Though he has certainly fallen from the lofty heights he once inhabited Tiger Woods remains the game of golf’s most dominant force (when he’s healthy). He is the stick that all other golfers on the PGA Tour are measured against, and when he retires there will be a healthy debate whether or not he was the greatest of all time. Here are the Top 10 Tiger Woods Accomplishments to date:
10 – 2006 – British Open
After losing his father and mentor, Earl Woods to cancer earlier that year, Tiger missed the cut in the U.S. Open, the first cut he’d missed in a major after making 39 straight. His heart and mind were clearly not on the game of golf, but in true Tiger fashion he would come roaring back at that year’s British Open, winning the tourney by 2 strokes for his 11th major title and the first one without his father there to embrace him at the end. He would also go on to capture the PGA championship later that year.
9 – 2008 U.S. Open
His gutsy performance at the 2008 U.S. Open deserves a spot on this list of the top 10 Tiger Woods Accomplishments. The tournament marked Tiger’s return from knee surgery, after eight weeks of playing no competitive golf. Nothing like trial by fire. The U.S. Open is considered the toughest major of the four, as demonstrated by the dearth of under par scores year after year. Woods limped his way around the course, and battled pain and a determined Rocco Mediate to capture his 14th major title, after 91 grueling holes of golf.
8 – 2002 Masters
Tiger captured his 2nd consecutive green jacket and 3rd overall, beating Retief Goosen by three strokes to take the title. The win was his 7th major title, at the ripe old age of 26, making Woods the youngest player in PGA Tour history to reach that number.
7 – 1997 – Gains world number one ranking
Anyone who followed Tiger Woods’ progression from youth to amateur to professional golf knew he was something special, and was destined to become one of the most dominant golfers of all time, but few could have foreseen he’d have such an immediate impact on the professional tour. In 1997, at just 21 years of age, Woods attained the number 1 rank in the world just 42 weeks into his professional golf career.
6 – 2005 Masters
After not winning a major tournament in either 2003 or 2004, and losing his number 1 ranking to Vijay Singh, Tiger Woods was suffering through the first real adversity of his career. Players, media and fans alike were beginning to question if he was still the dominant player that he had been. At the 2005 Masters Tiger proved that he was still the biggest star in the sport, and wouldn’t be going away any time soon, defeating Chris DiMarco in a playoff to take his 4th Masters’ victory, the only player besides legends Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer to do so.
5 – 2000 British Open
Tiger became the youngest player in the history of golf to complete the Career Grand Slam, winning the British Open by 8 strokes, and recording the lowest score in a major at legendary golf course, St. Andrews with a mind-boggling -19 over 4 rounds.
4 – 1999 PGA Tour Season Earnings
In 1999 Tiger Woods nearly tripled David Duvall’s existing record, bringing in a staggering $6,616,585 in that season. The money was well earned as Woods rolled to 8 PGA tour victories that year, and an astounding 16 top 10 finishes in just 21 events. It wasn’t just the victories that led to the big money, however. Woods’ rise to superstardom had brought more interest and money into the sport of golf than ever before, and every player on the PGA tour has enjoyed the benefits of these far richer tournament purses ever since.
3 – 2006-2007 – 7 PGA tour wins in a row
There was a time that many golf historians considered Byron Nelson’s streak of 11 consecutive PGA Tour victories as untouchable as any record in sport. During a streak that spanned parts of 2006 & 2007, Tiger Woods had people rethinking their previous positions. He went on a run that saw him win 7 consecutive times on the PGA Tour, his performance so dominant that it looked like he might never be stopped again. The streak was eventually stopped at the Masters in 2007 by Trevor Immelman. Woods still managed to finish 2nd.
2 – 2001 – The “Tiger” Slam
With his victory at the 2001 Masters, Tiger became the first golfer in history to hold all 4 major championship titles at the same time. Because the major victories did not all come in the same year, Woods is not credited with the “Grand Slam”, but his “Tiger Slam” is still considered one of the greatest achievements in the history of golf, and certainly one of the greatest moments personally in his career.
1 – 1997 Masters
If anyone out there had any doubts that Tiger Woods would be a superstar, the 1997 Masters turned those skeptics into believers. Woods, at age 21, destroyed the field of more seasoned competitors, winning golf’s most prestigious tournament by a whopping 12 strokes. He was the youngest player in history to accomplish the feat, and was the launching pad for his astonishing career. Tiger has had so many great moments in his time in the sport, but this victory must rank at the pinnacle of the top 10 Tiger Woods accomplishments of all time.
Featured image by Keith Allison