How many career wins for Tiger? A lot
In a rush to announce a milestone for Tiger Woods — not that his record needs any embellishment — the US PGA Tour revealed that the AT&T National was the 100th professional win of his career.
Woods took to Twitter and said he found that to be “pretty cool.”
It’s also a little complicated.
Woods moved past Jack Nicklaus into second place on the tour’s career list of official wins at 74. Nicklaus, however, is credited with two wins at the National Four-ball Championship, a better-ball competition at Laurel Valley in 1970 and 1971 with none other than Arnold Palmer as his partner.
Sam Snead holds the tour record with 82 wins. For years, he was listed at 81 until the tour finally decided to recognise the British Open (also known as the oldest championship in golf) that Snead won in 1946 on the Old Course at St. Andrews (also known as the home of golf). Snead also is credited with four official wins in the Inverness International Four-Ball, which he won with Vic Ghezzi, Ralph Guldahl and twice with Jim Ferrier; and the Miami Biltmore International Four-Ball that he won with Guldahl.
And get this — he is credited with winning the Bing Crosby National Pro-Am in 1950, which was a tie among Snead, Dave Douglas, Jack Burke Jr. and Smiley Quick.
So where did the US PGA Tour come up with 100 wins for Woods?
By counting two wins from one tournament (1999 World Cup). By counting seven wins from the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, a 36-hole exhibition for major champions. And by counting a World Cup with David Duval that featured alternate shot for two of the rounds.
The most peculiar decision is the World Cup. Before the US PGA Tour took it over and tried making it a World Golf Championship, it was stroke play in which both scores counted. Woods was a medalist in 1999 in Malaysia (one win), and he and Mark O’Meara won the team total (another win). Woods and Duval won the next year in Argentina when it was truly a team format.
But then, why stop at the World Cup? Woods played on one winning Ryder Cup team in 1999. He picked up five more wins in the Presidents Cup. That doesn’t include the famous tie in South Africa in 2003, so you might as well include it. After all, the Americans were the defending champions, and Snead was able to count a tie for one of his wins.
Besides, Woods considered it a win. When he won the Australian Masters six years later for his first trophy from Down Under, he said he was proud to have won on every continent where golf is played.
“I haven’t played the Antarctica Four-Ball yet,” he said. “But to have won on every playable continent, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. And now I’ve done that.”
To keep track of wins outside the parameters of a home tour can get a little messy.
This much we know: Woods has 74 wins on the US PGA Tour and is closing in on Slammin’ Sammy. And he will try to add to his total this week at The Greenbrier Classic, where Snead was the first emeritus head professional.
Perhaps the best measure of Woods’ worldwide wins is to include any tournament that belongs to a recognised tour, or any tournament that offers world-ranking points. That would give him 12 more and bring the total to 86.
He won the Johnnie Walker twice, including the time he made up an eight-shot deficit and beat Ernie Els in a playoff in Thailand.
He won the Deutsche Bank-SAP Open in Germany three times. He won the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan twice. He won the Dubai Desert Classic twice, most recently in 2008 with birdies on five of the last seven holes to hold off a young German named Martin Kaymer.
His victory in the Australian Masters in 2009 came at the end of a very good year that was about to go very bad. Woods didn’t collect another trophy for two years. And in his first full year as a pro, he skipped one of his favourite playgrounds — Torrey Pines - to play in the Asian Honda Classic on the minor Omega Tour.
Add to that total every tournament in which he left with the only trophy available. You can count the ’99 World Cup for his individual medal, and the seven wins at the PGA Grand Slam of Golf (he won in 2002 by 14 shots, a staggering display of separation, even if Rich Beem might not remember being there). He won four times at his own tournament (Williams World Challenge, Target World Challenge) before the tournament awarded ranking points.
And how can anyone forget the historic “Showdown at Sherwood” in 1999, the one-night TV exhibition? That night was memorable for two things. Duval aimed for the rock in the middle of the 16th fairway (now the seventh fairway) because he believed no one ever hits it dead straight. Except for him. On that shot. And caddie Steve Williams refused to wear long pants in the heat. When a rules official told Williams he would no longer caddie on the tour, Woods leaned into the conversation and said, “Guess I’ll be playing in Europe next year.” And that was that.
So that brings the total to 99 wins.
To include all trophies, throw in the World Cup with Duval, and the team part of the World Cup win with O’Meara. Add one Ryder Cup and six Presidents Cups. And because team competitions count, it would be wrong to leave out the two titles at the illustrious Battle at Bighorn (with Annika Sorenstam in 2001 and Nicklaus in 2002), and then the Battle at the Bridges (with Hank Kuehne in 2004). And don’t forget those epic battles at his old neighbourhood Tavistock Cup. Woods won it three times.
That brings the grand total to 114 wins, which is still “pretty cool.”
Or pretty silly.