Number 50 Full of Engaging Tales

By George WhiteAugust 7, 2006, 4:00 pm
A man much wiser than me said that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. I want to change that a little ' those who study history are prone to repeat it.
Tiger Woods now has 50 wins. And he definitely has studied the golf history books. His career continues to carve out an almost eerie resemblance to the man he is chasing for the major-title record ' Jack Nicklaus. Nicklaus timeline matches that of Tiger more closely than of the other four men who won at least 50 victories.
Tiger won No. 50, the Buick Open in this, his 10th year as a professional at age 30. Nicklaus won his 50th in 1973 when he collected another major, the PGA Championship. It was Jacks 12th year as a pro.
Nicklaus was 33 that year. Number 50 was also hugely significant for Nicklaus in that it gave him the lead in majors won. His 14 major titles bested Bobby Jones record of 13 amateur and professional majors. Jones won four U.S. Opens, three British Opens, five U.S. Amateurs and one British Amateur playing until 1930. The Masters, which Jones inaugurated in 1934, was not in existence when he was still a fulltime player.
Tiger, by the way, also surpassed Jones in the amateur-professional majors won category this year. When he won the British Open in July, it was Woods 14th amateur-professional major. It was also Tigers 11th professional major, which ties him with Walter Hagen for second place behind Nicklaus 18.
Jacks personal life was far different from Tigers ' Jack had just fathered his fifth and final child when he won No. 50. Woods has only been married less than two years. Nicklaus son Gary was born July 24th in 73, making him a little more than two weeks old when Jack won the PGA for No. 50.
One other oddity connecting the two ' Nicklaus father Charley died in 1970 when Jack was 30. Tigers father Earl died this year ' when Tiger was 30.
Three other men who won at least 50 ' Arnold Palmer, Byron Nelson and Sam Snead ' mirror the number of years as a pro that it took Nicklaus to win 50.
Palmer was 37 and in his 12th year when he won No. 50, the 1967 Tucson Open. Palmer was in the Coast Guard for a time before he turned pro, then was a paint salesman. He became a pro at age 25 and eventually would win 62 times on the regular tour.
Snead, the all-time win leader with 82, was in his 13th year when he won the 50th. It came during a 10-win season in 1950 when the 36-year-old Snead won the Los Angeles Open. Snead was the leading money-winner that year when he won $35,758. Heres an oddity: Snead would make a hole-in-one with every club in the bag ' except the putter, of course - during his career.
Nelson won No. 50 in the 13th year of his career, the year after his great 1945 season when he won 11 straight and 18 over-all. The 50th came at the Columbus (Ohio) Invitational in 46 when he was 34, which also happened to be his final year as an active player. Nelson had won enough money to purchase what was his lifelong dream, a farm in North Texas.
He would win 52 titles in all, the final time when he came out of retirement to capture the Bing Crosby Invitational in 1951.

Ben Hogan won 64 times with No. 50 coming in 1949, also at the Crosby. It was at age 36 in the 18th year of his stop-and-start career.
Two weeks after he won the 50th, on Feb. 2, Hogan had the tragic auto accident which almost ended his life. He won the week following his No. 50th, this one at Long Beach. He lost to Jimmy Demaret in a playoff at Phoenix the following week and was returning to his Fort Worth home. Hogan and wife Valerie spent the night in the West Texas town of Van Horn and had just gotten under way early the next morning when they collided head-on with a Greyhound bus that had crossed the center line 19 miles out of town. Hogan never would fully recover, though he would win 14 more times.
Billy Casper won 51 times, No. 50 being the 1973 tournament in Hartford ' known then as the Sammy Davis Jr. Greater Hartford Open. Casper was by then 41 years old and in his 20th year as a professional.
Tiger Woods? Hes still a work in progress. Will he surpass Sneads 82? Will he beat Jacks 18 majors, 20 over-all? No one, of course, knows at the juncture. But this much is certain ' he reached No. 50 two years sooner than anyone else. And who knows where the wonderful journey will finally end?
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Related Links:
  • Tiger's 50 PGA TOUR Wins
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  • Trump playing 'quickly' with Tiger, DJ

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2017, 1:33 pm

    Updated at 11:14 a.m. ET

    An Instagram user known as hwalks posted photos to her account that included images of Tiger Woods, President Trump and Dustin Johnson Friday at Trump National, as well as video of Woods' swing.

    Original story:

    Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.

    President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

    Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.

    Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong

    By Associated PressNovember 24, 2017, 1:19 pm

    HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.

    Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.

    ''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''

    Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open

    Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.

    Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.

    ''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''

    Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.

    Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).

    ''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''

    Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

    By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

    Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

    Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

    What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.

    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

    Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

    Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

    Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

    Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

    Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

    Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

    In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

    "It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’

    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

    Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

    “Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

    “That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

    Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.