Tiger Woods' Top-10 Streak and the 13 Most Amazing Statistics in Golf History

Joe PetruloCorrespondent IIIMay 29, 2011

Tiger Woods' Top-10 Streak and the 13 Most Amazing Statistics in Golf History

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    PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL - MAY 12:  Tiger Woods leaves the course after withdrawing after playing the ninth hole during the first round of THE PLAYERS Championship held at THE PLAYERS Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass on May 12, 2011 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Flori
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Tiger Woods was 21 years old when he entered the top 10 in the Official World Golf Rankings the week before the 1997 Masters.

    He is now 35 years old and is currently ranked 12th in the world. 

    Woods remained in the top 10 for over 14 years, and this streak is truly one of the remarkable statistics ever seen in golf. 

    Lets take a look at 13 of the most amazing statistics in golf history.

The Magic Number

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    WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV - AUGUST 01:  Stuart Appleby of Australia poses with his golf ball after he finished with an 11-under par 59 during the final round of the Greenbrier Classic on The Old White Course at the Greenbrier Resort  on August 1, 2010 in
    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    Only four players have ever achieved this feat on the PGA Tour.

    That is, break 60 in an official event. 

    Numerous players have broken 60 on other tours, at Q-School, and unofficial events like Phil Mickelson's 59 at the Grand Slam of Golf.

    Even more remarkable is that Annika Sorenstam is the lone woman to break 60 in an official LPGA event. 

    When someone shoots the magic number, it is the biggest news in the golf world. 

    Why?

    Not only is it more rare than a no-hitter in baseball, but it blows the minds of the everyday golfer.

    Most Sunday golfers cannot break 80, which only makes the score seem even more impossible in the mind of the average golfer.

    The Magic Number is definitely one of the most impressive achievements in golf.

Even Par: the Hard Way

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    KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - APRIL 14:  Jeev Milka Singh of India in action during the first round of the Maybank Malaysian Open at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club on April 14, 2011 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
    Ian Walton/Getty Images

    The average golfer likes to savor the moment when they two-putt for a par.

    In professional golf, this frustrates players. They strive for one-putt birdies. 

    Thus, when Jeev Milka Singh made 18 pars in a row en route to a victory in 2008 at the Austria Open, he was a bit frustrated.

    Nick Faldo has also gone through a round without defeating or losing to par on a single hole.

    I appreciate a string of four or five pars. That makes this feat seem absolutely unbelievable.

    The crazy thing is, Singh was disappointed after the round.

    Then again, golf is a crazy game.

11 Hole Sudden Death Playoff

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    A statute of Dr. Cary Middlecoff stands near the clubhouse  during  third-round play at the FedEx St. Jude Classic May 29, 2004 at the Tournament Players Club Southwind, Memphis, Tennessee. Scenic Golf (Photo by A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images) *** Local Ca
    A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Yes, a sudden death playoff once went 11 holes.

    In 1949, Cary Middlecoff and Lloyd Mangrum tied each other on 11 straight holes in the Motor City Open.

    The sad part is, the reason the playoff started was never resolved. 

    Sudden death playoffs are used to declare a single winner, but in this case, that never happened.

    Both men agreed to be co-winners of the event.

    Although the outcome was disappointing for onlookers, it is remarkable that two players made the same score on 11 straight holes. 

    This is one of those occurrences that may never happen again.

18 Major Wins

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    DUBLIN, OH - JUNE 07: Jack Nicklaus presents Tiger Woods with the trophy after his one-stroke victory at the Memorial Tournament at the Muirfield Village Golf Club on June 7, 2009 in Dublin, Ohio. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    We all though Tiger Woods was going to breeze by Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 major wins. 

    The past few years have shown that this may never happen. 

    Some may say Tiger is still the better player, he is just under abnormal circumstances.

    Others simply recognize the difficulty in what Nicklaus did.

    The most amazing part of the 18 wins for Nicklaus is the amount of times he finished second.

    The tournament he won the least was the British Open (three times). This was the same event he finished second the most (seven times). 

    Amazing.

11 Consecutive Victories

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    Photo courtesy http://www.ingolfwetrust.com/golf-central/content/binary/Byron-Nelson-Golf.jpg
    Photo courtesy http://www.ingolfwetrust.com/golf-central/content/binary/Byron-Nelson-Golf.jpg

    11 wins in a row.

    Those words will never be spoken again in professional golf.

    This truly may be the closest thing to an unbreakable record in professional sports.

    In 1945, Byron Nelson won 11 consecutive tournaments through a stretch from March to August.

    This record defines the word amazing in itself. 

Hole-in-One, on a Par 4

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    PEBBLE BEACH, CA - JANUARY 31:   Andrew Magee hits a shot during the first round of the AT&T National Pro-Am on January 31, 2002 in Pebble Beach, California. (Photo by Craig Jones/Getty Images)
    Craig Jones/Getty Images

    On the PGA Tour, players hit hole-in-ones occasionally. On par 3s, that is.

    In 2001, something miraculous happened at TPC Scottsdale. 

    Andrew Magee hit a hole-in-one:  on a 332-yard par 4. 

    Yes, a par 4.

    New technology may have been the only reason this had not happened before in a PGA Tour event.

    However, that does not take away from the momentous nature of Magee's shot.

    Whether it was luck or skill, it happened, and he is the only one to officially do it in PGA Tour history. 

    That is pretty incredible.

Shoot Your Age

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    22 Mar 1996:  Sam Snead looks on during the Legends of Golf  tournament at the PGA West Stadium Course in La Quinta, California. Mandatory Credit: J.D. Cuban  /Allsport
    J.D. Cuban/Getty Images

    This world is full of talented elderly golfers.

    Stories often circulate of 80-year-old men that shoot their age.

    However, Sam Snead is one-of-a-kind. He shot his age, twice, when he was 67.

    Yes, 67.

    As a 67-year-old-man he shot a 66 and a 67 in the Quad Cities Open in 1979.

    Most golfers would kill to be able to shoot 67 at any point in their golfing careers, let alone when they are actually 67 years old.

    That is what makes this man and this accomplishment, although not out of the ordinary to him, so significant.

Most Consecutive Birdies to Win

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    1985:  Mike Souchak follows through with the swing at the Tuscon Open. Mandatory Credit: Allsport  /Allsport
    Getty Images/Getty Images

    Golf is a pressure sport.

    Pressure seems to affect players the most at the end of a tournament. Look at Phil Mickelson in the 2006 US Open for proof.

    In 1956, Mike Souchak looked the pressure that mounts at the end of the tournament straight in the eyes. He accepted the challenge, and capitalized on his ability to handle it better than the competition.

    Souchak birdied the last six holes to win the St. Paul Open. 

    That set the mark that has not been beaten since.

    Even Jack Nicklaus has not matched Souchak, although he nearly matched him in 1978 with five birdies to finish the Jackie Gleason Inverrary Classic.

    When your record survived the career of Nicklaus, it must have been special.

Youngest Female to Make a Cut in an LPGA Tournament

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    GLADSTONE, NJ - MAY 21:  Michelle Wie hits her tee shot on the 17th hole in round three of the Sybase Match Play Championship at Hamilton Farm Golf Club on May 21, 2011 in Gladstone, New Jersey.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Yes, Michelle Wie has been a bit of disappointment as she has grown up. 

    However, to be a disappointment, you must create expectations first.

    Wie, definitely did this with her heroic performance in the 2003 Kraft Nabisco Championsip, a major, at 13 years old.

    Not only was she the youngest golfer to make a cut in an LPGA Tour event, but she had a chance to win.

    She played in the final group on Sunday, but finished ninth.

    Clearly, Wie proved her potential despite her failure to meet the lofty expectations she set at such a young age.

    In her sport, it is popular for young players to emerge and make appearances in LPGA tournaments.

    However, Wie's record still stands, and it might be one of the more shocking records in golf.

Greg Norman: a New Level of Choking

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    1984:  Greg Norman chips the ball during a 1984 PGA game.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
    David Cannon/Getty Images

    Poor Greg Norman.

    He was considered one of the best golfers in the world in the mid-1990s.

    He was also considered one of the biggest choke artists in the mid-1990s.

    Norman's worst collapse may have been at the 1996 Masters when he went into Sunday with a six shot lead over Nick Faldo.

    He went on to shoot a 78 and lose by five strokes.

    So how does Greg Norman fit into the most amazing statistics in golf history?

    He had 30 top-10 finishes in major championships.

    He won only twice.

    Twice.

Highest Score on a Single Hole

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    VIRGINIA WATER, ENGLAND - MAY 27:  John Daly of the USA hits an approach shot during the second round of the BMW PGA Championship at the Wentworth Club on May 27, 2011 in Virginia Water, England.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
    Ian Walton/Getty Images

    John Daly made an 18 on a single golf hole. 

    This should be shocking, but for some reason, it seems like Daly and this record were meant to be.

    Daly is a unique personality in the world of professional golf, and it would not surprise most people to hear that he has the record for the highest score on a hole in a PGA Tour event.

    Still, Daly has been topped.

    The European Tour record is 20, by Philippe Porquier in 1978.

    Despite the difficulty of the courses they play, these numbers are astounding.

    It takes a true mental breakdown to record a number that high.

    Unfortunately, that is something that can be characteristic of Daly at times.

Lowest Nine Hole Score

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    LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 27:  Corey Pavin hits his tee shot on the par 4 12th hole during the second round of the Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid at Valhalla Golf Club on May 27, 2011 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Corey Pavin hit a golf ball only 26 times as he played nine holes. 

    It feels surreal to write that.

    Although the nine holes he did it on only added up to par 34, this is a phenomenal feat for a well-respected player.

    Technically, Corey Pavin does not hold the record for the most strokes under par on nine holes.

    Still, to shoot a 26 in his mid-40s is pretty impressive.

    Usually, fans look at a 29 as the threshold for an amazing nine hole score.

    That makes a 26 sound even better.

Tiger Woods: No Longer in the Top 10

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    PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL - MAY 12:  Tiger Woods looks on from the fifth hole during the first round of THE PLAYERS Championship held at THE PLAYERS Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass on May 12, 2011 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    The world of golf may have turned a new leaf.

    For years, we have been looking for someone to challenge Tiger Woods for the number one spot in the Official World Golf Rankings.

    Phil Mickelson was never quite good enough to consistently dethrone him.

    Young guns like Anthony Kim could never sustain a long run at the top.

    The problem now is, we don't have just one stud that has taken down Tiger. Instead, we have 11 players who have slid past him due to his own struggles.

    This isn't what we wanted. It probably isn't even what the players wanted. 

    Still, Tiger is no longer a top-10 golfer. In fact, he is a long way from getting back to that form.

    It seems that tournament fields get deeper and deeper as Tiger continues to struggle. 

    If he never returns to his top-10 status, we can still remember his greatness.

    He was ranked in the top-10 from 1997 to 2011.

    That is special.