When did they win?

SWC75

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#1
I heard someone on ESPN say that at age 36, no one can think that Tiger Woods has won his last major tournament. It caused me to wonder at what age the great players won their majors. I expanded that to how old they were when they won all their majors. What does a map of their careers look like? How many majors were won by age 36 onward and what percentage?

Below is a list of all the players who have won at least 5 majors. I’ve included the US and British Amateurs because they were once majors and are part of Bobby Jones’ total of 13, (the record that Jack Nicklaus broke), and his grand slam. I didn’t know when the amateur tournaments ceased to be considered majors so I just included all of them. I’ve listed the ’age’ of the player when he won each major. To simply things I just compared year of birth to the year of the tournament. Jack Nicklaus was born January 21 1940. Tom Watson was born September 4, 1949. The 1977 British Open was held in July. Nicklaus was age 37, Watson 27. But it was held in the year Nicklaus turned 37 and the year Watson turned 28, (two months later). I’ll stick with that.

BA: British Amateur
BO: (no jokes, please!) British Open
M: Masters
PGA: Professional Golfer’s Association
USA: United States Amateur
USO: United States Open
 
John Ball 27: BA 29: BA, BO 31: BA 33: BA 38: BA 46: BA 49: BA 51: BA (9)
Seve Ballesteros 22: BO 23: M 26: M 27: BO 31: BO (5)
Michael Bonallack 27: BA 31: BA 34: BA 35: BA 36: BA (5)
James Braid 31: BO 35: BO 36: BO 38: BO 40: BO (5)
Nick Faldo 30: BO 32: M 33: M,BO 35: BO 39: M (6)
Walter Hagen 22: USO 27: USO 29: PGA 30: BO 32: BO, PGA 33: PGA 34: PGA 35: PGA 36: BO 37: BO (11)
Harold Hilton 23: BO 28: BO 31: BA 32: BA 42: USA, BA 44: BA (7)
Ben Hogan 34: PGA 36: USO, PGA 38: USO 39: M, USO 41: M, USO, BO (9)
Bobby Jones 21: USO 22: USA 23: USA 24: USO, BO 25: USA, BO 26: USA 27: USO 28: USA, USO, BA, BO (13)
Lawson Little 24: USA, BA 25: USA, BA 30: USO (5)
Phil Mickelson 20: USA 34: M 35: PGA 36: M 40: M (5)
Byron Nelson 25: M 27: USO 28: PGA 30: M 33: PGA (5)
Jack Nicklaus 19: USA 21: USA 22: USO 23: M, PGA 25: M 26: M, BO 27: USO 30: BO 31: PGA 32: M, USO 33: PGA 35: M, PGA 38: BO 40: USO, PGA 46: M Total: 20
Arnold Palmer 25: USA 29: M 31: M, USO 32: BO 33: M, BO 35: M (8)
Gary Player 24: BO 26: M 27: PGA 30: USO 33: BO 37: PGA 39: M, BO 43: M (9)
Gene Sarazen 20: USO, PGA 21: PGA 30: USO, BO 31: PGA 33: M (7)
Sam Snead 30: PGA 34: BO 37: M, PGA 39: PGA 40: M 42: M (7)
John Henry Taylor 23: BO 24: BO 29: BO 38: BO 42: BO (5)
Peter Thomson 25: BO 26: BO 27: BO 29: BO 36: BO (5)
Lee Trevino 29: USO 32: USO, BO 33: USO 34: PGA 45: PGA (6)
Harry Vardon 26: BO 28: BO 29: BO 30: USO 33: BO 41: BO 44: BO (7)
Tom Watson 26: BO 28: M, BO 31: BO 32: M 33: USO, BO 34: BO (8)
Tiger Woods 19: USA 20: USA 21: USA 22: M 24: PGA 25: USO, BO, PGA 26: M 27: M, USO 30: M, BO 31: BO, PGA, 32: PGA 33: USO (17)

Here is a breakdown of championships won by age:

Age 19- 2
Age 20- 3
Age 21- 4
Age 22- 5
Age 23- 6
Age 24- 7
Age 25- 10
Age 26- 7
Age 27- 10
Age 28- 8
Age 29- 5
Age 30- 11
Age 31- 11
Age 32- 11
Age 33- 14
Age 34- 6
Age 35- 8
Age 36- 7
Age 37- 3
Age 38- 4
Age 39- 5
Age 40- 5
Age 41- 4
Age 42- 3
Age 43- 1
Age 44- 2
Age 45- 1
Age 46- 2
Age 47- 0
Age 48- 0
Age 49- 1
Age 50- 0
Age 51- 1

This is the year Tiger obtains age 37, although he will be 36 until December 30. Let’s bend my rule a bit and count this as the year he is 36. These golfers have won a total of 167 majors, 39 of them from the year they obtained age 36 onwards. That’s 23% of them. Tiger has either 17 majors to Jack’s 20, (if you count the amateurs) or 14 to Jack’s 18 (if you don’t). If he’s won 77% of his majors, he’d get to either 22 or 18. The number of golfers who have won at least four majors from the year they obtained age 36 onward are John Ball, (4), Ben Hogan (8), Jack Nicklaus (4), Gary Player (4) and Sam Snead (5). James Braid and Harold Hilton won 3. Ball and Hilton won the British Amateur at that stage of their careers, an event that is no longer available to Tiger. The most hopeful example for Tiger is Hogan, who over came what appeared to be a career-ending, (and almost life-ending) auto accident in the year he obtained age 37 to win 8 for his 9 majors after that, including the Masters, the US Open and the British Open at age 41. He didn’t participate in the PGA that year, (1953) because it was still match-play which required him to play more than one round in a day and his legs couldn’t handle that due to the damage received in the accident. It was the only thing that prevented him from going for the professional grand slam that year, something no one has ever done.

Tiger is trying to come back from some injuries and a scandal but he certainly has a shot at this, even if it’s likely he’s past his prime. He has a lot more competition I this ear that other golfers had in past eras because so many more people playing the game in so many more places than ever before, (some of them because of Tiger’s success. I think his biggest problem is that he’s constantly tinkering with his swing. He’s not a baseball player who faces pitchers throwing him pitches designed to be difficult for him to hit, such that he has to make constant adjustments to the way they are throwing the ball to him. He keeps trying to fix something that wasn’t broke.

But can Tiger win 3 or 4 more majors before he‘s done? Yes, he can.
 
 

Marsh01

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#2
I have said this before and I will say it again. The ONLY way Tiger wins 5 more majors (thus passing Jack Nicklaus) is if he can regain the putting stroke that he had when he was tearing up golf courses. That's really it. Tiger putting well is much different than Tiger not putting well. Players now hit it farther than he does so his advantage of length is gone. His body is slowly starting to break down a bit with knee and acchiles injuries. He needs to regain his putting stroke that he lost. It was better at Bay Hill and is slowly getting back to where it was.

Without the putter he will never win 5 more majors.
 

SWC75

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#3
I have said this before and I will say it again. The ONLY way Tiger wins 5 more majors (thus passing Jack Nicklaus) is if he can regain the putting stroke that he had when he was tearing up golf courses. That's really it. Tiger putting well is much different than Tiger not putting well. Players now hit it farther than he does so his advantage of length is gone. His body is slowly starting to break down a bit with knee and acchiles injuries. He needs to regain his putting stroke that he lost. It was better at Bay Hill and is slowly getting back to where it was.

Without the putter he will never win 5 more majors.

Putting is usually the thing that prevents veteran stars from winning any more majors. It was huge with Arnold Plamer and Tom Watson. Tee to green they were the same player for years after they won their last major.
 

Marsh01

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#4
Putting is usually the thing that prevents veteran stars from winning any more majors. It was huge with Arnold Plamer and Tom Watson. Tee to green they were the same player for years after they won their last major.
Watson is my all time favorite player and it killed me to watch him consostently miss short putts to lose golf tournaments. Even at the Open a couple of years ago, it wasnt the gassed 8 iron he hit just over the green that cost him the tourney. It was the putt from off the green that he blew past and the poor stroke on the 8 footer he missed to win in.
 

SWC75

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#5
Watson is my all time favorite player and it killed me to watch him consostently miss short putts to lose golf tournaments. Even at the Open a couple of years ago, it wasnt the gassed 8 iron he hit just over the green that cost him the tourney. It was the putt from off the green that he blew past and the poor stroke on the 8 footer he missed to win in.
I remember thinking that he chose too much club, possibly because he wanted to make sure he got it there and maybe wasn't sure he could with a 9 iron or pitching wedge. I remember the put seemed to get halfway there. He seemed mentally and physically tired and I think that was a factor in both shots. I don't think I ever rooted for a golfer more and that made me very sad. What a story it would have been at age 59, 27 years after his last major win.
 

Marsh01

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#6
I remember thinking that he chose too much club, possibly because he wanted to make sure he got it there and maybe wasn't sure he could with a 9 iron or pitching wedge. I remember the put seemed to get halfway there. He seemed mentally and physically tired and I think that was a factor in both shots. I don't think I ever rooted for a golfer more and that made me very sad. What a story it would have been at age 59, 27 years after his last major win.
I agree on everything you said. I was crushed. I think even the champion Stewart Cink was crushed.
 

donniesyracuse

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#7
It drives me crazy that the live coverage of the Masters is still so limited. I know it has gotten better in recent years, but is there any good reason why I am not watching guys on the course right now?
 

Marsh01

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#8
It drives me crazy that the live coverage of the Masters is still so limited. I know it has gotten better in recent years, but is there any good reason why I am not watching guys on the course right now?
Its complete crap. On line starts at 10:45 but its limited to amen corner, featured pairing, etc. Then ESPN comes on at 3:00. I mean how long did it take them to show the leaders tee off on #1? They always broke into live coverage when the leaders were on like 5-6. I love the Masters and its one of my favorite sporting events of the year but the US Open, Open Championship coverage is miles ahead.
 

SWC75

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#9
I've read that the first nine of the course is kind of mediocre looking compared to the second nine and for years they wouldn't let it be photographed at all. Only the second nine could be televised. Also, they pour blue coloring into the water hazards so they won't look green, as they normally are.
 

Marsh01

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#10
I've read that the first nine of the course is kind of mediocre looking compared to the second nine and for years they wouldn't let it be photographed at all. Only the second nine could be televised. Also, they pour blue coloring into the water hazards so they won't look green, as they normally are.
There isnt one mediocre thing about Augusta. Trust me.
 

Guinness

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#11
His body is slowly starting to break down a bit with knee and acchiles injuries. He needs to regain his putting stroke that he lost. It was better at Bay Hill and is slowly getting back to where it was.
Could just be my perception but to me it seems his body is breaking down fairly quickly.
 

Guinness

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#12
Its complete crap. On line starts at 10:45 but its limited to amen corner, featured pairing, etc. Then ESPN comes on at 3:00. I mean how long did it take them to show the leaders tee off on #1? They always broke into live coverage when the leaders were on like 5-6. I love the Masters and its one of my favorite sporting events of the year but the US Open, Open Championship coverage is miles ahead.

They subscribe to the less is more theory but yeah I have to agree with you guys.
 

Marsh01

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#13
Could just be my perception but to me it seems his body is breaking down fairly quickly.
Well he had to change his swing otherwise he would have had to have a knee replacement in about 5 years. Too much torque to not abuse the knees like he did.
 

SWC75

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#15
I remember loving this post. Now, he doesn't even play in Majors let alone win them.
He's 41 now. 9% of the majors in the above list were won from age 41 onward. If you add 9% to 14, you get 15. If you add it to 17, ou can push it up to 19. Both are short of Jack.

But once your back goes, it's never right again. He's already had three operations on it so he's probably done.

Sad.
 

MSOrange

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#16
He's 41 now. 9% of the majors in the above list were won from age 41 onward. If you add 9% to 14, you get 15. If you add it to 17, ou can push it up to 19. Both are short of Jack.

But once your back goes, it's never right again. He's already had three operations on it so he's probably done.

Sad.
Agree. He's done. Sounds like he can barely practice now let alone get through 4 rounds, which he hasn't been able to do in some time either.
 

upperdeck

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#17
jacks back was gone when he won too and he almost won 2 more as well after that one in 86.. Tiger can probably still win a Masters until he is 50 if he has that magical week.
 

Briancuse

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#18
I have said this before and I will say it again. The ONLY way Tiger wins 5 more majors (thus passing Jack Nicklaus) is if he can regain the putting stroke that he had when he was tearing up golf courses. That's really it. Tiger putting well is much different than Tiger not putting well. Players now hit it farther than he does so his advantage of length is gone. His body is slowly starting to break down a bit with knee and acchiles injuries. He needs to regain his putting stroke that he lost. It was better at Bay Hill and is slowly getting back to where it was.

Without the putter he will never win 5 more majors.
I don't think hes even going to come close to winning one more major, which is insanity because we all thought when he won his last one, he would shatter Jack's record. the biggest fall from grace in sports history.
 

690West

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#23
I don't think hes even going to come close to winning one more major, which is insanity because we all thought when he won his last one, he would shatter Jack's record. the biggest fall from grace in sports history.
 

SWC75

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#24
Eight of the 167 championships listed on my 2012 post were won from age 43, (which Tiger will be next year). That's 4.8%, so, even with the comeback, his chances are much les snow than they were when i made my post.

I still think that a panel of golf historians ought to be created to determine what tournament was a 'major' for what year. Until that is done, the standings are misleading.

Read this article on Wikipedia:
Men's major golf championships - Wikipedia

The concept of what is a major seems to have evolved over the years. the British open was the first and the British Amateur was probably a major from the time it was founded. The US open and amateur in the early years were were considered majors only when the top British players came over to play in them. The PGA started in 1916 but it was years before professionals were accepted and the tournament became a 'major'. Bobby Jones' held the record for major wins with 13 before Jack broke it back in the 70's but that includes 6 amateurs, (5 US, 1 British), and his "Grand Slam" of 1930 was the US and British Opens and Amateurs. The masters was a major from it's inception. The top US players rarely came over to contest the British Open in the 40's and 50's because the prize money wasn't enough to pay their expenses. When did the amateur tournaments stop being considered majors? Was it between the time that Jack won the 1959 and 1961 US Amateurs and Tiger won that tournament in 1994-96? What about the "Wold Championship of Golf" back in the 50's. What about the Western open? The North and South Open? The British Match Play championship? the Olympics? The Tournament of Champions? The World Series of Golf? The Tournament Player's Championship? The Fed Ex Cup?

I'd say a major is a tournament that all the top players in the world want to be a part of, knowing that their reputation will depend on how they do in those tournaments. Candidates would be the amateur, professional and Open championships of major golfing nations and tournament that require you win other tournaments to get into it. But the key thing is that the top player, if healthy, don't want to miss it.
 

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