Stats & Info: Tiger Woods

New metric: Strokes Gained, Tee-To-Green

September, 4, 2014
Sep 4

AP Photo/Mark DuncanRory McIlroy is 1 of 4 players to rank among the TOUR's top 10 in SGT2G in each of the last 3 seasons.
In 2011, the PGA TOUR introduced a new metric, Strokes Gained: Putting (SGP) to better evaluate players’ putting performance.

Now, in an attempt to measure who’s the best on all the parts of the game that take place before the putting surface, the TOUR has added Strokes Gained: Tee-To-Green (SGT2G).

Both metrics are founded on the principle of strokes gained (or lost) against the field - a player who shoots 68 in a round when the field average was 71 has gained 3.0 total strokes on the field. A player who shoots 72 in that same round has lost 1.0 stroke.

Using historical putting data, SGP assigns a value to a player’s putting performance in a given round (i.e. +1.7 strokes), meaning the rest of the player’s strokes gained (or lost) for the round are attributed to his play from tee to green, or SGT2G.

If Rory McIlroy gains 4.0 shots on the field in a given round, and his SGP is +1.5, then simple arithmetic says that his SGT2G is +2.5 for that round.

Winning happens off the green
The old saying “Drive for show, putt for dough” suggests that the putter is the most important club in the bag, but SGT2G indicates otherwise.

Of the top five players on the PGA TOUR in SGT2G this season (entering the BMW Championship), three have won at least once, and they have combined for five victories and 38 top-10 finishes.

Compare that to just one win (Matt Every) and 21 top-10 finishes combined for the top five players in SGP.

In each of the last five years, the PGA TOUR Player of the Year ranked fourth or better in SGT2G. But only two of those players (Tiger Woods in 2009 and Luke Donald in 2011) also ranked inside the top 20 in putting.

In 2012, when he won four times on TOUR, Rory McIlroy ranked a dismal 82nd in strokes gained putting.

Distance required?
Four players have ranked among the TOUR’s top 10 in SGT2G in each of the last three seasons: McIlroy (World No. 1), Adam Scott (World No. 2), Justin Rose (World No. 5) and Jim Furyk (World No. 7).

Length off the tee certainly helps in this category (two of those four players are averaging more than 300 yards per drive on the PGA TOUR this season), but it’s not everything. Rose (293.9) is 58th on TOUR in driving distance, and Furyk (278.7) is 161st. In fact, Furyk continues to rank among TOUR’s elite in SGT2G, despite finishing the year outside the top 150 in driving distance every year since 2004.

Of the top 10 players in SGT2G this season, four rank in the top 20 in driving distance, two are in the top 20 in fairways hit, and the remaining four rank outside the top 30 in both categories.

Top stats to know: PGA Championship

August, 4, 2014
Aug 4
>Rory McIlroy is trying to join elite company with a win this weekend.
The PGA Championship begins Thursday at Valhalla Golf Club on Thursday. Let's take a look at some of the top storylines as the golf world awaits word on the presence of its biggest star.

No. 1 doesn’t usually finish No. 1
Rory McIlroy enters the PGA Championship on top of the world – with his win at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, he is now No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking (40th week of his career).

However, the last time a player other than Tiger Woods won a major as the No. 1 player in the world was 1992, when Fred Couples won the Masters.

Coming off his win at The Open Championship, McIlroy is trying to become the first player since Padraig Harrington in 2008 to win back-to-back majors (Harrington also won The Open Championship and PGA Championship) and the first player since Tiger Woods in 2007 to win a major the week after winning on the PGA TOUR.

The dominance McIlroy has displayed of late is reminiscent of Tiger Woods in 2000. Entering the PGA Championship, their numbers on the PGA TOUR are very similar, as noted in the chart on the right.

The last player to win in back-to-back weeks on the PGA TOUR was McIlroy in 2012 at the Deutsche Bank Championship and BMW Championship.

Also of note: each of the last eight major winners have come from the Top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Eyes on the Tiger
Will Tiger Woods play this week at Valhalla? He won here the last time the course hosted a major (2000 PGA Championship), but after his withdrawal at last week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, he could miss his seventh major as a professional.

Jack Nicklaus was 61 years old before he missed his seventh major after turning pro.

If Woods doesn’t play and win this week, he will enter next year’s Masters at 39 years old (he turns 39 in December), needing four major wins to match Jack Nicklaus. In the Masters era (since 1934), no player has won more than three majors after his 39th birthday.

If Woods played and won, he would do something he’s never done before- get his first victory of the season at a major.

Mickelson struggling
Phil Mickelson enters the PGA Championship without a single top-10 finish on the PGA TOUR this season. His only top-10 of the year came back in January at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

If you’re looking for a weakness in his game, it’s been the putter, which was one of his strengths a year ago.

Mickelson has eight top-5 finishes in majors since the beginning of 2009, but none of them have come at the PGA Championship. He finished tied for 72nd at last year’s PGA Championship at Oak Hill.

Shortage of Drama
For the first time since 1972, the first three majors of the year have been won by the 36- and 54-hole leader. There has never been a year when all four majors were won by the 36- and 54-hole leader.

For the first time in major championship history, there have been back-to-back wire-to-wire major winners (Martin Kaymer and McIlroy) who held the lead outright after each round.

Trend to Watch: Repeat Winners
Each of the first three major winners this year had at least one previous major championship. The last time a year started with three repeat major winners was 2000, when all four winners were of the repeat variety (Vijay Singh at the Masters, followed by Tiger Woods at the final three majors).

Rory McIlroy in the company of legends

July, 20, 2014
Jul 20

Peter Muhly/AFP/Getty ImagesRory McIlroy's drives were the most powerful in the field.
Rory McIlroy reached an elite plateau with his victory at the Open Championship on Sunday.

The 25-year-old McIlroy is the third-youngest player in the Masters era to win three majors and the third-youngest to win three legs of the career Grand Slam, trailing only Jack Nicklaus (23) and Tiger Woods (24).

McIlroy is now a Masters win away from joining the small group of players who have won the career Grand Slam. Those in that club are Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Nicklaus and Woods.

McIlroy became the seventh player to win the Open Championship in wire-to-wire fashion (without ties) and joins Woods and Raymond Floyd as the only players with multiple wire-to-wire major wins.

The last time consecutive majors were won in wire-to-wire fashion was in 2005, when Woods won the Open Championship at St Andrews and Phil Mickelson won the PGA Championship at Baltusrol.

McIlroy finished the week at 17-under-par 271, one shot off the Royal Liverpool scoring record set by Woods in 2006 and two shots off the record for most strokes under par at a major (Woods at the 2000 Open Championship).

What made McIlroy so good?

He led the field with an average drive of 327.8 yards, shot 12-under on the par-5 holes and tied for the best in the field at 12-under on the back-nine holes.

McIlroy reached seven par-5s in two shots, creating frequent opportunities to two-putt for birdie.

Sergio Garcia, who finished tied for second, notched his first top-five finish since the 2008 PGA Championship -- 23 majors ago. He tied with Rickie Fowler, who became the first golfer to shoot four Open Championship rounds in the 60s and not win since Ernie Els in 2004.

Woods shot a final-round 75 to finish 69th. It’s his worst finish as a pro at a major where he made the cut.

There have now been 25 straight majors without a Woods victory. He falls behind Nicklaus’ major pace, as Nicklaus won his 15th major at The Open Championship at the age of 38.

McIlroy ties Royal Liverpool 36-hole record

July, 18, 2014
Jul 18

Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
Rory McIlroy pulled away from the pack with another 66 in the second round of the Open Championship
Rory McIlroy enters the weekend at 12 under par with a four-shot lead over Dustin Johnson, while Tiger Woods went a different direction Friday and struggled just to make the cut.

Here are the top stats to know on McIlroy and Woods entering the weekend.

McIlroy running away

McIlroy’s total score of 132 matches Tiger Woods’ 36-hole record at Royal Liverpool. Woods posted that score in 2006 and went on to win the Open Championship.

This year’s Open Championship looks a lot like another major won by McIlroy - the 2011 U.S. Open. In that event McIlroy shot a 131 and had a six-stroke lead after 36 holes. He went on to win by eight strokes.

Prior to shooting a 66 in each of the first two rounds of the 2014 Open Championship, McIlroy led the PGA TOUR with an average first-round score of 68.0. McIlroy’s 66 on Friday helped him rebound from a season-long trend of bad second-round scores that ranked 181st on the tour (72.9).

If McIlroy can hang on to win, he will join Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as the only golfers to win three majors by age 25 since the Masters began in 1934.

Tiger in trouble

Tiger Woods followed up his first-round 69 (-3) with a second-round 77 (+5). It took a birdie on 18 after a triple-bogey on 17 to get Woods back under the cut line at +2 for the tournament. Woods had previously missed the cut as a professional just three times in Majors (2011 PGA Championship, 2009 Open Championship, 2006 U.S. Open).

Woods’ second-round 77 was his worst second-round score at a major since he shot an 85 at the 1995 U.S. Open as an amateur. It also tied his second worst round at the Open Championship as a pro. Woods shot an 81 in the third round in 2002 and a 77 in 1998.

The driver gave Woods trouble all day. Woods missed the fairway on all five holes where he used his driver, posting a score of +6. Woods hit the fairway on 7-of-9 par 4/5 tee shots with a fairway wood or iron. He was one under par on those holes.

Notables to miss the cut

Lee Westwood (+3), Boo Weekley (+4), Bubba Watson (+4), Ernie Els (+8) and Padraig Harrington (+8) missed the cut line of +2.

Top stats to know: The Open Championship

July, 15, 2014
Jul 15

oss Kinnaird/Getty ImagesRoyal Liverpool will play just 54 yards longer than it did in 2006, when Tiger Woods won.

Twenty-four major championships have come and gone since Tiger Woods last won one, the 2008 U.S. Open. That’s more than twice as long as his next-longest drought since he played his first full season as a professional in 1997.

Woods returns to Royal Liverpool this week, the site of his third and most recent Open Championship victory (2006). He famously hit his driver just once that week, finishing at 18 under (the second-lowest score to par in the history of the Open Championship) and 14 under on the par 5s.

Let’s run through some of the key stats for a few notable players who could make things interesting at this year's Open Championship.

Tiger Woods
Woods is winless this season and has never won a major without winning another event earlier in the season.

Woods has rarely put himself in contention in recent majors, largely due to his struggles on the weekend. He’s a cumulative 27 over on the weekend in his past 12 major starts.

In his 2006 victory in Hoylake, Woods made short work of the par 5s, holing 10 birdies and two eagles on those four holes (14 under) over the course of the week.

Woods turned 38 in December and is still four major titles shy of tying Jack Nicklaus. It's worth noting that only two players have won four or more majors after their 38th birthday since the “modern” era of majors began in 1934 with the first Masters Tournament: Ben Hogan (five) and Nicklaus (four).

So how does Woods' drought of 18 majors played without a win compare to major droughts of other golf greats?

Nicklaus went 20 majors between his win at age 40 in the 1980 PGA Championship and his miraculous win at age 46 in the 1986 Masters.

Gary Player's longest span between major wins was 15. Tom Watson's was 11.

Hogan never had a stretch longer than four between major wins, and Arnold Palmer never had one longer than five.

Phil Mickelson
Mickelson, the event’s defending champion, enters this year’s Open without a single top-10 finish on the PGA Tour and no wins worldwide. He's looking to become the first golfer to win back-to-back Opens since Padraig Harrington in 2007-2008.

It’s the first time in his career that Mickelson has entered the Open Championship without at least one top-10 finish on the PGA Tour and the first time since 2003 that he comes in without a win.

Looking for the cause of his woes? Look no further than the putter -- he's struggling on short putts again, an area where he had improved over the past few years. He’s currently tied for 108th on the PGA Tour in 1-putt percentage inside 10 feet.

This event has been kind to veterans in recent years, however. Each of the past three Open champions (Darren Clarke, Ernie Els, Mickelson) was in his 40s. It’s the only time in the 20th century we’ve seen three straight 40-year-old winners at a single major.

Adam Scott
Adam Scott is trying to become the fourth player ranked No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking to win a major. The other three are Tiger Woods (11 times), Fred Couples (once) and Ian Woosnam (once).

Each of the last 12 majors contested have featured Scott making the cut. That’s twice as long as the next active streak (six, by five different golfers).

Top stats to know: U.S. Open

June, 10, 2014
Jun 10

Streeter Lecka/Getty ImagesPinehurst No. 2 has hosted two previous U.S. Opens, in 1999 and in 2005.
There’s no Tiger Woods in this week’s field at the U.S. Open, but there are plenty of storylines to go around as our national championship returns to Pinehurst for the third time in 16 years.

It's a whole new course
Pinehurst has been “restored” to its original character, which means traditional U.S. Open rough will be replaced by expanses of sandy soil native to this part of North Carolina.

The course has also been lengthened – it will play 348 yards longer than it did in 2005 and will feature four par 4s that will be over 500 yards on the scorecard.

This makes it the third longest course in U.S. Open history, and the fourth hole (529 yards) and 16th hole (528 yards) are the two longest par fours in the event’s history.

Another first-time major winner, perhaps an American?
First-time major winners have been the norm over the last five years at this event.

That’s the most consecutive first-time major winners at the U.S. Open since we had five in a row from 1992-96. If the streak grows to six this year, it would match the longest such streak in U.S. Open history.

Meanwhile, it’s also been good to be an American at the majors lately. The last three major winners (Phil Mickelson, Jason Dufner, Bubba Watson) are from the United States, and an American winner at Pinehurst would make it four straight for the first time since 2003-04.

Look out on Sunday
If we’ve learned anything at the U.S. Open in recent years, it’s that the 54-hole leader is no sure bet to win. In fact, over the last nine U.S. Opens, only a pair of winners held the outright lead after 54 holes.

In that same span, four eventual champions came from at least three shots back entering the final round.

Over the last five years, the players who held at least a share of the 54-hole lead were a combined +26 in the final round.

In that stretch, only Rory McIlroy (69 in final round en route to win in 2011) broke par in the final round.

Top stats to know: Masters preview

April, 8, 2014
Apr 8

Andrew Redington/Getty ImagesDefending champion Adam Scott looks to become the fourth player to win the Masters in back-to-back years.
The Masters gets underway on Thursday, with ESPN's coverage beginning on Wednesday. Even without Tiger Woods in the mix, there are plenty of storylines coming out of Augusta.

Here are some of the top statistical storylines we'll be covering.

Defending Champ
Adam Scott is the defending champion. He’s attempting to become the fourth player to win this event in back-to-back years, joining Jack Nicklaus (1965-66), Nick Faldo (1989-90) and Tiger Woods (2001-02).

In the last eight majors, Scott is the only player to make the cut in all eight and post a combined score under par (-4).

Phil has a good history
Phil Mickelson is seeking to become the fourth player to win four Masters titles. Since 2001, Mickelson has won the Masters three times and finished in the Top 5 nine times.

This is the first Masters since 1994 in which Tiger Woods will not compete. Woods has finished in the Top 6 eight times in the last nine Masters’.

McIlroy doesn’t have a good history
Last year was a lost year of majors for Rory McIlroy, as he never really found himself in contention and didn’t finish better than seven shots behind the winner.

At the Masters, McIlroy has more rounds of 76 or worse (5) than he does in the 60s (4). Four of those rounds of 76 or worse have come in his last five weekend rounds at Augusta (beginning with his final round 80 in 2011).

The last 21 majors (beginning with Padraig Harrington at the 2008 PGA Championship) have been won by 19 different players. The only repeat winners during this stretch are McIlroy and Mickelson. Fifteen of the champions during this stretch have been first-time major winners, including 12 of the last 15 majors.

First-Round Leader
Just one player in the last 29 years has won the Masters after holding at least a share of the first-round lead. That was Trevor Immelman who shared the first-round lead in 2008 with Justin Rose. The last player to win the Masters after holding the outright first-round lead was Ben Crenshaw in 1984.

36-Hole Leader
Just two players in the last 14 years have won the Masters after holding the 36-hole lead. Trevor Immelman held a one-shot lead over Brandt Snedeker after the second round in 2008, while Mike Weir held a 4-shot lead after 36 holes in 2003 and went on to win in a playoff over Len Mattiace.

Best Bet on Sunday
The eventual Masters champion has come out of the final Sunday pairing 19 out of the last 23 years, but each of the last three winners --Charl Schwartzel (2011), Bubba Watson (2012) and Adam Scott (2013) – have come from outside that pairing.

Cream Rises to the Top
Since 1986, the Masters has been won 17 times by a player with an Official World Golf Ranking in the top 10, more than any other major.

Injury prolongs Woods' record chase

April, 1, 2014
Apr 1

AP Photo/Lynne SladkyTiger Woods had surgery for a pinched nerve in his back and will not play in this year's Masters.
Why is it significant that Tiger Woods is not playing in the Masters for the first time as a pro?

Since last winning a major, in 2008, Woods has six top-five finishes in majors. Three have come at Augusta. So despite his drought, Woods has found his way into contention at a better rate there compared with the other three majors. And, depending on how many majors he will miss, history suggests his quest for the record for career wins in majors might be in serious jeopardy.

How does Woods' run of 18 majors played without a win compare to major droughts of other golf greats?

Jack Nicklaus went 20 majors between his win at age 40 in the 1980 PGA Championship and his remarkable win at age 46 in the 1986 Masters.

Nicklaus' second-longest span between major wins was 12 -- between the 1967 U.S. Open and 1970 Open Championship. Gary Player's longest span between major wins was 15. Tom Watson's was 11. Ben Hogan never had a stretch longer than four between major wins, and Arnold Palmer never had one longer than five.
Since Woods' last major victory, in the 2008 U.S. Open, 19 golfers have won the 22 majors played. The three who have won multiple majors since the 2008 U.S. Open are Padraig Harrington, Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson.

Of the 22 majors held since Woods won the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, he has competed in 18. Woods' absence next week will extend his drought to 23 majors.

Woods has played three events this season, and his play was not up to his usual standards.

He averaged 287.3 yards on his drives this season after averaging at least 293 yards in each of his other seasons as a professional (he turned pro in 1996).

Running out of time?
The Masters was to be Woods' first major at age 38. With Woods four major titles shy of tying Nicklaus, it's worth noting that only two players have ever won four or more majors after their 38th birthdays.

If Woods is done for the major calendar this year, history says he won't catch Nicklaus, as nobody has won more than three majors after turning 39: Hogan, Nicklaus and Snead, all with three.

Top stats to know: Tiger Woods' preview

January, 22, 2014
Jan 22

Illustration by Trevor EbaughTiger Woods is on a parallel path to that of Jack Nicklaus.
The 2014 PGA Tour gets underway this week at Torrey Pines and there are a number of notable stories related to Tiger Woods this season. Here’s a quick run-through:

• Woods enters the 2014 calendar year with 79 career PGA TOUR victories, four shy of breaking Sam Snead’s all-time record of 82 that has stood since 1965.

Since playing his first full season on the PGA TOUR in 1997, Woods has won at least four times in 12 of his 17 seasons.

• Woods enters 2014 at age 38 with 14 career major championships, five shy of breaking the record of 18 held by Jack Nicklaus. Nicklaus also entered his age-38 season with 14 career major titles. Breaking the record will be tough. Ben Hogan is the only player ever to win five majors after his 38th birthday.

For the first time since 1999, Woods could end the year trailing Nicklaus’ major-winning pace. Nicklaus won his 15th major in his 67th career major (1978 Open Championship). Woods will reach that same number of starts at this year’s Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.

• The schedules of majors for this year and next year appear to be favorable for Woods.

There will be eight majors contested on seven courses before Woods’ 40th birthday. He has won on four of those courses (Augusta National, Royal Liverpool, Valhalla, St. Andrews) for a total of eight major titles.

He has four wins at Augusta (1997, 2001, 2002, 2005), and one win each at Royal Liverpool (2006) and Valhalla (2000), each of which he will play at this year.

Though Woods hasn’t won a major in a while, he’s been close. Since his victory at the 2008 U.S. Open, he has nine top-6 finishes in 18 starts, the most of anyone in the sport.

• Woods will be starting in a place where he's had much success before, as Justin Ray noted in his column, and as the image below indicates.

Illustration by Trevor Ebaugh

Top things to know: The Presidents Cup

October, 2, 2013

Stan Badz/PGA/Getty ImagesThe U.S. has won 7 of the first 9 President Cups, including all 5 at home.
The Presidents Cup tees off starting tomorrow from the Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio.

We take a look at some of the top storylines.

1. The United States has dominated The Presidents Cup over the years, winning outright seven of the nine times it’s been contested. The U.S. is a perfect 5-0 when the event has been held on American soil.

We might know who will win this event by the end of the first day. In the history of The Presidents Cup, the team with the Day 1 lead has won seven of the nine times.

Three times the U.S. has gotten out to a five-point lead, and twice the International squad has been shut out after the first day of competition.

2. Muirfield Village Golf Club hosts this event for the first time. It’s the same course that hosts the Memorial Tournament each year, where Tiger Woods has won five times (in 14 career starts).

In fact, 23 of the 24 players on these teams have played the course in tournament competition, with Hideki Matsuyama being the lone exception.

3. Tiger Woods enters this year’s event tied with Jim Furyk for the most match wins (20) in U.S. team history. He has also provided the winning point in each of the last two Presidents Cups.

Tiger has been fairly dominant in singles play at this event, winning five of his seven career singles matches.

He’s also been strong in foursome matches (alternate-shot), especially compared to the Ryder Cup, where that has been his worst format.

Tiger has come away with 75 percent of the possible points in his 14 foursome matches in The Presidents Cup, while he’s collected less than half that rate in the Ryder Cup.

4. Twenty-year-old Jordan Spieth, who was still an amateur at the University of Texas last fall, will make his Presidents Cup debut, the youngest player ever to compete for the United States. He’s one of four first-timers on the U.S. team, joining Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner and Brandt Snedeker.

5. American captain Fred Couples will try to win a third Presidents Cup, which would set a record for a captain for either team in this event’s history.

Under Couples’ leadership, the United States has outscored the International team by nine points over the last two events.

Dufner rallies for first major win

August, 11, 2013

US PresswireJason Dufner won his first career major at the 2013 PGA Championship on Sunday.
Jason Dufner shot a 68 in the final round of the PGA championship to win his first career major and third PGA TOUR title overall.

A newcomer on top of the leaderboard is no surprise here at the PGA.

Dufner is the fourth player in last five years to win first career major at the PGA Championship, joining Y.E. Yang (2009), Martin Kaymer (2010) and Keegan Bradley (2011).

Dufner also becomes the 15th different first-time major winner in the last 19 contested and the 19th different winner in the last 21 majors overall. Over the previous 20 majors, there were just 12 different winners.

Dufner trailed by a stroke after 54 holes but that proved to be no obstacle for the 36-year-old, continuing a recent trend of comebacks in majors. All four major winners this year and 15 of the last 19 were trailing entering the final round.

Jim Furyk faded in the final round, shooting a 1-over 71 to finish second. Furyk still has only one major title (2003 U.S. Open), to go along with his three runner-up finishes.

Tiger Woods was not a factor on the weekend and ultimately finished tied for 40th with a plus-4. That matches his worst finish in a major as a professional, excluding events where he missed the cut or withdrew. He also finished tied for 40th at the 2012 Masters.

Woods is now a combined plus-16 in eight PGA Championship rounds at Oak Hill, and has never broken par in any of those rounds.

He is winless in last 18 majors and remains stuck on 14 major wins, which is four behind Jack Nicklaus.

Woods wasn’t the only highly-ranked golfer to struggle at the PGA this weekend. Phil Mickelson, fresh off his Open Championship title, shot a 12-over for the tournament and failed to make par or better in any round. He finished tied for 72nd among the 75 players that made the cut.

Did you know?
Dufner is the sixth golfer to shoot 63 in a round in a major and win. The others are Johnny Miller, Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Raymond Floyd, and Tiger Woods.

Could be 1st time in long time for Furyk

August, 10, 2013

Rob Carr/Getty ImagesThings went right for Jim Furyk on Saturday.
Jim Furyk has the lead through three rounds at the PGA Championship, one shot better than Jason Dufner on a day in which good scores were a lot harder to come by.

Here's a look at some of the statistical highlights that recap Saturday and preview Sunday.

Furyk’s furious run
This is the third time Furyk has held at least a share of the third-round lead at a major. He won the 2003 U.S. Open (his only major win) and finished tied for fourth at the 2012 U.S. Open the previous two times.

Furyk is trying to become the second straight 43-year-old to win a major, joining Phil Mickelson.

The last time two majors were won in same season by players 43 or older: Jack Nicklaus (Masters) and Raymond Floyd (U.S. Open) in 1986.

Since 2003, Furyk is 6-for-7 converting outright 54-hole leads into wins.

Furyk shot 28-over in the first three majors of 2013.

He is trying to join Ben Crenshaw and Julius Boros as the only players to wait more than a decade for their second major title.

If Furyk wins, 41 majors will have been played between his two wins. That would be the longest gap since Hale Irwin (43, 1979-90).

Phil & Tiger bringing up the back
Only Gary Woodland has a worse score than Mickelson after three rounds.

Mickelson is 74th at +10 after shooting 78 on Saturday. He’s only fared worse twice through three rounds of a major, in 1996 at the U.S. Open (tied for 80th) and in 1998 at the Open Championship (tied for 79th).

Mickelson's 78 is his highest third-round score in a major in more than 10 years (2002 PGA Championship was his last score that bad).

Oak Hill does not agree with Tiger Woods. When the PGA Championship was held there in 2003, Woods did not break par in any round and finished in a tie for 39th.

He hasn't broken par in any of the first three rounds this year.

Woods is currently tied for 48th. He’s only had two majors in which he fared worse through 54 holes in a major. He was tied for 95th at the 1996 U.S. Open and tied for 67th at the 2002 Open Championship.

Since 1997, Woods and Mickelson have never had a tournament in which both made the cut and both finished outside the top 50.

The international perspective
Henrik Stenson (7-under) and Jonas Blixt (6-under): are third and fourth respectively. Both are natives of Sweden (no Swedish male has ever won a major).

Adam Scott at five-under is trying to become the first Australian-born player to win two majors in the same season. He’s trying to become the first player to win the Masters and PGA Championship in the same year since Nicklaus in 1975.

Numbers don't favor a Woods win

August, 6, 2013

The PGA Championship is Tiger Woods' final chance to capture a major before turning 38 in December. If he doesn't, his major drought will reach 18 and all eyes will then turn to The Masters in April.

In August 2012, Woods shared the 36-hole lead in the 2012 PGA Championship. But Woods struggled to a 2-over 74 in the third round, and eventual winner Rory McIlroy fired a 67, turning a two-shot deficit into a three-shot lead on the field -- and five shots on Woods.

The PGA Championship also represents the only major Woods failed to win after holding a 54-hole lead: in 2009 when Y.E. Yang emerged victorious after a 3-over 75 by Woods on Sunday.

This PGA Championship also carries significance for Woods' future success.

Only two players have won four majors after turning 38 -- Ben Hogan (5) and Jack Nicklaus (4). Four is the key number as it represents the gap between Nicklaus' record 18 major wins and Woods' 14.

Mickelson's success
What might be surprising though, as Woods has struggled in majors with age, rival Phil Mickelson has gotten better with age.

Mickelson didn't capture his first major until turning 33. Since then, Mickelson has won four more majors and finished in the Top 3 in 12 of 40 majors.

Mickelson is three wins shy of the record for most majors won at age 33 or older. Ben Hogan has the most with eight, one more than Nicklaus, two more than Sam Snead and Harry Vardon.

Woods has played in 17 majors since turning 33. He's won none.

Major trends

The last three winners of the Open Championship were at least 42 years old, and two of the last five Masters winners were at least 39 years old.

But the other two majors have trended toward younger winners.

Forty-two-year old Payne Stewart's win at Pinehurst in 1999 is the only U.S. Open in the last 21 years to be won by a player at least 38 years old.

And 41-year-old Vijay Singh's win in the 2004 PGA Championship is the only one of the last 25 to be won by a player at least 38 years old.

Woods vs. the greats
How does Woods' drought of 17 majors played without a win compare to major droughts of other golf greats?

Nicklaus went 20 majors between his win at age 40 in the 1980 PGA Championship and his miraculous win at age 46 in the 1986 Masters. Nicklaus' second-longest span between major wins was 12 -- between the 1967 U.S. Open and 1970 Open Championship. Gary Player's longest span between major wins was 15. Tom Watson's was 11.

Amazingly, Ben Hogan never had a stretch longer than four between major wins and Arnold Palmer never had one longer than five.

Dreading the weekend?
Woods has been in contention since capturing his last major win in the 2008 U.S. Open -- he has nine Top 6 finishes since then, most of anyone in the sport. But his weekend struggles have been well documented.

In the last six majors, Woods is 11-under in rounds 1 and 2, compared to 23-over in rounds 3 and 4. In his last 20 weekend rounds, Woods is 24-over par. If you eliminate six weekend rounds at Augusta National, Woods is 29-over in the other 14 rounds.

In his last 13 Sunday rounds in majors, Woods shot plus-3 or worse six times. In his first 46 Sunday rounds as a pro, that happened only eight times. And twice in his last 11 Sunday rounds, Woods shot 4-over or worse. That happened only twice in his first 47 Sunday rounds as a pro.

Woods' last sub-par Sunday round in a major other than the Masters came in the 2009 U.S. Open.

The ghost of past struggles
The 2003 PGA Championship at Oak Hill represents his second-worst major finish in terms of position as a pro (12-over, tied for 39th). It is also one of three majors in which Woods failed to shoot par in any round, joining the 1998 U.S. Open (10-over, tied for 18th) and 1999 Open Championship (10-over, tied for 7th).

Woods entered the 2003 PGA with seven wins in his previous 17 majors, compared to the 0-for-17 drought he is currently enduring.

Tiger Woods putts his way to 61

August, 2, 2013
Sam Greenwood/Getty ImagesTiger Woods shot a 61 on Friday for the fourth time in his PGA Tour career.
Tiger Woods had to “settle” for a 61 in the second round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

After shooting 9 under par on the first 13 holes, Woods was on pace to potentially record the PGA Tour’s first round of 58. But he made par on each of the last five holes to finish with a 9-under 61.

The 61 matches Woods’ lowest career round on the PGA Tour. He also tied his own tournament course record at Firestone. His other two 61s came at the 2005 Buick Open and the 1999 Byron Nelson Championship.

Woods’ performance this week looks a lot like his dominating win at this event in 2000, when he also shot a 61 in the second round and had a 7-shot lead through 36 holes.

His 7-shot lead through two rounds ties the same event in 2000 for the largest 36-hole leads of his career. That year, Woods went on to win the tournament by 11 shots. His other lead of 6 shots or more came at the 2000 U.S. Open, which he won by 15.

Woods needed 33 putts in each of the last two rounds of the Open Championship, tallying just eight one-putts in those two rounds. In the first two rounds this week at Firestone, Woods has needed 26 putts per round, and has 18 one-putts.

On the first 13 holes on Friday, Woods had a pair of two-putts and no misses inside 10 feet. Over his last five holes, he had three two-putts and missed twice inside 10 feet.

Woods led the field in the second round in strokes gained putting (+4.6) and total putts (22). He was also tied for the lead in one-putts (12). He had four putts of at least 20 feet.

His 61 is the sixth round of 61 or better on the PGA Tour this year, joining Phil Mickelson, Keegan Bradley, Scott Piercy, Chez Reavie and Charley Hoffman.

After opening the WGC-Bridgestone with a 66 and 61, Woods has now shot a 66 or better 16 times at the WGC-Bridgestone, the most such rounds at any tournament. He doesn’t have more than 13 such rounds at any other tournament in his PGA Tour career.

Woods has been 10 under or better through 36 holes three times this year. He won each of those three tournaments.

Past success vs recent struggles for Woods

July, 31, 2013

Allan Henry/US PresswireTiger Woods has seven wins at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational but hasn't won there since 2009.
The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational begins Thursday in Akron, Ohio and a major storyline will be Tiger Woods going for his eighth career win at this event. Woods already is one of two golfers (along with Sam Snead) with at least eight wins at a single tournament, having won the Arnold Palmer Invitational eight times.

If wins this weekend, he will become the first player in PGA TOUR history to win multiple tournaments eight or more times in a career.

Woods has won six different PGA TOUR events at least five times - that’s twice as many as any other player. Jack Nicklaus and Sam Snead each won three different tournaments five or more times.

Tiger certainly has enjoyed playing World Golf Championships tournaments throughout his career, winning 17 WGC titles.

No other golfer has won more than three titles and only six other golfers have multiple WGC wins in their careers.

Woods’ 17 wins in WGC events alone would put him 6th on the PGA TOUR career victory list among active players. Tiger has 78 PGA TOUR titles in his career, four shy of Sam Snead’s all-time mark of 82.

However, Woods hasn’t won the Bridgestone Invitational since 2009 and in three starts since then, seven of his 12 rounds have been over par. He’s a combined 15-over par in that span.

Contrast that with his performance at the tournament from 1999-2009, when he won it seven times in 10 starts, had just five total rounds over par, and shot a combined score of 103-under.

Regardless of what Tiger does in Akron this week, the PGA Championship the following week will be the primary storyline for Woods. In the last six majors, Woods is a combined 11-under in rounds one and two. He is 23-over in rounds three and four in those tournaments.

At July’s Open Championship, Woods was 4-over on the weekend after going 2-under in the first two rounds. Woods needed 66 putts in rounds three and four at Muirfield – nine more than in the first two rounds.