Stats incredible: Tiger's 40 greatest numerical records

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 30, 2016, 2:00 pm

(Editor's note: This originally ran last year, as Tiger Woods turned 40. Take a look back at Tiger's greatest statistical achievements as compiled by Justin Ray of the Golf Channel research department.)

When it comes to the complete demolition of a respective sport’s record book, Tiger Woods has few rivals. 

Babe Ruth ended his Major League Baseball career with 714 home runs. Before Ruth, baseball’s all-time home run leader was Roger Connor, with 138. In 1920, Ruth hit 54 home runs, which at the time, shattered his own single-season record by 25. Only one other TEAM besides the Yankees hit that many home runs that season. 

Yet, to say that Ruth has as staggering a resume as Woods is a disservice to Tiger. 

It may take decades, but someday, people will look at Tiger’s prime years as possibly the most dominant, relatively speaking, by any one athlete in the history of sports. 

Narrowing down Tiger’s greatest statistical achievements to just 40 is as entertaining as it is arduous. The goal was to illuminate a few of the numbers that go beyond the standards everyone knows – 14 (major wins), 79 (PGA Tour wins) and 15 (margin of victory at the 2000 U.S. Open). 

Revel in the insanity that has been Tiger’s historic greatness for the better part of 20 years:

40. Woods won 32 times on the PGA Tour from 1999 through 2003. No other player won more than eight times in that span. 

39. From the 1999 PGA Championship through the 2002 U.S. Open, Woods won seven of the 11 majors contested. Woods was a cumulative 94 under par in those tournaments – 60 shots better than any other player. 

38. Woods won 10 majors before his 30th birthday. Since the first Masters was held in 1934, the only player to even win five majors before turning 30 was Jack Nicklaus, who won seven. 

37. On that note: today, there is currently only one player with double-digit PGA Tour wins (not majors, just regular victories) under age 30: Rory McIlroy. 

36. In majors from 1997 through 2008, Tiger recorded 34 different rounds of 67 or better. No other player had more than 16 such rounds in that span. 

35. Woods won 46 times in his 20s, 16 more than any other player in PGA Tour history (Nicklaus, again, is second). During the time Woods was in his 20s, the player with the second-most victories before age 30 was David Duval, with 13. 

34. Woods was a combined 82 under at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational from 1999 through 2009 – 49 shots better than anyone else in that span. Tiger has racked up $11 million in official earnings in that event alone – more than six times what Arnold Palmer earned in his entire PGA Tour career. 

33. Woods has a career scoring average of 70.86 in the Masters. That is the best career scoring average in that event for any player with at least 50 rounds played. Woods’ 11 top-five finishes in the Masters is second all-time to Nicklaus. 

32. During the 2000 PGA Tour season, Woods recorded one round higher than 73. It came in the first round of the Masters. He shot 75, on a day when the field averaged 75.59. 

31. Tiger has won the Vardon Trophy (lowest scoring average on Tour) nine times, four more than any other player (Billy Casper, Lee Trevino). The trophy has been awarded since 1937. 

30. Woods has earned more than $110 million in official earnings in his PGA Tour career. The year before he turned pro, the Tour’s all-time career earnings leader was Greg Norman – at $9.59 million. 

29. Tiger was a combined 53 under in the majors in 2000. That was 35 shots better than anyone else that year. Though Jordan Spieth broke Woods’ season scoring mark in 2015 (he was a combined 54 under in the majors), he was just 19 shots better than his closest competitor, Jason Day (-35). 

28. There are five instances in PGA Tour history where a player won a single PGA Tour event seven or more times. Woods owns four of them. Sam Snead, who won in Greensboro eight times, is the only other player to do it once. 

27. Woods has spent 683 weeks as world No. 1 – 352 weeks (more than six years) more than any other player in OWGR history (Greg Norman is second). 

26. A player has won a major championship with a score of 18 under or better eight times. Tiger owns five of those eight instances. 

25. Woods is, of course, the only man in the modern era to win four consecutive majors – a feat known as the Tiger Slam. The last of Tiger’s four straight major wins came at age 25. The only other players in the modern era to even win four career majors (not consecutive) at age 25 or younger are Jack Nicklaus and Rory McIlroy. 

24. Woods is the only player in history to win the U.S. Junior Amateur, U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open in his career. He won three of each. 

23. Woods has won nine USGA Championships in his career, tied with Bobby Jones for most all-time. Woods won the 2000 U.S. Open by 15 shots. No other player in the last 100 years has won a U.S. Open by more than nine shots. 

22. From 2002-05, Woods had 1,540 putts from 3 feet and in on the PGA Tour. He only missed three of them. 

21. Woods completed the career Grand Slam at age 24. Not only is he the youngest player to win the slam, only five other players in the last 50 years have won a major at age 24 or younger. 

20. There have only been two instances since 1900 where a player won a major championship by 10 strokes or more. Woods owns both of those instances (1997 Masters, 2000 U.S. Open). 

19. Woods is the only player in the PGA Championship’s stroke-play era to win the tournament in consecutive years. He’s done it twice. 

18. Tiger is 16-1 in his career in playoffs on the PGA and European tours. His only defeat came to Billy Mayfair at the 1998 Nissan Open. 

17. Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year has been awarded since 1954. Woods is the only athlete to win the award more than once (1996, 2000). 

16. Tiger has held the outright 54-hole lead 45 times in his PGA Tour career. He went on to win 43 of them, good for a 95.6 percent clip. For context - over the last three PGA Tour seasons, players with an outright 54-hole lead have gone on to win 39.7 percent of the time. 

15. Tiger has held the outright 36-hole lead 33 times in his Tour career. He went on to win 28 of them (84.8 percent). In comparison, Jack Nicklaus’ 36-hole outright conversion rate was 63 percent. 

14. Tiger’s 46 PGA Tour wins before he turned 30 would be eighth on the overall all-time wins list – one ahead of Walter Hagen. 

13. Woods has missed 15 cuts on the PGA Tour as a professional. Spieth has missed 13. Spieth was three years old when Tiger turned pro. 

12. Adjusted scoring averages have been calculated on the PGA Tour since 1988. There are six instances where a player’s season adjusted scoring average was better than 68.6. They all belong to Woods. 

11. Woods has won 14 major championships. No other player currently age 40 or younger has more than 12 career regular PGA Tour wins (Zach Johnson, who turns 40 in February, has 12). 

10. Speaking of Zach - Tiger’s 79 Tour wins are 67 more than any other player currently 40 or younger. There are seven other players age 40 or younger with at least eight career PGA Tour wins. Those players – Johnson, Adam Scott, McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Geoff Ogilvy and Bubba Watson – have 67 wins combined. 

9. Woods is credited with 40 career wins on the European Tour, third-most all-time. Woods has never played a full season on the European Tour. 

8. Tiger is the only player since World War II to win a PGA Tour event four straight years. He did it two different times. 

7. Tiger is the only player in PGA Tour history to win eight or more times on a single course. He has done it on three different courses. 

6. Tiger has won five straight PGA Tour starts three different times. Over the last 60 years, he is the only player to do it once.

5. From 1997 through 2008, Woods led or co-led following any round in a major 42 different times. Second on the list in that span was Phil Mickelson – with 13. Woods won 14 majors in that span. 

4. Tiger has 18 career World Golf Championship victories. Second on the all-time list? Ogilvy. He has three. 

3. Woods had 142 consecutive PGA Tour events without missing a cut, from 1998-2005. That is 29 more than the second-longest streak in the Tour’s history (Byron Nelson, 113 in a row). There are only four other such streaks even half as long as Woods’. 

2. In a stretch from the middle of the 1999 season through the middle of the 2001 season, Woods won 20 of the 38 stroke-play events he played on the Tour (a .526 win percentage). In those events, Woods was a combined 472 under, a cumulative score 307 shots better than anyone else. Vijay Singh was second. 

1. From 1997 through 2008, Woods was a combined 126 under par in majors. There are 138 other players who played at least 40 rounds in major championships in that span. Among that group, Woods was a staggering 189 shots better than anyone else. Second on the list: Joe Ogilvie, at 63 over.

Rory McIlroy at the 2018 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship Getty Images

McIlroy making big statement in first start of 2018

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 3:40 pm

Rory McIlroy marched the fairways of Abu Dhabi Golf Club Saturday with that fighter pilot stride of his, with that confident little bob in his step that you see when he is in command of his full arsenal of shots.

So much for easing into the new year.

So much for working off rust and treating these first few months of 2018 as a warmup for the Masters and his bid to complete the career Grand Slam.

McIlroy, 28, is poised to announce his return to golf in spectacular fashion Sunday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

With back-to-back birdies to close his round, McIlroy put up a 7-under-par 65, leaving him just one shot off the lead going into the final round.

“It’s good,” McIlroy said. “I probably scored a bit better today, short game was needed as well, but I hit the ball very well, so all in all it was another great round and confidence builder, not just for this week but obviously for the rest of the season as well.”

McIlroy can make a strong statement with a win Sunday.

If he claims the title in his first start of the year, he sends a message about leaving all the woes of 2017 behind him. He sends a message about his fitness after a nagging rib injury plagued him all of last year. He sends a message about his readiness to reassert himself as the game’s best player in a world suddenly teeming with towering young talent.

After his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro, McIlroy is eager to show himself, as well as everyone else, that he is ready to challenge for major championships and the world No. 1 title again.

“It feels like awhile since I’ve won,” McIlroy said. “I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


A victory would be all the more meaningful because the week started with McIlroy paired with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and reigning European Tour Player of the Year Tommy Fleetwood.

McIlroy acknowledged the meaning of that going into Saturday’s round.

“That proves I’m back to full fitness and 100 percent healthy,” he said. “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now and one of, if not the best, drivers of the golf ball, and to be up there with him over the first two days proves to me I’m doing the right things and gives me confidence.”

It’s worth repeating what 2008 Masters champ Trevor Immelman said last month about pairings and the alpha-dog nature of the world’s best players. He was talking about Tiger Woods’ return at the Hero World Challenge, when Immelman said pairings matter, even in off season events.

“When you are the elite level, you are always trying to send a message,” Immelman said. “They want to show this guy, `This is what I got.’”

A victory with Johnson in the field just two weeks after Johnson won the Sentry Tournament of Champions in an eight-shot rout will get the attention of all the elite players.

A victory also sets this up as a January for the ages, making it the kind of big-bang start the game has struggled to create in the shadow of the NFL playoffs.

Johnson put on a tour-de-force performance winning in Hawaii and the confident young Spaniard Jon Rahm is just a shot off the lead this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour. Sergio Garcia is just two off the lead going into the final round of the Singapore Open. Tiger Woods makes his return to the PGA Tour at Torrey Pines next week.

To be sure, McIlroy has a lot of work to do Sunday.

Yet another rising young talent, Thomas Pieters, shares the lead with Ross Fisher. Fleetwood is just two shots back and Johnson five back.

McIlroy has such a good history at Abu Dhabi. Over the last seven years, he has finished second four times and third twice. Still, even a strong finish that falls short of winning bodes well for McIlroy in his first start of the year.

“I have never won my first start back out,” McIlroy said.

A strong start, whether he wins or not, sets McIlroy up well for the ambitious schedule he plans for 2018. He’s also scheduled to play the Dubai Desert Classic next with the possibility he’ll play 30 times this year, two more events than he’s ever played in a year.

“I’m just really getting my golf head back on,” McIlroy said. “I’ve been really pleased with that.”

A victory Sunday will make all our heads spin a little b it with the exciting possibilities the game offers this year.

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Garcia 2 back in weather-delayed Singapore Open

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 3:06 pm

SINGAPORE - Danthai Boonma and Chapchai Nirat built a two-stroke lead over a chasing pack that includes Sergio Garcia and Ryo Ishikawa midway through the third round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open on Saturday.

The Thai golfers were locked together at 9 under when play was suspended at the Sentosa Golf Club for the third day in a row because of lightning strikes in the area.

Masters champion Garcia and former teen prodigy Ishikawa were among seven players leading the chase at 7 under on a heavily congested leaderboard.

Garcia, one of 78 players who returned to the course just after dawn to complete their second rounds, was on the 10th hole of his third round when the warning siren was sounded to abruptly end play for the day.

''Let's see if we can finish the round, that will be nice,'' he said. ''But I think if I can play 4-under I should have a chance.''

The Spanish golfer credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his first major championship title at Augusta National because of the stifling humidity of southeast Asia and the testing stop-start nature of the tournament.


Full-field scores from the Singapore Open


Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore in 2017, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the subsequent week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later. He is feeling confident of his chances of success this weekend.

''I felt like I hit the ball OK,'' Garcia said. ''My putting and all went great but my speed hasn't been great on this green so let's see if I can be a little more aggressive on the rounds this weekend.''

Ishikawa moved into a share of the lead at the halfway stage after firing a second round of 5-under 66 that featured eight birdies. He birdied the first two holes of his third round to grab the outright lead but slipped back with a double-bogey at the tricky third hole for the third day in a row. He dropped another shot at the par-5 sixth when he drove into a fairway bunker.

''It was a short night but I had a good sleep and just putted well,'' Ishikawa said. The ''greens are a little quicker than yesterday but I still figured (out) that speed.

Ishikawa was thrust into the spotlight more than a decade ago. In 2007, he became the youngest player to win on any of the major tours in the world. He was a 15-year-old amateur when he won the Munsingwear Open KSB Cup.

He turned pro at 16, first played in the Masters when he was 17 and the Presidents Cup when he was 18. He shot 58 in the final round to win The Crowns in Japan when he was 19.

Now 26, Ishikawa has struggled with injuries and form in recent years. He lost his PGA Tour card and hasn't played in any of the majors since 2015. He has won 15 times as a professional, but has never won outside his homeland of Japan.

Chapchai was able to sleep in and put his feet up on Saturday morning after he completed his second round on Friday.

He bogeyed the third but reeled off three birdies in his next four holes to reach 9-under with the back nine still to play.

Danthai was tied for 12th at the halfway stage but charged into a share of the lead with seven birdies in the first 15 holes of his penultimate round.

Getty Images

McIlroy (65) one back in Abu Dhabi through 54

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 1:09 pm

Rory McIlroy moved into position to send a powerful message in his first start of the new year at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Closing out with back-to-back birdies Saturday, McIlroy posted a 7-under-par 65, leaving him poised to announce his return to golf in spectacular fashion after a winless year in 2017.

McIlroy heads into Sunday just a single shot behind the leaders, Thomas Pieters (67) and Ross Fisher (65), who are at 17-under overall at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

Making his first start after taking three-and-a-half months off to regroup from an injury-riddled year, McIlroy is looking sharp in his bid to win for the first time in 16 months. He chipped in for birdie from 50 feet at the 17th on Saturday and two-putted from 60 feet for another birdie to finish his round.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


McIlroy took 50 holes before making a bogey in Abu Dhabi. He pushed his tee shot into a greenside bunker at the 15th, where he left a delicate play in the bunker, then barely blasted his third out before holing a 15-footer for bogey.

McIlroy notably opened the tournament playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, who started the new year winning the PGA Tour’s Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in an eight-shot rout just two weeks ago. McIlroy was grouped in the first two rounds with Johnson and Tommy Fleetwood, the European Tour’s Player of the Year last season. McIlroy sits ahead of both of them going into the final round, with Johnson (68) tied for 12th, five shots back, and Fleetwood (67) tied for fourth, two shots back.

Those first two rounds left McIlroy feeling good about his off season work.

“That proves I’m back to full fitness and 100 percent health,” he said going into Saturday. “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now and of, if not the best, drivers of the golf ball, and to be up there with him over the first two days proves to me I’m doing the right things and gives me confidence.”

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Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''