There is an old saying in sports that numbers don’t lie, and Tiger Woods continues his assault on the record books of golf. Tiger, for the second time, wins the rich $9,500,000 Players Championship at the Stadium course in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida just outside Jacksonville.
It was Tiger’s fourth win this year in seven tournaments, and his third win in the state of Florida. The winner received $1,700,000 and a crystal trophy plus a five-year exemption on the tour.
The Players Championship is the strongest field in golf with the top 100 players in the world in the field. The Players Championship is referred to as golf’s fifth major. The four majors are the Masters, U.S Open, British Open and PGA Championship.
Tiger has now won at least four tournaments in a year 12 times in his career. Sunday’s win was achieved in his 300th career tournament start. He has also won in his 100th and 200th career starts.
In his last 22 tournaments Tiger has won seven times. He has regained his number-one position in golf. His victory was the 78th win of his career. Only Sam Snead, who won 82 times, has won more in the history of golf on the PGA Tour.
Tiger started the final round Sunday tied for the lead at -11 with two other players, including Sergio Garcia of Spain. Garcia was tied for the lead at -13 with Tiger on Sunday until he hit two balls in the water on the famous Island green 17th hole.
Seven times Tiger and Garcia have been paired together over the years in a tournament, and seven times Tiger has not only beaten Garcia but also won the tournament. Tiger shared the lead after 54 holes on Sunday at the Players. In his career, when he has had the lead or a share of the lead going into the final round, he has won 52 of 56 tournaments.
That’s 92 percent of the time! He is the greatest closer in sports history. He is one of only six players in the 40-year history of the Players Championship to win it twice.
What’s remarkable about Tiger is how, in 300 career PGA tournaments, he has finished in the top 10 240 times — that’s 80 percent. He has finished at least fourth 182 times — that’s 60 percent. He has finished third 125 times — 41 percent — and runner up 28 times — nine percent.
His 78 career wins on the PGA tour in 300 tournaments means he wins 26 percent of the time. That is by far the greatest win percentage in golf history. Snead was 46 years old when he won his 78th career tournament. Tiger is 37. It’s possible Tiger could catch Snead in 2013.
Tiger has 14 major titles; only Jack Nicklaus with 18 has won more. They are both on the same career pace for major wins.
Many are quick to say Tiger is not back until he wins a major. He will win a major this year — I’m convinced of it. Remember, he was tied for the lead at the Masters until he hit that flag stick on Saturday and rolled into the water. He very likely would have won; he still finished fourth.
Not only is he healthy again, but he has recovered mentally from his personal issues that cost him his marriage and damaged his reputation. Don’t think for a minute that everyone is pulling for Tiger. After all, this is America.
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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