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Strong field of competitors pushes golf's top players

Strong field of competitors pushes golf's top players

Forget the World Golf Championships were ever created, and no one would dispute the world supremacy of Tiger Woods. At the very worst, he still would have 48 career victories on the U.S. PGA Tour and be miles ahead of everyone else.
Woods has won 15 times against the best players in the world.
Darren Clarke is next with two WGC victories, the 2000 Match Play Championship and the 2003 NEC Invitational at Firestone, both times beating the world's No. 1 player.
Ernie Els, a three-time major champion, has one world title (Ireland in 2004).
Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh have combined for none.
Never mind the world ranking. Maybe his world titles are the true reflection of the gap between Woods and his alleged competition.
"I don't know how to answer that one," Woods said on Sunday. "All I know is that I just love playing against the best players in the world. That's the fun part because we don't get to do it that often."
But there is a case to be made that beating the best isn't necessarily harder than beating the rest in a full-field event.
Clearly, the Match Play Championship is the toughest of the WGCs to win, and it's a testament to his ability (physical and mental) that Woods has won three times and reached the final another. Only three other players have been to the finals twice.
But in the first three WGCs he won at Firestone, Woods never had to beat more than 40 players in 72 holes of stroke play. He had to beat only 60 players in his first American Express title at Valderrama.
In his tour career, Woods has won 20 times against limited fields with guaranteed money.
Playing a full field, whether that's 120 players at invitationals like Bay Hill or 156 players in the summer, means more chances that someone will have a career week.
It's hard to find a tournament Woods plays that doesn't have the best fields on the strongest courses.
The weakest field he has beaten over the last two years - based on points awarded in the world ranking - was the Deutsche Bank Championship outside Boston in 2006, the year before it became a U.S. playoff event.
It's not surprising then that Woods has won 24 tournaments on the U.S. PGA Tour (multiple times at 15 of them). Singh has won 23 different U.S. PGA Tour events and Mickelson has won at 19 tournaments.
But for Woods, everywhere he plays, everything he does, is geared toward the majors.
Ultimately, that's where the greatest players are measured.


Updated : 2021-08-06 03:02 GMT+08:00