria Olazabal Ernie Els Nick Price Nick Price
1995 Ben Crenshaw Corey Pavin John Daly Steve Elkington
1996 Nick Faldo Steve Jones Tom Lehman Mark Brooks
1997 Tiger Woods Ernie Els Justin Leonard Davis Love III
1998 Mark O’Meara Lee Janzen Mark O’Meara Vijay Singh
1999 Jose Maria Olazabal Payne Stewart Paul Lawrie Tiger Woods
Year Masters U.S. Open The Open PGA Championship
2000 Vijay Singh Tiger Woods Tiger Woods Tiger Woods
2001 Tiger Woods Retief Goosen David Duval David Toms
2002 Tiger Woods Tiger Woods Ernie Els Rich Beem
2003 Mike Weir Jim Furyk Ben Curtis Shaun Micheel
2004 Phil Mickelson Retief Goosen Todd Hamilton Vijay Singh
2005 Tiger Woods Michael Campbell Tiger Woods Phil Mickelson
2006 Phil Mickelson Geoff Ogilvy Tiger Woods Tiger Woods
2007 Zach Johnson Angel Cabrera Padraig Harrington Tiger Woods
2008 Trevor Immelman Tiger Woods Padraig Harrington Padraig Harrington
2009 Angel Cabrera Lucas Glover Stewart Cink Y.E. Yang
Year Masters U.S. Open PGA Championship The Open
2010 Phil Mickelson Graeme McDowell Martin Kaymer Louis Oosthuizen
2011 Charl Schwartzel Rory McIlroy Keegan Bradley Darren Clarke
2012 Bubba Watson Webb Simpson Rory McIlroy Ernie Els
2013 Adam Scott Justin Rose Jason Dufner Phil Mickelson
2014 Bubba Watson Martin Kaymer Rory McIlroy Rory McIlroy
2015 Jordan Spieth Jordan Spieth Jason Day Zach Johnson
2016 Danny Willett Dustin Johnson Jimmy Walker Henrik Stenson
2017 Sergio Garcia Brooks Koepka Justin Thomas Jordan Spieth
2018 Patrick Reed Brooks Koepka Brooks Koepka Francesco Molinari
2019 Tiger Woods Gary Woodland Brooks Koepka Shane Lowry


GolfChannel.com major decades rankings

Masters Tournament

1. 1960s
2. 1990s
3. 2000s
4. 1980s
5. 2010s
6. 1970s

Why: This vote wasn't close as the 1960s earned a full first-place sweep in the voting. While there were only six different winners of the tournament, the back-and-forth between Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer defined the Masters as we know it. Interestingly, every player who won a green jacket in the '90s is currently in the World Golf Hall of Fame.


PGA Championship

1. 2000s
2. 1970s
3. 1990s
4. 2010s
5. 1980s
6. 1960s

Why: The PGA voting varied the most but, the 2000s reigned. It was the most recent decade, of all the majors, to earn first place and has Tiger Woods to thank for its position. Woods won three Wanamaker Trophies in the decade and prevailed in, arguably, the most dramatic event (2000) in championship history. The 1970s was a close second, producing champions such of Nicklaus (3), Gary Player, Lee Trevino, Lanny Wadkins and Dave Stockton (2).


U.S. Open

1. 1960s
2. 1970s
3. 2000s
4. 1980s
5. 2010s
6. 1990s

Why: Palmer's comeback, Palmer's collapse, the emergence of Nicklaus, Ken Venturi's agonizing triumph. The 1960s ruled among the U.S. Open decades. It was a near-unanimous pick for No. 1, with the '70s barely edging out the aughts for second.


Open Championship

1. 1970s
2. 1980s
3. 1960s
4. 2000s
5. 2010s
6. 1990s

Why: Not only did the '70s rank first among the Open decades, it was the pick among the panel as the greatest decade of all the majors, from 1960-2019. Nicklaus wins twice at St. Andrews; Trevino goes back-to-back; Tom Watson wins his first two of five claret jugs; not to mention Tom Weiskopf, Gary Player and Johnny Miller winning. The decade also closed with the beginning of the Seve Ballesteros era.