Tag: Ben Hogan

Greats of the Game: Volume I—The Top 5

Arnold Palmer: Brings Golf to Prime-Time

Major championship performance and PGA Tour wins are the biggest factors in determining where players stand in the history of golf, but making cuts and Top-10 finishes are also important for identifying excellence and consistency.

In deriving our ratings, major championship wins carry the most weight, followed by major runner-up finishes and Tour wins. Top-5’s and Top-10’s at the majors also receive strong consideration, along with wins on the DP World Tour and to a lesser degree, wins on other recognized Tours (Japan Tour, Asian Tour, etc.).

Making cuts and Top-10 finishes are calculated on the basis of percentage in relation to total starts at PGA Tour sanctioned events through age 49 (when players become eligible for the Champions Tour). Top 10 percentage is given considerable weight, and cut percentage is also a factor in the rating a player receives.   

Cuts and Top-10 percentage are overstated as a measure for Snead and Hogan, because fields were limited–but this is offset by the fact that each lost prime years in their career due to WWII (they were both 29 in 1941).

While Bobby Jones is certainly among the top 5 players in history with 4 U.S. Open and 3 Open Championship titles, he chose to remain an amateur and therefore has no PGA record for reference–and is not included below.

Nicklaus: Still the Greatest

Number 1: Jack Nicklaus (361)

In addition to his 18 major championship wins, Jack recorded 55 Top-10 finishes at the majors (19 runner-up’s, 19 Top-5’s and 17 Top-10’s)–by far the most of any player in history. The Golden Bear also recorded 55 Tour wins along with his major championships for a total of 73, and he had the highest Top-10 percentage (60.2%) and cut percentage (93.6%) of any modern-day player.

Tiger: Closing in on Jack

Number 2: Tiger Woods (346)

Tiger is second to Jack with 15 major championship wins, a close second in Top-10 percentage (91%) and just behind Nicklaus in cut percentage as well at 54.9%. With his 67 Tour wins, Tiger is tied with Sam Snead for the most wins in history (82), and also added 8 wins on the DP world Tour. At 46 years old, Tiger still has a number of years with which to add additional wins and Top-10 finishes—so Jack’s position at No. 1 is by no means a certainty when all is said and done.  

Sam Snead: Most All-Time Wins
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Number 3: Sam Snead (335)

Sam Snead recorded 7 major championship victories along with 75 wins on Tour, setting the mark of 82 total wins (tied by Tiger.) Snead made the cut in 391 of the 394 tournaments he entered (99%), and recorded Top 10 finishes in 75% of those events. When you include 8 runner-up finishes, 15 Top-5’s and 18 Top-10’s at the major championships, Snead comes up at No. 3—just behind Tiger.

Ben Hogan: 9 major Championships

Number 4: Ben Hogan (281)

Ben Hogan won 9 major championships along with 55 PGA events. He made the cut in 97.8% of the tournaments he played, and finished in the top 10 close to 80% of the time. After his near fatal auto accident in 1949 at age 36, Hogan never played more than 6 tournaments in any year—yet won 6 more major champions and recorded an additional 15 top 10’s at the majors (including 4 runner-up’s).

Number 5: Arnold Palmer (265)

Arnie’s career spanned 55 years from 1949 through his last appearance at The Masters in 2004, and while Tiger has had a huge impact on the popularity of golf in the last 25 years, Palmer brought the game to prime-time—and set the stage for the global appeal that golf currently enjoys. And he was perfect for the role. Photogenic with a big personality, tremendous power and ability combined with a go-for-broke style of play that endeared him to millions—commonly known as “Arnie’s Army.”

Throughout the course of his career, Arnie won 7 major championships and recorded 55 wins on tour. When Jack burst onto the PGA Tour in 1962, Palmer was still in his prime at 32 years and had just won The Masters and The Open Championship—and while Arnie added only one more major win (1964 Masters), he recorded an additional 7 major runner-up’s and 7 Top-10’s through 1970.

Palmer also made the cut in 90% of the tournaments he entered, with a Top-10 percentage of 43.5%.

Byron Nelson: No. 6

Keep an eye out for Greats of the Game Volume II, where we will take a look at Gary Player (No. 6), Byron Nelson (No. 7), Walter Hagan (No. 8), Phil Mickelson (No. 9) and Tom Watson at No. 10.

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PGA Tournament of Champions 2022

Kapalua Resort, Maui, HI

PGA Tour 2022

Get ready folks, because the regular PGA Tour season is getting ready to ramp up. As always, the new year begins with the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii, so we can soak in the beautiful scenery and watch last year’s tournament winners battle it out on the tube. 2021 certainly provided a ton of exciting moments, and this weekend will give us a taste of what 2022 has in store. While it may seem unlikely that anything could top Phil capturing his sixth major title at the PGA Championship, the tour never fails to deliver eye popping thrills and excitement. 2021 saw Hideki Matsuyama dominate at the Masters for his first Major title and Jon Rahm overcome a stacked leader board at the U.S. Open for his first major. Collin Morikawa won the Open Championship for his second major victory, and Patrick Cantlay dropped a cherry on top by winning back-to-back playoff events to take home the FedEx Cup. And we also saw Jordan Spieth rising to the top again with his first win in almost four years. You can’t really top that, can you? Keep in mind that Mr. Woods is back, and 2022 is the “Year of the Tiger” on the Chinese calendar. I’m starting to feel the excitement building already.

The Sentry Tournament of Champions

Each year the Plantation Course at Kapalua, Hawaii hosts the Tournament Champions, and once again the field is stacked with some of the most skilled players the tour has to offer. Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa, Bryson DeChambeau, Jon Rahm, and Patrick Cantlay headline a star-studded group. Of course, we can’t forget about a few of the wild cards out there like Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele and Viktor Hoveland. The field consists of the 2021 tournament winners, a slender group of only 39 players. But since Phil pulled off his amazing win at the PGA last year, we also get the special treat of watching Lefty early in the year.  Kapalua is a gorgeous track, but also tough, particularly if the wind is blowing. The Tournament of Champions has always been a fun event to watch, as often you get a feel for how a player is going to look for the season ahead. Last year Harris English took home the trophy in a playoff against Joaquin Niemann, and it proved to be a prelude to an excellent season as Harris recorded 8 top 10’s and a win at the Travelers.

Kapalua Resort

Kapalua Resort offers two phenomenal tracks, the Plantation course and the Bay course. The Plantation was designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw back in 1991, one of their first in an impressive group that includes Bandon Trails, Streamsong, Cliffside at Barton Creek and Ozarks National at Big Cedar Lodge. The Bay course was designed by Francis Duane and Arnold Palmer, with updates by Robin Nelson, Rodney Wright and Hale Irwin. Kapalua is a dream golf destination, with fantastic practice facilities (designed by Hale Irwin), one of the top-rated golf academies in the country, and first-class accommodations at the Ritz Carlton, Maui. And on top of all that, you’re in Hawaii—how can anything be better.

Tiger Update

In his first appearance since the accident last year, Tiger looked great at the PNC parent-child Championship in December. Given the severity of his injuries, there have been grave doubts that he would ever again compete at the highest levels of competition. But once again, Tiger continues to amaze us. With twelve-year old Charlie at his side, they finished runner up to John Daly and his son, John, Jr. Jack has always been the standard for Tiger in golf, but perhaps he can pull a page from Ben Hogan, who returned to win six times after sustaining massive injuries in a near-fatal car crash in 1949. Tiger will definitely be back in 2022, that’s for sure—the only question is when. The Masters perhaps?

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