It’s no secret that Tiger Woods, the first and only billionaire athlete, is arguably the best player in golf history. There have been many great players over the many years: Bobby Jones, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, and of course the record book of golf, Jack Nicklaus.
Nicklaus (The Golden Bear), with 18 Major championships and 73 career wins on the PGA Tour, has obviously established his greatness. But Tiger Woods at age 36 has already passed Nicklaus for number two all-time on the PGA tour career wins list, behind Sam Snead’s 82 wins. “I remember there was a time when people were saying I could never win again.” said Tiger.
This is in my view the single greatest achievement in my 34-year journalistic career. “It feels great to get to 74 career wins and pass Jack at age 36. I’m really proud of that,” said Tiger.
A Black man in these United States in an elitist and in many ways racist game of golf has risen to pass the biggest name, winner and champion in golf history. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X and Tiger’s dad Earl are giving each other high fives at the pearly gates’ 19th hole.
In the PGA Tour’s AT&T National at historic Congressional Country Club just outside Washington, D.C., Woods beat a determined Bo Van Pelt with a final round 69 and -8 total to win by two shots down the stretch on the back nine. It was Woods’ third win of the year.
He is the first and only player to win three times in 2012. And, he’s number one on the PGA Tour Money list at $4,220,398 and Fed-Ex Cup point list 1,952 points.
Woods has won more than $112 million on the tour over his illustrious career. With two Majors left this year, the British Open and the PGA Championship, Tiger can still add to his total of 14 career Majors, which is number two all-time to Nicklaus’ 18.
It was the 22nd time Woods has come from behind after trailing on the final day to win on the PGA Tour. Woods has played in 271 tournaments in his remarkable career and has won 74 of them. That’s 27.3 percent of the time, more than one win every four tournaments and the best in history.
USA could be in trouble
We are getting close to the 2012 Olympics games in London. The USA basketball team will have a major challenge winning the gold medal.
The 2011 NBA MVP Derek Rose, Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh of NBA Champion Miami — that’s four of the NBA’s top stars — are not available to play because of injuries. That is a lot of young talent.
Can the USA win without them?
Fitz Notes & Quotes
Eight-time NBA All-Star and two-time NBA Champion Wade has a new book out called A Father First: How My Life Became Bigger than Basketball.
Twins star Joe Mauer was selected as an American League All-Star reserve; it’s his fifth selection. He is hitting .324 with four home runs and 36 RBIs.
Next week’s All-Star game is in Kansas City. I will cover the mid-summer classic.
JWJ Travelers 6th Annual Golf Outing is next Sunday, July 8, at River Falls. Cost is $60 per person. Call Dennis Blue at 612-889-2343 or Raymond Boyd at 612- 226-3007.
Doug Gaines recorded his career-first hole in one at Stonebridge Golf Club in Monroe, North Carolina on hole number six, a 144-yard par three, using a nine iron.
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, and on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm; he also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2), and you can follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.