Fifty Sense


Earlier in the week we were wondering how it could be that no American younger than 30 was ranked in the top 50 in the world.
Now we are wondering how one American, could have won 50 PGA TOUR events at the age of 30.
Pretty cool, were the first words out of Woods mouth late Sunday in Michigan after he had dominated the Buick Open with four straight 66s and a three-shot victory over Jim Furyk. Call it Route 66. Or, if you prefer, Rout 66.
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods won No. 50 on the strength of four straight 66s.
Furyk and Woods, by the way, will be partners in all the team matches when the Ryder Cup convenes next month in Ireland. Of that you can be sure.
Where exactly, though, do we begin trying to put Woods mark of 50 victories in perspective?
It is not, in my opinion, as remarkable as the 15 shots he won the U.S. Open by in 2000. Nor as remarkable as the 12 shots he won the Masters by in 1997. Nor the fact that he has won 11 majors in 11 tries when leading after 54 holes. Or, for that matter, the fact that Woods is now 21 out of 21 when leading by two shots or more after 54 holes in PGA events.
Maybe the most amazing thing about all of this is that Woods having 50 wins at age 30 is well down the list of his most amazing achievements.
The sociological impact of the 1997 Masters was patently obvious and still reverberates to this day. The clinical efficiency of how he systematically dismantled Pebble Beach and the field at the Pebble Beach Open in 2000 will serve as text book stuff as long as game is played.
He won nine times that year. He has now won four times in 11 starts this season and will be a heavy favorite to capture his third PGA Championship the week after next at Medinah No. 3. Sunday in Michigan he hit 17 of 18 greens. His distance control was superior. His speed on the greens was spot on.
All of which begs the question: How close is Woods to getting all the way back to the form he enjoyed in 2000, his seminal year to date?
My one word answer: Close.
Meanwhile a victory at Medinah will cinch his eighth Player of the Year award. He will probably receive that honor even if he doesnt win at the PGA.
Spinning it forward, will Woods win 100 times before he puts the clubs away for good? Will he play on after he has eclipsed Jack Nicklaus record of 18 professional majors? Will he win a major championship after he has turned 50?
All delicious questions.
Ill leave you with this one: If Tiger Woods can win his 50th at 30, who is anybody to say he wont have 30 major championships by the time hes 50?
Nonsense, you say?
I say: Never say never to Tiger Woods.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
Related Links:
  • Tiger's 50 PGA TOUR Wins
  • Leaderboard - Buick Open
  • Full Coverage - Buick Open