Flood Watch: Tiger the greatest ever?

Share on Facebook
Tweet on Twitter

For the first time in over a year, Tiger Woods will tee it up at a PGA Tour event this upcoming weekend. The Safeway Open will play host to the return of the greatest golfer the world has ever seen. Greatest ever? What about Jack Nicklaus? Let’s check the numbers.

Preceding my argument, I will gladly acknowledge that Jack holds the record for most majors at 18. Tiger, on the other hand, holds just about every other record you could keep track of in the game and is nipping on Jack’s heels at 14 major wins, with a lot of golf left to play.

Tiger’s career is filled with some of the most electrifying moments, awe-inspiring golf shots, and dominant performances the game of golf has ever seen. From the “shot in the dark” at the 18th at Firestone to seal the win, to the putt on the 17th green at TPC Sawgrass in 2001 that was “Better than most!” In fact, the very moment I fell in love with the game of golf was when Tiger chipped in on the 16th hole at the 2005 Masters, one of the most exciting golf shots the world has ever seen.

But don’t just take my word for it. One of the most telling statistics of Tiger’s place at the top is wins on the PGA Tour. Tiger could very well be the only golfer in the future of the game to have a shot at breaking Sam Snead’s record of 82 wins. Tiger has an astonishing 79 wins, six ahead of Jack’s 73.

Tiger also has had to play against significantly more difficult competition than Jack did. For proof, in 2001, while Tiger was the top golfer in the world, there were 21 golfers with an average score lower than 70 strokes, with Tiger’s at 68.87. 20 years earlier during Jack’s era, the lowest scoring average was 70.68, with Jack at 70.88. Not convinced? In 1968, arguably Jack’s best year, there were 28 winners. In 2001, there 34 winners, showing there were more guys who could win in any given week.

Tiger’s other achievements speak for themselves. He has both the lowest career scoring average in the history of the PGA Tour and also the lowest scoring average in a season (67.79 in 2000). He’s garnered more tournament winnings than anyone else in the history of golf, even after inflation is considered. He was the youngest of all five golfers to ever win all four majors throughout their careers and is also the only golfer ever to win all four majors consecutively, hence the name “Tiger Slam.” Also, Tiger and Jack are the only two golfers to ever win all four majors three different times, except Tiger was younger.

He’s the only golfer to ever win at least eight times in three different seasons, and he holds the second highest win streak of seven consecutive tournaments, behind Byron Nelson’s 11. Woods’ intimidating reputation to win almost any tournament he leads in is reflected in his 54-4 record when having at least a share of the lead after 54 holes. Tiger also holds the record for most consecutive rounds at par or better at 66.

Perhaps the most incredible stats of his are his cuts made and winning percentage. Tiger Woods made a record 142 consecutive cuts, blowing Jack’s streak of 105 out of the water. Not only does Tiger make it to the weekend, but he wins. In fact, he’s won 79 out of 313 tournaments, coming out to an amazing 25 percent of the tournaments he has played in.

So, whether you look at the stats or watch clips of his best shots, the call couldn’t be clearer. While Jack Nicklaus holds one of the most illustrious records in golf and changed the game forever, Tiger Woods has proved himself over and over again as the greatest golfer to ever live. And he’s coming back this weekend.