Mark O'Meara: A Consistent Career Topped By One Great Year

Mark O''Meara plays from the sand during the 1999 Sprint International in Castle Rock, Colorado
Golfer Mark O'Meara. Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Mark O'Meara turned a late-career friendship with Tiger Woods into a newfound confidence that translated into two major championship victories in 1998. But he was a top pro golfer long before that, and his victories include five at Pebble Beach.

Fast Facts: Mark O'Meara

  • Occupation: Professional golfer
  • Born: January 13, 1957 in Goldsboro, North Carolina
  • Key Accomplishments: Winner of two major championships and 16 PGA Tour tournaments overall; PGA Tour Player of the Year recipient in 1998.
  • Spouse: Meredith O'Meara
  • Children: Michelle, Shaun, Aidan, Berkman
  • Famous Quote: On picking up golf as a youth: "Golf became my friend. Those days on the golf course by myself is when I fell in love with the game."
  • Fun Fact: O'Meara is the oldest golfer to win two majors in the same year — age 41 in 1998.

Number of O'Meara's Tour Victories

O'Meara won 16 tournaments total on the PGA (they are listed beneath his bio below). That total ties him for 53rd place on the all-time PGA Tour wins list. Other golfers with 16 career PGA Tour wins are Jack Burke Jr., Ralph Guldahl and Tom Weiskopf.

O'Meara is also credited with four wins on the European Tour and two on the Japan Tour. After reaching age 50, O'Meara won three times on the Champions Tour.

In the professional majors, O'Meara won twice: the 1998 Masters and 1998 British Open.

Before turning pro, O'Meara won the 1979 U.S. Amateur Championship, one of the amateur majors.

Awards and Honors for Mark O'Meara

  • Member, World Golf Hall of Fame
  • PGA Tour Player of the Year, 1998
  • Member, U.S. Ryder Cup team, 1985, 1989, 1991, 1997, 1999
  • Member, U.S. Presidents Cup team, 1996, 1998

Bio of Mark O'Meara

An accomplished golfer throughout his career — a winner in the 1980s and early 1990s — Mark O'Meara finally blossomed into one season of greatness after meeting Tiger Woods. O'Meara became a mentor to Woods in Tiger's earliest years on the PGA Tour; the two became neighbors, dinner companions, and played golf together frequently on their home course in Orlando, Fla.

And something happend to O'Meara as a result of all that Tiger time: "I learned the value of self-belief and drive from him," O'Meara would later say. The full quote:

"I had won plenty of times before I ever met Tiger (Woods), but I learned the value of self-belief and drive from him. He always believed in me, even when I didn't believe I could be a major champion."

In 1998, that self-belief and drive — and the golf game that had always been there — produced two major championships, the only ones of O'Meara's career, at the age of 41.

According to the PGA Tour, O'Meara took up golf after his family moved onto a golf course in California when he was 13. He became good enough to earn a scholarship to Long Beach State University, and his collegiate career peaked when he defeated another future PGA Tour winner, John Cook, in the finals of the 1979 U.S. Amateur Championship. (Cook was another golfer became a part of the O'Meara-Woods practice group in the 1990s.)

O'Meara turned pro in 1980, made it through Q-School at end of the year, and joined the PGA Tour in 1981.

His first PGA Tour win was the 1984 Greater Milwaukee Open. O'Meara also finished second five times that year, and had his best finish (second) on the money list. (He also had Top 10 money list finishes in 1985, 1990, 1996, 1997 and 1998).

Another two victories came in 1985, including the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Over the course of his career, O'Meara won the Pebble Beach Pro-Am another four times, for a record five total wins in that event.

O'Meara's best years were 1995-98, when he won twice each year. His 1998 season was previewed in 1997, with two wins on the USPGA and one on the European Tour.

And then 1998 arrived. In addition to The Masters — which O'Meara won with a final-hole birdie — and the British Open, O'Meara also won the World Match Play Championship in England, defeating Woods 1-up in the 36-hole final.

O'Meara never won again on the PGA Tour, and his last "regular" (as opposed to senior) victory was the 2004 Dubai Desert Classic on the European Tour. He finished his PGA Tour career with 16 wins 22 runner-up finishes.

He played for Team USA in the Ryder Cup five times and in the Presidents Cup twice.

O'Meara was noted as an excellent putter throughout his career, but in his later years on the PGA Tour that stroke deserted him. So he switched to what he called the "saw" grip, which the Associated Press described thusly: "The top hand — the left — assumes a normal position with the right pinching the shaft between the thumb and three fingers. The posture aligns the wrist with the forearm."

O'Meara joined the Champions Tour in 2007 and posted his only two senior victories in 2010. He was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2015.

In the early 2000s, O'Meara was frequently seen in Golf Channel infomercials and advertising for the hinged swing trainer called the Medicus. In 2004, O'Meara was one of two featured pros in the VHS instructional tape sponsored by Medicus and named Top Tips from Top Pros.

O'Meara today has a golf course design business.

List of O'Meara's Tournament Wins

The list of pro tournament wins by Mark O'Meara:

PGA Tour (16)

  • 1984 Greater Milwaukee Open
  • 1985 Bing Crosby National Pro-Am
  • 1985 Hawaiian Open
  • 1989 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
  • 1990 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
  • 1990 H.E.B. Texas Open
  • 1991 Walt Disney World/Oldsmobile Classic
  • 1992 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
  • 1995 Honda Classic
  • 1995 Bell Canadian Open
  • 1996 Mercedes Championships
  • 1996 Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic
  • 1997 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
  • 1997 Buick Invitational
  • 1998 Masters Tournament
  • 1998 British Open Championship

European Tour (4)

  • 1987 Lawrence Batley International
  • 1997 Trophee Lancome
  • 1998 British Open
  • 2004 Dubai Desert Classic

Japan Tour (2)

  • 1985 Fujisankei Classic
  • 1992 Tokai Classic

Champions Tour (3)

  • 2010 Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf
  • 2010 Senior Players Championship
  • 2019 Cologuard Classic
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