First of all, it’s been a little while, sorry about that…
Here are your winning lottery numbers for this week: 76-17-4-2-100-27.
You don’t believe me? They worked for Tiger Woods at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship, and here’s how:
76: The victory was Woods’ 76th on the PGA TOUR, second only to Sam Snead’s 82. Snead was 45 years and 6 days old when he won #76 at the 1957 Palm Beach Round Robin. Tiger’s 76th came at 37 years, 2 months and 10 days and in only his 283 professional tournament. That’s 27%!
Your reaction tells me that you aren’t impressed. Here’s some context: It is estimated that Sam Snead played over 1000 professional tournaments (it’s very difficult to know for sure, but this is a conservative estimate) and won 82 of them. That’s a winning percentage of 8.2%. Jack Nicklaus’ 73 wins came in 594 tournaments, at 12.2%. Yes, I know that both Snead’s and Nicklaus’ numbers reflect an entire career including tournaments played into their 50s and 60s. Even still, neither was ever close to the 27% clip Tiger is at right now. Incidentally, in the last 50 weeks (since his win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last year) Tiger has won 5 of 19 stroke play events or 26.3% of the time, just about in line with his career average.
17: Sunday’s win was Woods’ 17th at a World Golf Championship event; combining the six other players with multiple WGC titles (Geoff Ogilvy with 3 and Ian Poulter, Hunter Mahan, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Darren Clarke each with 2) totals 13. That means you would have to combine at least 9 players to match Woods’ production in WGC events. He’s won a whopping 36.2% of these events (17/47) including 7 WGC-Cadillac Championships. Tiger’s WGC win total alone is would tie Curtis Strange, Jug McSpaden and Bobby Cruickshank for 48th all-time in PGA TOUR Wins and is more than the career win totals of Hall of Famers Jack Burke, Jr., Ralph Guldahl, Fred Couples, Payne Stewart and Larry Nelson.
4: This was Woods’ fourth career victory on the TPC Blue Monster Course; the other three came consecutively from 2005-07. The PGA TOUR has played an event at Doral every year since 1962 and Greg Norman, Raymond Floyd and Andy Bean each have three wins (all were in the old Doral Open). The win was Tiger’s 14th in Florida, equaling his mark in California. It adds TPC Blue Monster to Torrey Pines, Bay Hill, Firestone Country Club, Muirfield Village and Augusta National as the other courses where Tiger has won at least four times.
2: The two shot win over Steve Stricker was Tiger’s second of 2013. No other player in the world has multiple wins thus far in ’13. In seven previous seasons Tiger has won at least twice before The Masters and only in 2003 did he fail to win a major that year.
100: Woods took only 100 putts for the tournament, a personal best. Previously he needed 101 putts at the 2009 Arnold Palmer Invitational. Tiger took 1.39 putts per hole. While that is not a great indicator of scoring, it does say that, whether he was grinding out pars or stalking birdies, Tiger was extremely efficient with his putter.
27: Woods made an astounding 27 birdies over his four rounds. His personal best is 28 at the 2007 TOUR Championship and the 2006 Buick Open. Woods made 20 birdies on his first 39 holes; yes, he birdied more than half of the holes he played to that point. From then on he managed only 7 birdies, which might be chalked up to the increased wind or Tiger’s natural inclination to ease off the accelerator once he builds a comfortable lead.
The bonus number for the night is 1: If Tiger can win his next start at the Arnold Palmer Invitational he will re-claim the number one ranking in the Official World Golf Rankings. The last time Tiger occupied the number one spot was October 24, 2010, or 869 days ago.