The game of golf has been played for well over 100 years, and there are many who have been called great: Sam Snead, Tom Watson, Gary Player, Arnold Palmer, Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson and Nick Faldo, just to name a few. Jack Nicklaus, the Golden Bear, stands out by consensus as the greatest to ever play the game of golf with 73 career wins and 18 Major Championships.
Majors are to golf what the Super Bowl is to football, the World Series to baseball, the NBA Finals Championship to basketball and the Stanley Cup to hockey.
By any measuring stick, Tiger Woods, in my view, is the greatest to ever play. The players I mentioned are all Hall of Fame players, but there’s just one problem: Tiger is 37 years old, in his prime, and still relevant. Nobody playing today is even close to Tiger; his greatness is compared with only the greatest to ever play the game.
Phil Mickelson is a Hall of Fame player with 41 wins and four Majors; Ernie Els, four Majors; Tiger has won 14 Majors and now has 76 career wins on the PGA tour, second only to Sam Snead’s 82.
After winning the World Golf Championship-Doral Cadillac Championship in Miami, Tiger has again established his intent to regain his position as the world’s number-one player. After playing Thursday and Friday with both world number-one Rory McIlroy and number-three Luke Donald, Tiger confirmed he’s back.
Tiger shot 66-65-67-71 for 269 total to win by two shots over Steve Stricker, his second win this season. He’s the first to win two tournaments this year in four starts.
There are four WGC tournaments each year; they are elite-only tournaments, fields limited to the world’s top 60-75 players. Since these WGC tournaments began in 1999, there have been 39 in total.
Tiger has won 17 of the 39 WGC tournaments; no other player has won more than three. And he won the WGC Cadillac Championship for the seventh time. “I still have a long way to go,” said Tiger. “I first had to get my health.” Tiger injured his Achilles tendon in the final round a year ago in this tournament and did not finish.
In the last two years, Tiger has won five times in 18 tournaments. In his career he has won 76 of 296 tournaments on the PGA Tour, which is 25 percent. That’s the best in history — no player is even close to that in the annals of golf. Nicklaus won just 11 percent of the tournaments he played in over his career.
Tiger was brilliant in winning; he won wire-to-wire; he shared the lead or led the tournament all four days. He had only 100 putts over the four days and 72 holes, the fewest of his career. He credited Stricker with a putting tip he received on Wednesday last week during a practice session. Tiger made bushel of birdies, 27 for the tournament, second-best of his career, best of 28.
For the first time in five years, Woods has two wins before the Masters. “Majors and World Championships are the best, because you know you are playing against the best players,” said Woods.
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.
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