His cuts-made streak was a lot more difficult than what Ive been able to do, said Woods, who after this week should jump into third place all-time on that list with 87, 26 shy of Byrons record of 113.
To finish in the money, he had to get inside the top 20 back then, and to be able to do that 113 straight times, thats awfully impressive, explained the young man whos not only the Tours best player, but arguably its best historian.
The way it is now, we play deeper fields, Woods continued. But you can finish tied for 70th and still continue your cuts-made streak. Plus, we have certain events like the World Golf Championships where youre guaranteed to play four rounds, so its kind of misleading. Nontheless, if you ask either one of us, I think were going to be very proud of being that consistent for a long period of time, because youre going to have days where youre not playing well.
Byron, in fact, was asked where his cuts-made streak ranked among his accomplishments and he didnt flinch: Number one, he said. The consistency was the one thing I liked most about my game.
Nelson, of course, is best remembered for having won 11 in a row in 1945. That same season he set another record that stood for 55 years until Tiger broke it in 2000. Nelson had played 112 competitive rounds with a stroke average of 68.33; Tiger played 76 with an average of 68.17. Its a mark in which Woods takes enormous pride.
To be able to grind it out, he said, and somehow manage your way around a golf course to shoot a number that keeps you in a tournament, thats something Im very proud of.
At his Tuesday press conference, Byron was asked who is the best player hes ever watched.
Tiger Woods, he said.
Woods first tournament after winning his first Masters was right here at the Byron Nelson, which he won. The year was 1997, the year he announced that his professional career would be no different than his amateur days. He would do great things, and consistently so.
Greatness and consistency are the hallmarks that link the 26-year-old Woods to the 90-year-old Nelson, whos left three generations with a standard of excellence at which to aim. Hes also given them a tournament and a time to enjoy that pursuit.