Difficult to Compare Nelsons and Woods Streaks

By Associated PressJanuary 30, 2007, 5:00 pm
PGA TourSAN DIEGO -- Byron Nelson won 11 straight tournaments over five months.
Tiger Woods took almost that much time off between PGA TOUR victories No. 6 and No. 7 in a winning streak that is increasingly difficult to compare.
'Apples to oranges,' Woods said, and he just as easily could have mentioned lemons.
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods has enjoyed his romp through the PGA TOUR in recent months.
After winning five straight times from the British Open through the Deutsche Bank Championship, Woods lost in the first round of the HSBC World Match Play Championship on the European Tour in September. Two weeks later, he made it six in a row on the PGA TOUR (in London, of all places) and skipped the final month of the PGA TOUR season. Then he finished second two straight weeks in Asia.
His 'winning streak' reached seven with his victory Sunday at the Buick Invitational.
Got that?
For its records, the PGA TOUR only keeps track of tournaments that count toward its official money list. That's no different from policies in Europe, Japan or any other tour. And the record correctly shows Woods has won the last seven times he has teed it up on the PGA TOUR, the second-longest streak in history.
Whether the streak should be mentioned in the same scope as Nelson in 1945 is a fruitless discussion, because it's impossible to compare generations, no matter what sport.
John Elway or Johnny Unitas? Babe Ruth or Henry Aaron? Jesse Owens or Carl Lewis?
Woods broke Nelson's other streak -- 113 consecutive cuts -- at the end of the 2003 season, and even that was subject to debate. Making a cut in Nelson's era meant making money, and tournaments often paid only the top 20. Woods' cut streak that eventually reached 142 included 30 tournaments that didn't even have a cut.
So there's no need to explain to Woods that 2007 isn't the same as 1945, even beyond the standard argument about strength of field, course conditions, athleticism and evolving equipment.
Nelson traveled in a Ford Roadster. Woods takes a Gulfstream V.
Golf is so global now that Woods has played more overseas than on the PGA TOUR in the last four months, including this week in Dubai. For Nelson, international travel meant going to Montreal.
Woods last year renewed his deal with Nike that will pay him about $30 million a year. Nelson's big endorsement came from Wheaties for $200 and too much cereal, and he only got that deal after breaking the PGA TOUR record with his fifth straight win.
'I never had an agent, so I talked to them myself and they put my picture and some statistics about me on the box and paid me $200 plus a case of Wheaties a month for six months,' Nelson wrote in his 1993 autobiography. 'I had to give most of the cereal away, because while I liked Wheaties fine, you can only eat so much of it.'
Similarities in the streak are not hard to find.
Nelson's run included the PGA Championship, the only major on the schedule in 1945. Woods won two majors during his streak.
Nelson won his fifth straight tournament by nine shots. Woods captured his sixth straight by eight shots. Nelson had to birdie five of the last six holes to rally against Jug McSpadden in Philadelphia. Woods played his first seven holes in 6 under and shot 63 as he rallied to beat Vijay Singh in Boston.
The most glaring difference, however, is the duration.
Starting the first week of March, Nelson won his first five tournaments in five weeks, and there wasn't another tournament on the schedule until the Montreal Open the second week in June. The only tournament he skipped during the streak was the St. Paul Open a week after the PGA Championship. He missed that week because of a back injury. Small wonder.
The 11th and final victory in Nelson's streak came Aug. 4 at the Canadian Open.
'As you can imagine,' Nelson wrote, 'though I was playing very well, I was also getting very tired.'
Nelson won 18 times that year, a record Woods might never break because he might not even play 18 times in a year.
When he skipped the TOUR Championship last year, Woods said he was exhausted playing seven tournaments in nine weeks.
Apples to oranges, indeed.
To compare streaks, the best bet is Woods vs. Woods.
Seven years ago, the circumstances were nearly identical. Woods won his final four PGA TOUR events of the '99 season, finished sixth at the Johnnie Walker Classic in Thailand, then resumed his streak in 2000 and stretched it to six victories before it ended at Torrey Pines.
But it wasn't always smooth sailing.
He beat Phil Mickelson by one shot at Firestone and Ernie Els by one shot at Disney. He took triple bogey on the silly 17th hole at Valderrama, got into a playoff when Miguel Angel Jimenez bogeyed the 18th hole and won in the dark. He went eagle-birdie-birdie to beat Els on the second playoff hole at Kapalua with a 35-foot putt that no one is supposed to make. And at Pebble Beach, he rallied from seven shots down with seven holes to play.
He won those six tournaments by a combined eight shots.
Woods has won these seven PGA TOUR events by a combined 22 shots, and the only close call he had came at Firestone when Woods went four extra holes to beat Stewart Cink.
That might explain why there is so much speculation whether Woods can break the record.
It would require five more victories, which would take place over at least three months. And that's why any comparison of Nelson and Woods always should include apples and oranges, if not an asterisk.
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

"I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

"I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

"Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

Masters victory

Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

Departure from TaylorMade

Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

Victory at Valderrama

Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm