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.

Getty Images

After Further Review: Nelson lost in the shuffle?

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 21, 2018, 3:40 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the Nelson's future ...

If the goal was “different” by bringing the AT&T Byron Nelson to Trinity Forest, consider it achieved. But bringing a world-class field south of Dallas could still be tricky.

Yes, the tournament can always rely on local resident and AT&T spokesman Jordan Spieth to throw his hat in the ring. But even with Spieth strolling the fairways this week, the field strength was among the worst all season for a full-point event.

The debut of the sprawling, links-like layout likely did little to sway the undecideds, with only the third round offering the challenging conditions that course co-designer Ben Crenshaw had envisioned. And the schedule won’t do them any favors next year, as a revamped itinerary likely puts the Nelson right before the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black.

The course will inevitably get better with age, and Spieth expects positive word of mouth to spread. But it might be a while before the stars truly align for an event that, for the moment, feels lost in the shuffle of a hectic schedule. – Will Gray


On Jordan Spieth's putting ...

Jordan Spieth’s putting is plainly bad right now, but it isn’t going to stay this bad forever.

He is the second ranked player on Tour in strokes gained: tee-to-green, just like he was last year. This putting slump has lingered, but it’s unfathomable to think this guy just forgot how to putt.

Sooner rather than later he’s going to remember he’s Jordan Spieth and the 40-footers are going to start pouring in. He’ll be telling Greller to go get the ball because he’s too far away and the tee is in the other direction.

Bottom line, the ball striking is for real and the putting slump will pass. He’ll win soon – maybe even as soon as this week. – Nick Menta


On golf and gambling ...

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court over tuned a federal ban on sports betting in most states, a move the PGA Tour and many professional sports leagues embraced as a tool to both build fan interest and grow revenue.

Experts estimate sports betting could become a $150-$200 billion annual industry, and even a small piece of that could be significant for golf, but there will be risks.

Unlike any other sport, golf is played on multiple fields simultaneously, which inherently creates risks when gambling is introduced to the equation. Although the Tour has gone to great pains to head off any potential problems, like all bets gambling comes with great rewards, and great risks. – Rex Hoggard

Getty Images

Wise continues whirlwind ascent with first win

By Will GrayMay 21, 2018, 3:13 am

DALLAS – Still shy of his 22nd birthday, Aaron Wise continues to prove himself to be a quick learner.

Wise went from unheralded prospect to NCAA individual champ seemingly in the blink of an eye while at the University of Oregon. After eschewing his final two years of eligibility in Eugene, he won in Canada on the Mackenzie Tour in his third start as a professional.

He continued a quick learning curve with a win last year on the Web.com Tour to propel him to the big leagues, and he didn’t flinch while going toe-to-toe with Jason Day two weeks ago, even though the result didn’t go his way.

Faced with another opportunity to take down a top-ranked Aussie, Wise made sure he got the job done Sunday at the AT&T Byron Nelson – even though it took until dark.

With mid-day rains turning a firm and fast layout into a birdie barrage, Wise seamlessly switched gears and put his first PGA Tour title on ice in impressive fashion with a bogey-free 65. Deadlocked with Marc Leishman to start the day, Wise made six birdies in his first 10 holes and coasted to a three-shot win as the leaders barely beat the setting sun to avoid an anticlimactic Monday finish at Trinity Forest Golf Club.


Full-field scores from the AT&T Byron Nelson

AT&T Byron Nelson: Articles, photos and videos


As it turned out, the hardest part of the day was enduring the four-hour weather delay alongside his mother, Karla, as his afternoon tee time turned into a twilight affair.

“She was talking to me in the hotel about what a win could mean, what a second could mean, kind of taking me through all that,” Wise said. “I was like, I’ve got to calm down. I can’t just sit here. I said, ‘You’ve got to go.’ I kind of made her leave the room.”

Wise displayed some jitters right out of the gates, with a nervy three-putt par on the opening hole. But with several players going on birdie runs to turn what seemed like a two-man race into a much more wide-open affair, Wise went on a tear of his own with four birdies in a row on Nos. 7-10.

That gave him a window over Leishman and the rest of the chase pack, and he never looked back.

“I talked to myself and kind of made myself trust my putting,” Wise said. “These greens out here are really tricky, and for me to roll those putts in on 8 and 9 really kind of separated things.”

Leishman had held at least a share of the lead after each round, and the 34-year-old veteran was looking for his third win in the last 14 months. But a bogey on No. 10 coincided with a Wise birdie to boost the rookie’s advantage from two shots to four, and Leishman never got closer than three shots the rest of the way.

“He holed putts he needed to hole, and I didn’t,” Leishman said. “Hit a couple loose shots where I could have probably put a bit of pressure on him, and didn’t. And that’s probably the difference in the end.”

Instead of sitting next to a trophy in Dallas, Wise could have been closing out his senior season next week with an NCAA appearance at Karsten Creek. But the roots of his quick climb trace back to the Master of the Amateurs in Australia in December 2015, a tournament he won and one that gave him confidence that he could hold his own against the best in the world. He returned to Eugene and promptly told his coach, Casey Martin, that he planned to turn pro in the spring.

The same dogged confidence that drove that decision has been the guiding force behind a whirlwind ascent through every rung of the professional ladder.

“I just have a lot of belief in myself. I didn’t come from a lot. A lot of people don’t know that. I didn’t get to travel a bunch when I played junior golf,” Wise said. “Kind of all along it’s been very, very few moments to shine and I have had to take advantage of them.”

Despite that belief, even Wise admits that he’s “shocked” to turn only his second real chance to contend at this level into a maiden victory. But fueled by the memories of a close call two weeks ago, he put the lessons learned at Quail Hollow to quick use while taking the next step in an increasingly promising career arc.

“It was awesome, everything I dreamed of,” Wise said. “To walk up 18, knowing I kind of had it locked up, was pretty cool.”

Getty Images

Grace celebrates birthday with final-round 62

By Will GrayMay 21, 2018, 1:51 am

DALLAS – Branden Grace celebrated his 30th birthday in style, making the biggest charge of the final round at the AT&T Byron Nelson.

Grace closed out a 9-under 62 as the sun began to set at Trinity Forest Golf Club, moving from outside the top 10 into a share of third place, four shots behind Aaron Wise. It equaled Grace’s career low on the PGA Tour, which he originally set last summer at The Open, and it was one shot off Marc Leishman’s course-record 61 from the opening round.

“Good birthday present. It was fun,” Grace said. “Little bit of imagination, little bit of luck here and there. You get more luck on the links golf course than maybe on a normal golf course.”


Full-field scores from the AT&T Byron Nelson

AT&T Byron Nelson: Articles, photos and videos


Weeks after Grace’s wife gave birth to the couple’s first child, he now has his best result on the PGA Tour since winning the RBC Heritage more than two years ago. As a world traveler and former Presidents Cup participant, the South African embraced an opportunity this week to go off the beaten path on an unconventional layout.

“It feels like a breath of fresh air coming to something different. Really is nice. I really enjoyed the golf course,” he said. “Obviously I think we got really lucky with the weather, and that’s why the scores are so low. It can bite you if it settles in a little bit in the next couple years.”

Getty Images

Scott barely misses qualifying for U.S. Open

By Will GrayMay 21, 2018, 1:33 am

DALLAS – A birdie on the 72nd hole gave Adam Scott a glimmer of hope, but in the end even a closing 65 at the AT&T Byron Nelson wasn’t enough to earn an exemption into next month’s U.S. Open.

Scott entered the week ranked No. 65 in the world, and the top 60 in next week’s rankings automatically qualify for Shinnecock Hills. The cutoff was a big reason why the 2008 tournament champ returned for Trinity Forest’s debut, and midway through the final round it seemed like the Aussie had a shot at snagging a bid at the 11th hour.

Scott needed at least a solo ninth-place finish to pass an idle Chesson Hadley at No. 60, and while his 5-footer on the 18th green gave him a share of sixth place when he completed play, he ultimately ended up in a three-way tie for ninth at 15 under – barely short of a spot in the top 60.


Full-field scores from the AT&T Byron Nelson

AT&T Byron Nelson: Articles, photos and videos


“I tried to make the most of really favorable conditions today, and I did a pretty good job of it. Just never really got a hot run going,” Scott said. “I feel like I struggled on the weekend reading the greens well enough to really get it going, but I think everyone but the leaders did that, too. They’re not the easiest greens to read.”

Scott has played each of the last three weeks in an effort to earn a U.S. Open exemption, and he’ll make it four in a row next week when he returns to the Fort Worth Invitational on a course where he won in 2013. Scott still has another chance to avoid sectional qualifying by earning a top-60 spot at the second and final cutoff on June 11 following the FedEx St. Jude Classic.

Scott has played 67 majors in a row, a streak that dates back to 2001 and is second only to Sergio Garcia among active players. While he’s prepared to play each of the next three weeks in a last-ditch effort to make the field, he’s taking his schedule one event at a time with the hope that one more good result might take care of business.

“I’ll play next week and hopefully play really well, and give myself a bit of cushion so I can take a week or so off and try to prepare the best I can for the U.S. Open,” Scott said.