Impossible to Compare Records in Golf

By George WhiteOctober 28, 2003, 5:00 pm
There ought to be a way to neutralize statistics on the PGA Tour. There must be some way lists could be arranged, rankings could become more even-steven ' isnt there?
Tiger Woods tied the record last week ' Byron Nelsons cut record. And Tiger Woods dropped to second on this years money list. But the money list doesnt mean a whole lot when he has teed it up eight times fewer than the man in first place. And the record will never be broken, since they dont hold golf tournaments the way they did when Byron Nelson was playing.
Vijay Singh is a wonderful player, but it doesnt seem right to confuse his record this year with Woods. Woods has played 17 times and made $6,577,413. Singh has started 25 times and made $6,827,507. Woods, if my calculator is working properly, is making $386,906 for every week he enters an event. Singh is averaging $273,100.
The point here is certainly not to belittle Singhs record. I dont know anyone who would pooh-pooh $273,000 for a weeks work. But just because he has the lead in the money chase doesnt mean, by any stretch of the imagination, that he has played better than Woods. On the contrary, Woods per-event average is about $113,000 more than Singhs.
Singh, of course, cant do anything about Tiger not playing more often. This week is Exhibit A ' Woods is skipping the Chrysler Championship near Clearwater, Fla., though it is less than 100 miles from his home in Orlando. Singh is playing, and he could put the money chase out of reach, regardless of what happens in the Tour Championship.
Woods chooses not to play. The money title is not that important to him. It may not be THAT important to Singh, either, but he plays more than half the events on the tour schedule and he makes the big bucks when he plays. Maybe it is to his credit that he chooses to play so frequently and STILL averages 273 thou.
The other issue is one that also is a disservice to Woods, but it has to be mentioned if you are going to lump him and Nelson together in the made-the-cut category. This one, when you think about it, is even more odd than the money race.
The PGA Tour recognized Nelsons record of 113 events in the money before Woods matched it at the Funai Classic last week. But Nelson had to finish in the top 20 most of time to earn a check. He finished no worse than a tie for 17th in any of the tournaments he played during the streak. The mark, set during 1940-45, still ranks as a tribute to consistency perhaps unrivaled in sports.
Tigers 113 includes 23 events which dont have a cut. And of the ones that do have a cut, the top 60 and ties - or the top 70 and ties - earn a check. You have to ask yourself if the two streaks can possibly be compared.
On the one hand, Nelson faced weaker competition. A lot of the prime talent was gone from the golf tour to World War II. But was that a reason to denigrate his record? He still had Sam Snead and Ben Hogan to joust with him.
Tiger, on the other hand, has done everything asked of him. In several instances, he has won the events in which there wasnt a cut ' World Golf Championship events, Tour Championships, etc. Do you arbitrarily throw out those tournaments, just because everyone gets paid?
You see, there is no plausible way to compare the two different eras. Nelsons record will ALWAYS stand ' just as Woods now has a record that is far superior to anyone playing today.
And just as important, Singhs mark cannot be compared with Woods. You cannot say that Singh has had the more productive year, just because he has amassed more money. Give him the crown for players who have played 25 or more times. Give him a gold star for the PGA Tour record. Just dont believe he has earned more per tee-up than Tiger Woods.
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Ortiz takes Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

Former Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Tour Player of the Year.

McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

Memo to the golf gods:

If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.

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Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x