Impossible to Compare Records in Golf


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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