All this talk about the Mt. Rushmore of this and the Mt. Rushmore of that reminded me that the concept works better for golf than any other sport, since golfers naturally organize themselves in groups of four. So who comprises golf's ultimate foursome?
In completing my list, I used two primary criteria: achievement and impact. Who won important golf tournaments, and who transcended the game while doing so?
In deserts thousands of miles apart, two golfers seeking to recapture past glory found more heartache. At the Waste Management Phoenix Open, 2012 Masters champ Bubba Watson, largely missing from leaderboards since donning the green jacket, saw a par putt slip past the hole on 18 to lose by a shot to Kevin Stadler. And in Dubai, Tiger Woods continued his stumbling start to 2014 by finishing T41 in the European Tour's Dubai Desert Classic for the worst two-tournament performance to start a season in his career.
Scott Stallings (pictured above in a photo tweeted by the PGA Tour) narrowly averted a cumbersome six-man playoff when he two-putted for birdie on the 72nd hole at Torrey Pines to win the Farmers Insurance Open by a single shot over five fellow competitors and earn his third career PGA Tour win. But the talk of the weekend was Tiger Woods' missed secondary cut at a course where he has historically dominated. Here's a quick statistical rundown of the weekend's action.
Tiger Woods makes his 2014 season debut at the Farmers Insurance Open at a course he loves, Torrey Pines. At this point in Tiger's career, every non-major tournament is merely a step toward his goal of peaking for the majors. You've heard this before, but this is a critical season in Woods' pursuit of Jack Nicklaus' record 18 major championship wins.
Mid-November is historically a part of golf's Silly Season, but the adjusted PGA Tour schedule and the global nature of the game have combined to add significance to the sport's holiday schedule. This weekend saw the climax of the European PGA Tour's Race to Dubai and a coronation of the world's hottest player; the final event on the PGA Tour's calendar for 2013; and the Australian Masters, which lured the current holder of the American Green Jacket to his homeland for a shot at a Masters two-fer.
Comparing anyone to Tiger Woods is typically a fool's errand and will do nothing but humiliate the individual being compared. Woods' numbers — 14 majors, 79 wins, a career winning percentage of .257 — dwarf anything any other active player (or two or three) can muster. Aside from Jack Nicklaus, there's no other real contender for the title of History's Greatest Golfer.