Tigers Timeline Greatest in Golf History
On occasion, he surprises and doesnt get there. But if its tight and hes involved, forget it. Number 1, hes going to win. And No. 2, the rest of the field is going to see his name up there and self-disintegrate trying to do the things necessary to get to the finish line first. If necessary, he outduels them (see Bob May in the 99 PGA). Other times, he just gets to the top and watches the field fade, one by one, as they scurry around in a futile effort to bump him off (see the 2002 Masters).
Its interesting to see how Woods career parallels that of two of the greatest, Bobby Jones and Jack Nicklaus. Comparisons like these are difficult since they are about players from different eras with different equipment on different golf courses. And each era has different challenges as well Jones was a lifelong amateur who didnt have a pro tour to conquer Nicklaus married early and raised a rather large family, so golf wasnt a constant priority Woods has to cope with 7,200-yard monsters and non-stop golf without much of a letup. But it is interesting to see some benchmarks at various stages of their lives.
Jones career is a little harder to track and compare, since he played solely in the 1920s and one final year in 1930. He retired at age 28 and settled down to establish Augusta National and the Masters. The PGA Tour wasnt a reality when he played - most of the top golf was played at big amateur events. Therefore, the U.S. Amateur and British Amateur were majors. He wasnt a PGA of America member, so he didnt play in the PGA. At that time, though, the PGA wasnt considered a major.
Its an amazing coincidence that the numbers on all three are almost identical. Tiger and Jones won their first majors at age 21, Nicklaus won his first in his first full year at age 22. Nicklaus, in fact, made the U.S. Open his first professional win. Woods won the Masters in his first full year on tour in 1997.
By the time he was 22, Jones won his second major. Tiger and Nicklaus won their second by the time they were 23. Nicklaus also won his third at the age of 23, the same as Jones.
Tiger didnt win his third until he was 24, but that year, he won three majors. So Nos. 4 and 5 followed before he turned 25. Jones also won Nos. 4 and 5 at a similar age, before the 25th birthday.
Jones won Nos. 6 and 7 at age 25. Woods won No. 6 at age 25. Nicklaus didnt win any at age 25, but at age 26, he won his fifth and sixth. At age 26, Jones won his eighth major. Tiger, now 26 himself, just won his seventh major. But he has the rest of the year ' and three remaining majors ' before the end of his 26th year.
Jones played less than 10 times a year, so a comparison of overall victories isnt fair. But consider Nicklaus and Woods ' at this early stage of his career and judging only by number of wins, Woods is the superior by a good margin.
Nicklaus won for the 10th time in his third year, at age 23. Woods won for the 10th time in his third year, at age 23. But Nicklaus 20th win didnt come until his sixth year, while Woods had won 20 by his fourth full year. Woods started late in 1996 and played eight events that fall before his first full season in 1997.
Thirty wins? Nicklaus won No. 30 in 1970, in his ninth season. Woods won No. 30 at Bay Hill this year, his sixth full season.
Nicklaus didnt hit his stride until the ages of 32 and 33, when he won seven times each for a total of 14 wins. Tiger has already surpassed that victory total twice, in 1999 at the age of 23 when he won eight times, then again in 2000 at the age of 24 when he won nine times.
Suddenly, Nicklaus official record of 70 wins doesnt seem nearly as impossible. Woods already has won 31 times and he isnt even halfway through his 26th year. Actually, Nicklaus won 73 times by todays records ' his three British Opens didnt count as PGA Tour wins, though Tigers do.
Jacks 70 (or 73) wins is second in career victories to Sam Sneads 81 (82 counting Sneads one British Open victory). Anybody want to bet that Tiger doesnt eclipse 81 ' or 82 - by the time he is through?
That is 50 more victories for Woods. Whew ' what a bunch of Ws! But its almost certain to fall if Woods remains healthy. He wont get to play in tournaments like the West Virginia Closed Pro, the Inverness Four-Ball, the Goodall Round Robin, or the Miami Four-Ball (all Snead wins), but its likely he will get to 82 if he plays long enough.
Friends, we are seeing something that is unique in sports history. A young man is rampaging through the pages of history, and we are the fortunate witnesses. Jones won the Grand Slam in 1930, an enviable accomplishment. Nicklaus won six Masters titles and 71 victories, certainly a great career. But Woods ' what is there that this young man cant accomplish?
After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time
Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.
On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...
Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).
Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.
It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard
On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...
There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.
He sure looks like the real deal, though.
His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.
Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner
Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2
With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.
He picked up one more No. 2, too.
The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.
In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.
Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.
“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”
Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.
Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.
He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.
Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title
Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.
Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.
His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.
“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."
Tom Brady, postgame, on wearing the wrap on his hand: “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that. It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament.”— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) January 22, 2018
Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.
Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.
Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder
Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:
Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)
What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.
Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.
Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.
Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.
Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.
Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:
Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry