We all know about Tiger Woods' record in golf's major championships. For years now, we've been pounded over the head with Woods' pursuit of Jack Nicklaus' record major championship haul. But Tiger has a record of his own that even the Golden Bear would envy.
Lumped together, Woods' assortment of World Golf Championship trophies and the million-dollar-plus payouts that come with them comprise perhaps the greatest individual accomplishment in golf history. He added another trophy yesterday with his drama-free stroll at the WGC-Cadillac Championship — his 17th World Golf Championship win. That's a staggering number.
The World Golf Championship series was conceived to bring the best players on all world tours together for a showcase of the elite-level golf that's played across the globe. The lure of some of golf's biggest purses ensures a field that represents the best that the game can muster. But all that the WGCs have done is to give Woods another high-profile platform to showcase his unprecedented dominance. His record in these tournament stands apart from anything the game has ever seen.
Tiger has participated in 41 WGC events, winning 17; no other player has won more than three. His winning percentage in these tournaments is .415. Yesterday's win was his seventh in the WGC-Cadillac; Ernie Els, with two, is the event's only other multiple winner.
And the Cadillac isn't event Woods' best WGC event. His unparalleled ledger at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational defies all logic. It's simply jaw-dropping. For a decade, Tiger put an MMA-style chokehold on storied Firestone, leaving competitors flailing and mouths agape.
Between 1999 and 2009, Woods played the Bridgestone 10 times, missing the 2008 tournament with injury. In those 10 years, he won the tournament seven times. That's an acceptable percentage for free throws. For golf tournaments, it's insane.
The three years Woods failed to win, he finished 4th, T4 and T2. Over a 10-tounament span, that's an average finish of 1.7.
Let all that sink in for a minute. The WGC events assemble the greatest fields in world golf. Woods has treated these tournaments, the courses and the fields like he was Steve Williams and they were pesky photographers.
Should golf's global presence continue to grow, historians may someday look back on Woods' record in the World Golf Championships as his greatest achievement — no matter how many majors he wins.
Imagine Kobe giving LeBron a helpful hint on making more free throws. Wouldn't happen. But in a gentleman's game like golf, such behavior is expected. Steve Stricker dropped some putting knowledge on Tiger prior to the Cadillac Championship, and the result was one of the best putting weeks of Woods' career.
Tiger didn't mind sharing the credit with his pal. "I would like to say that I probably would have (putted just as well) but...there is a but there," he said. "I'd been putting at home and it just hadn't felt right. I still was a little bit off. But to have Stricks help me out like that...
"He's been a great friend. We tend to help each other out with our putting. I know what he looks like when he putts his best and vice versa," he said.