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Tiger's dominant decade

Truth is, nobody expected this. Not 56 PGA Tour victories and 12 major championships, maybe not ever, but certainly not in 10 years. Those who watched Tiger Woods grow up, win three straight U.S. Amateurs and sign multimillion-dollar endorsement deals upon turning pro knew he was special. But this?

By BOB HARIG
Published April 1, 2007


Truth is, nobody expected this. Not 56 PGA Tour victories and 12 major championships, maybe not ever, but certainly not in 10 years. Those who watched Tiger Woods grow up, win three straight U.S. Amateurs and sign multimillion-dollar endorsement deals upon turning pro knew he was special. But this?

Nine wins in one season

In 2000, Woods became the first since Sam Snead in 1950 to win as many as nine tournaments in a season. Three were major championships. Vijay Singh tied him with nine in 2004. But only Byron Nelson (18 in 1945), Ben Hogan (13 in 1946 and 10 in 1948) and Snead (11 in 1950) won more.

Lowest score in all four majors

Only four others - Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus - have won all of the majors, and Woods has the record score at the Masters (1997), U.S. Open (2000), British Open (2000) and PGA Championship (2000).

Tiger Slam

Woods did not win all four majors in the same year. But he did win four in a row and held all the trophies at once when he captured the 2000 U.S. Open, British Open and PGA and the 2001 Masters. Ben Hogan won three straight majors, capturing the 1953 Masters, U.S. Open and British Open. (He did not play in the PGA.)

142 consecutive cuts made

There have been a lot of events with no cuts for which he got credit. And it's different than the streak Byron Nelson set, in which making a cut often meant being in the money. But Woods did not miss a cut on the PGA Tour over a seven-year span.

46 victories in his 20s

That number alone was good enough for eighth on the all-time PGA Tour list, one ahead of Walter Hagen and five behind Billy Casper. And nobody else is even close. Jack Nicklaus won 30 times in his 20s.

56 career wins

Only four in PGA Tour history have won more: Sam Snead (82), Jack Nicklaus (73), Ben Hogan (64) and Arnold Palmer (62). Lee Trevino and Johnny Miller combined for 54 wins. And you have to combine the careers of Greg Norman, Tom Kite and Curtis Strange to match Woods.

Winning three events at least five times

Woods has won the CA Championship (formerly the American Express Championship) six times and the Bridgestone and Buick invitationals five times each.

Seven PGA Tour money titles

If Woods cared more about this distinction, he might already have tied Jack Nicklaus for most with eight. He finished second to Vjiay Singh in 2003 but played eight fewer events. Tom Watson and Ben Hogan won five money titles, Arnold Palmer four.

12 major championships

At 31, he is two-thirds of the way to Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major titles.

Seven straight PGA Tour victories

Woods did this from the 2006 British Open through this year's Buick Invitational. It came with plenty of asterisks because he played in other world events - not PGA Tour tournaments - and did not win. Still, other than Woods' six-tournament victory streak from 1999-2000, you have to go back to Ben Hogan in 1948 to find a winning streak as long as six.

When he arrived at Augusta National Golf Club 10 years ago for his first major championship as a professional, he was a skinny, gangly 21-year-old who hit the ball a mile but had trouble controlling his irons.

He shocked many by winning twice in seven tournaments after turning pro in August 1996. Then he won the season-opening Mercedes Championship. But the 1997 Masters?

"It seems like forever ago," said Woods, who has four Masters titles. "My buddies and I always kid, I live in dog years out here. It seems like forever. It's just hard to believe it's been 10 years."

"What was interesting," England's David Howell said, "Tiger played an awful lot of pro tournaments as an amateur and never really sparkled. I don't think many of the pros at the time realized what they were dealing with and didn't think he was going to come out quite as fast as he did. It was a momentous occasion, really, and the golfing world has never quite been the same since that moment."

To acknowledge the 10th anniversary of Woods' first victory at Augusta National, we've put together 10 achievements, in no particular order, since that epic win.

71st Masters

When/where: Thursday-Sunday; Augusta (Ga.) National Golf Club

Course: 7,445 yards, par 72

Defending champion: Phil Mickelson

Last year: Mickelson won his second Masters and third major championship, shooting a final-round 69 to defeat South Africa's Tim Clark by two strokes. Tiger Woods, Fred Couples, Jose Maria Olazabal, Retief Goosen and Chad Campbell tied for third, three back.

TV: 4-7 p.m. and 8-11 p.m. (replay) Thursday-Friday, USA Network; 3:30-7 p.m. Saturday and 2:30-7 p.m. Sunday, Ch. 10.

Web: masters.org

 

Tiger's marks

When Tiger Woods won the Masters 10 years ago, he set 20 tournament records and matched six others. A few of the notables:

Lowest 72-hole score: 270, 18 under par

Youngest champion: 21

Largest margin of victory: 12 shots

Worst start by a champion for first nine holes: 40

Under par for Amen Corner, four rounds: Seven

Most 3s by a champion: 26

Largest lead first 54 holes: Nine shots

 

Decade of changes

1997 2007

PGA Tour purses $80.5M $266.8M

Driving distance 267.7 yards 289.3

Driver shafts Steel Graphite

Driver heads Some Titanium persimmon

Balls Wound Double balata cover solid

World events None 3 per year (Woods has won 13)

Augusta National 6,925 yards 7,445