A spin through the record book
Some – but not all – of the PGA TOUR records seem impossible to break
July 03, 2018
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Snead’s legacy lives on
Records are meant to be broken, right? That may not always be the case. Some PGA TOUR records seem fairly safe, no matter how good technology and the depth of fields get.
As the TOUR heads this week to A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier, it’s fitting that we lead off with some of the incredible marks set by Sam Snead, the resort’s first Golf Pro Emeritus. Snead continues to hold a few records that were thought at a time to be unbeatable but that are now slowly coming under threat.
His 82 wins on the PGA TOUR remains the benchmark, but of course Tiger Woods – who has been sitting on 79 for five years – is inching closer to adding to his total.
While Woods may yet put his name at the top of that list, does anyone think Snead will lose the title of oldest man to win on the PGA TOUR?
He was a spritely 52 years, 10 months and eight days old when he took out the 1965 Greater Greensboro Open, now known as the Wyndham Classic.
Davis Love III went close a few years ago at the 2015 Wyndham, winning at 51 years, four months and 10 days.
Can an old guy well past the age of PGA TOUR Champions eligibility beat the youth brigade that now drives the TOUR?
“That will get beaten for sure. Definitely,” former U.S. Open winner Geoff Ogilvy says. “Phil Mickelson could do that. Steve Stricker could do it soon. Jerry Kelly is good enough still. And then if he stays healthy Tiger – nothing can be put past him.”
But Ogilvy, and multiple others surveyed, say one Snead record will always stand the test of time.
Snead was 67 years, two months and 21 days old when he made the cut at the 1979 Manufacturers Hanover Westchester Classic.
It stands as the oldest player to make it to the weekend on the PGA TOUR.
“That will never get broken because no one is playing on TOUR at 67 now,” Ogilvy says. “If Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson or someone like that are still swinging and they let them in an event, who knows -- but it seems extremely unlikely.”
On the other side of the coin, the youngest to make the cut is Guan Tianlang, who was 14 years, five months and 17 days at the 2013 Masters.
And say what you like about the strength of fields in 1945, but for Byron Nelson to win 11 straight tournaments is insane. For Tiger Woods to get as close as seven in the modern era is downright scary.
“No one will touch 11 in a row,” Woods says. “There might have been a few guys missing at some of those tournaments, but his scoring average was 67 and change. He didn’t back door those wins. That’s incredible.”
Nelson won a total of 18 tournaments that season – also a record that won’t be touched.
If Nelson’s records are some that almost certainly will never be broken, are there also others? Here is a look at some that will take some beating and some that are in the sights of a few.
ALL-TIME WINSWhen it comes to wins, Sam Snead set the bar with 82 PGA TOUR victories from 1936 to 1965. (J.D. Cuban/Getty Images)
Sam Snead sits at the top of the tree with a near unfathomable 82 PGA TOUR wins. Spanning from his 1936 win at the West Virginia Closed Pro to his 1965 Greater Greensboro Open Snead was the man. His best season was 1950 where he notched up 11 titles.
The great Jack Nicklaus managed to get 73 TOUR wins. Ben Hogan had 64. Arnold Palmer 62. But then there is Tiger Woods who has sat on 79 TOUR wins since 2013. Now healthy again Woods needs just three wins to tie and four to take over. Woods is also second on the all-time Major championship wins list with 14 to Nicklaus’ 18.
“I can’t even comprehend 82 wins,” eight-time PGA TOUR winner Ogilvy says. “That’s eight a year for 10 years or 4 a year for 20 years. It boggles the mind. I don’t know if there is a parallel in any other sport. It’s basically twice as good as almost everyone else. 82 wins is outrageous. There are some unbelievable careers that have won just 10 or 12.
“Fred Couples won 15 tournaments, how good a player was he? Davis Love III won 21 tournaments, Greg Norman won 20 tournaments … that’s over 60 more than those three guys ... come on, it’s not that easy.”
If the record is to fall, it appears Woods is the only hope. As good as the young stars are in today’s game, the fact is fields are getting deeper and deeper and consistency of dominance will only be harder.
“I think I am going to do it,” Woods says. “If I am going to get to 18 majors, then 82 wins is going to come first. To go down as the all-time win leader – something Sam kept doing into his 50s so that gives me another 10 years – that would be incredible.”
YOUNGEST WINNER (Since 1900)
It has come to light in recent times that Charles Kocsis won the 1931 Michigan Open at the tender age of 18 years, 6 months and 9 days old.
He is one of five players to win on TOUR in his teens, joined by Harry Cooper (1923 Galveston Open – 19 years, 4 days), Ralph Guldahl (1931 Santa Monica Open – 19 years, 2 months, 3 days), Johnny McDermott (1911 U.S. Open – 19 years, 10 months, 14 days) and Jordan Spieth, who won the 2013 John Deere Classic at 19 years, 11 months and 18 days of age.
The talent on the PGA TOUR is no doubt getting younger and younger, but will someone breakthrough in the first half of their 18th year or before?
“It won’t be easy, but I think you will see a lot of young talent so it can happen. This is a record that might be broken,” says Rickie Fowler, who was a young star but didn’t play his first TOUR event until he was 19. “It is tough with how deep the fields are and the competition is getting harder and harder … but it is possible.”
AMATEUR WINNERS ON TOURPhil Mickelson in 1991 during the Walker Cup. (David Cannon/Getty Images)
Since 1957, just two players have won a PGA TOUR event while still an amateur. Scott Verplank won the 1985 Western Open and Phil Mickelson won the 1991 Northern Telecom Open.
So are the amateur days over or will the resurgence of young talent ensure this record falls?
“The young guys on TOUR now are going to break new ground as they were motivated by Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson – they thought it was OK to play golf and still be cool,” Verplank says.
“I went and watched the NCAA tournament recently and I feel like the guys in their late 20s and early 30s better get on the ball now because there is an even bigger and possibly better group coming. It’s exciting.”
One of those young stars who had an impressive amateur career and is now professional is Beau Hossler. He has seen the young talent behind him first-hand.
“It will be done again,” Hossler says of an amateur winner. “There are two things. The level of play in amateur golf is really high now but number two, these tournaments are starting to give more exemptions to amateurs, so they have the opportunity to play.
“That doesn’t mean they are going to win but if you can get comfortable out here, it is possible. The level of play in amateur and collegiate level golf right now is great. Guys coming out in their first years are having good success and it is not like they are getting exponentially better at golf -- they are just getting comfortable being out here.
“When you watch other guys your age having success, it gives you confidence that you can do the same. I expect big things are possible from guys near the end of their amateur careers.”
ALL-TIME CUT STREAKTiger Woods in 2005, the year his made-cuts streak ended. (Steve Grayson/Getty Images)
Tiger Woods made an unfathomable 142 straight cuts on the PGA TOUR from the Farmers Insurance Open in February of 1998 to the Wells Fargo Championship in May of 2005. (He missed the cut at 2005 AT&T Byron Nelson).
The next best is Byron Nelson at 113. Jack Nicklaus’ best was 105.
Current players haven’t come close.
Phil Mickelson has missed at least one cut in all 27 seasons as a professional on the PGA TOUR.
Dustin Johnson leads the current streak on TOUR … at 20.
Adam Scott was a model of consistency from 2012 to 2015 and reached just 46.
You can safely say they’ll be bringing up this record 100 years from now.
“It speaks to consistency. Having tough conditions and still making it. Having bad days and still making it. Not feeling good, still doing it. Those were all things I was very proud of,” Woods says of the incredible run.
“It was seven-plus years and that was just here on the TOUR – globally I didn’t miss any during that time either so I am very proud of that.”
CONSECUTIVE ROUNDS OF PAR OR BETTERTiger Woods in 2000, the year his streak of consecutive round of par or better began. (David Cannon/Getty Images)
For 52 straight rounds on TOUR, Tiger Woods shot par or better to set a record that will likely never be touched.
From the third round of the 2000 AT&T Byron Nelson to the first round of the 2001 Waste Management Phoenix Open, Woods was incredible. He won seven times in that span and had a scoring average of 67.65.
“That won’t be broken,” Fowler says. “Weekends play harder. It is rare that the average score for the field be much under par, so you are always playing better than the field average, which sounds easy but it is not.
“There is going to be a major in there and they are even more of a fine line. There had to be some balls in water and OB at some point. I don’t see myself doing it and I don’t see anyone else doing it.”
Woods knows it was a rare stretch.
“That was a hard one. That is right up there because these golf courses are set up to be challenged and not to shoot par or better,” he says. “What it boils down to is heart, fight and a good short game.”
CONSECUTIVE SEASONS WITH A WINJack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer at the 2013 Insperity Invitational. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
This record is shared by two of the games greats.
Both Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer went 17 consecutive seasons with at least one win.
Nicklaus managed the feat from 1962-78 after Palmer had set the mark from 1955-71.
Will someone break it? Current world No.1 Dustin Johnson is now at 11 seasons and counting.
“Winning every year out here on TOUR so far is big for me. I'm very proud of being able to do that,” Johnson said after winning the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this season.
“It's not easy to win out here. Any given week anybody in the tournament can win it. It's not like a lot of these other sports where the No. 125 guy is not ever going to beat the No. 1 guy. In golf, it doesn't matter, anybody can win in any week. It's very hard.”
FEWEST PUTTS IN A TOURNAMENTDavid Frost at the 2013 SAS Championship on PGA TOUR Champions. (Michael Cohen/Getty Images)
South African David Frost needed just 92 putts during the 2005 RBC Heritage at Hilton Head. It stands as the TOUR’s four-round record and hasn’t really been threatened.
But don’t be fooled into thinking that meant he played well. Frost finished in a tie for 38th that week, 13 shots behind Australian winner Peter Lonard.
“If there is a place to do that, it is definitely Hilton Head because it has small greens and if you don’t hit that many greens but miss them by just a little bit, you can chip up to very close all day,” says Aaron Baddeley, who finished inside the top-10 on TOUR for Strokes Gained: Putting from 2012-16.
“But still, you got to make some putts and you can’t miss any short or mid-range ones, so it is pretty impressive. At some point someone will beat that one. Someone with a great short game and an off ball-hitting day will set a mark that will be tough to beat.”
Frost says his record was most remarkable as his clubs had been stolen in South Africa just prior to the tournament and he played with a new bag and a putter he picked up off the practice green that Wednesday.
“The record has been standing for a long time. It’s an average 23 putts per round, so it will be tough to beat,” Frost says. The record, incidentally, for putts in one round on TOUR is 18, shared by seven players.
ACCURACYCalvin Peete was one of the most accurate players off the tee in PGA TOUR history. (J.D. Cuban/Getty Images)
Hitting every single fairway in a four-round tournament has happened four times on TOUR. At 56 of 56 fairways, it is a record that can never be beaten, only matched.
Perhaps most remarkably Calvin Peete did it twice. At the same tournament. In back-to-back years.
Peete was as straight as they come and was the first player to set the perfection mark at the 1986 Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide. He then did it again in 1987.
“His accuracy was the stuff of legend,” Woods says. “He went 2-1/2 years at Memorial without missing a fairway … no one will ever match that. No one. He hit it so straight. We don’t play that type of game anymore.”
Unfortunately for Peete, he was only able to muster a T57 and T46 result out of those efforts.
The other two players to do it?
David Frost pops up again from his efforts at the 1988 Northern Telecom Tucson Open and Brian Claar at the 1992 Memorial. Frost won the event. Claar was T26.
“The important thing is not to think of it,” Frost says. “People tend to remind you of your position -- even after three rounds, someone might make you aware of what you are doing. The big thing is just to act stupid like it’s not happening and just trust what you are doing.
“I can assure you the people who have done it don’t really think of the situation they’re in while it is happening. You need to try stay out of your way.”
As for greens in regulation, the record is 69 of 72 greens for a four-round event. The record belongs to Peter Jacobson (1995 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am) and Jerry Kelly (1996 Walt Disney World Oldsmobile Classic).
LOWEST ROUNDJim Furyk holds his scorecard after shooting 58 at the 2016 Travelers Championship. (Michael Cohen/Getty Images)
We have long been somewhat obsessed with the sub-60 round in golf, but of course Jim Furyk set a new bar that will take some beating. His round of 58 at the Travelers Championship in 2016 might be matched … but broken?
Incredibly Furyk is one of just eight players to have also shot 59 on the TOUR, having done that in 2013.
“Having that experience in the past… was comforting for me,” he said after his historic round. “You don't wake up on Sunday morning with an 8:41 tee time thinking that anything exciting is going to happen.
“To get out there and make a bunch of birdies and get the juices flowing and feel like I was in the hunt in a golf tournament was kind of cool.”
LOWEST 9 HOLESBilly Mayfair at the 2001 Buick Open. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
While Corey Pavin holds the record at 26 from the 2006 U.S. Bank Championship, it was 8-under on a par of 34. The lowest score to par is 9-under 27, set by five different players:
Billy Mayfair at Warwick Hills in the 2001 Buick Open (Rd. 4, back nine).
Robert Gamez at Indian Wells in the 2004 CareerBuilder Challenge (Rd. 3, front nine).
Brandt Snedeker at Torrey Pines (North) in the 2007 Farmers Insurance Open (Rd. 1, back nine).
Chris Riley at Montreux in the 2009 Barracuda Championship (Rd. 2, front nine – prior to tournament using Stableford system).
Ryan Palmer at PGA West Nicklaus Private in the 2015 CareerBuilder Challenge (Rd. 2, back nine).
“I holed a wedge on one hole, made two eagles, and kept hitting it close,” Palmer recalls. “It is one of those moments you will never experience again. Unfortunately it didn’t get better after that but for nine holes it was surreal.
“It was out of body at times because anything I hit went in the hole it seemed like. I just couldn’t miss.”
CONSECUTIVE BIRDIES TO WINKevin Streelman hits a tee shot at the 2014 Travelers Championship. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Kevin Streelman started the final round of the 2014 Travelers Championship four shots back and bogeyed two of his opened seven holes on Sunday.
His chances looked dead.
But he birdied eight of his last 10, including the last seven straight holes to set a record of most consecutive birdies to win a TOUR event.
“I had missed four cuts in a row and felt like I couldn’t hit a green from 130 yards, so just making the cut felt great,” Streelman recalls.
“I didn’t realize at the time they were all in a row. I almost went back to mini-tour days where you have to birdie as many as possible to keep up with the crowd. It was just a treat, a special day and will likely go down as my best professional accomplishment.
“I’ll never forget it. I don’t think anyone will ever beat it and I don’t mean that in an arrogant way. That course is special as there are some getable holes but most courses we play now par is an incredible score, especially to Sunday pins.”
CONSECUTIVE BIRDIESMark Calcavecchia hits a tee shot during the 2009 RBC Canadian Open. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
At the 2009 RBC Canadian Open, Mark Calcavecchia opened with a 1-under 71 that had him sitting T-69. As such he wanted to make a move Friday.
A move he did make – and how.
Starting on the 10th hole at Glen Abbey Golf Club, Calcavecchia birdied the 12th, and then added eight more consecutive birdies to set a new mark of nine in a row.
“It was exciting. I mean it was a lot of fun. It was just fun to hit good shots every hole,” he said at the time. “You don't pay attention to how many under you are. You just need to keep the pedal down, and I've been able to do that at times during my career where I can shoot some low scores.”
Calcavecchia also holds a share of the record for most birdies in a four-round tournament with 32. He did so at the 2001 Waste Management Phoenix Open that he won. Paul Gow matched his number at the 2001 B.C. Open that he lost in a playoff.
WINS AT ONE COURSETiger Woods laughs with Arnold Palmer after Woods won at Bay Hill in 2013. (David Cannon/Getty Images)
Tiger Woods holds this record with eight wins at one course – at three different locations
Woods has eight wins at Torrey Pines at Firestone Country Club and at Bay Hill Club and Lodge.
When asked if that record would ever be broken, Woods had a quick-witted response.
“It can be beaten. Hopefully in about a month,” he smiled referencing the upcoming World Golf Championship–Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone.
Woods is yet to qualify for the field but can do so if he gets inside the world top 50 after the Open Championship. (He’s currently ranked 67th). It will be his last chance to win there as the tournament is moving in 2019.
But Torrey Pines and Bay Hill continue to be regular TOUR stops
“To do eight three times, I am very proud of that,” Woods adds. “It will be a tough one (for others) to beat. But I’d like to be the one to beat it and extend it. Hopefully I can get a chance in about a month.”
For the record Woods also holds the record of eight wins at one event with the WGC-Bridgestone and Arnold Palmer Invitational wins. He won the Farmers seven times and added the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.
Joining him with eight wins in one event is Sam Snead, who won the Greater Greensboro Open, now the Wyndham Championship, eight times over two courses. He won four at Starmount Forest Country Club and four at Sedgefield Country Club.
TWO HOLES-IN-ONE, SAME ROUNDBrian Harman made two aces in the final round of the 2015 NORTHERN TRUST. (Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
Impossible, right? Actually, it’s happened three times, the last by Brian Harman at the 2015 NORTHERN TRUST during the FedExCup Playoffs.
In the final round, Harman aced the par-3 3rd at Plainfield Country Club from 183 yards with a 7-iron and then repeated the dose at the par-3 14th from 218 yards with a 4-iron.
“That was pretty wild,” Harman said after his round. “First one, I looked at my caddie, I said, That's my first one out there. He's like, Well, they come in bunches. I was like, Yeah, whatever.”
“I'll remember this day for sure.”
Yusaku Miyazato did the same thing in the 2006 Barracuda Championship at Montreux on No. 7 (230 yards, 4-iron) and No. 12 (173 yards, 7-iron) in the second round. Bill Whedon initially set the mark in the 1955 Insurance City Open at Wethersfield Country Club on No. 5 (168 yards, 5-iron) and No. 9 (206 yards, 3-iron) in the first round.
What about a hole-in-one on a par 4? There are a few drivable ones on the TOUR these days, but it’s only been done once.
Andrew Magee hit driver on the 332-yard 17th at TPC Scottsdale in the first round of the 2001 Waste Management Phoenix Open and watched it disappear in the hole -- but not without drama. The previous group was still on the green and the ball actually ricocheted off Tom Byrum’s putter and into the hole.
“I was waiting to see if it was legal,” Magee said. “The stars were lined up perfectly for me at the time. It was just kind of a magical thing.”