Magician at Muirfield: Putting Woods' Memorial dominance in perspectiveWoods has won five times at Memorial, including three in a row
July 14, 2020
By Justin Ray, 15th Club for PGA TOUR
- July 14, 2020
Tiger Woods' all-time shots at Muirfield Village
A player has to reach a certain level of greatness for us to even entertain the question.
“At which venue was he or she most dominant?”
Some players compile resumes on certain courses that overshadow most players’ careers.
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Tiger Woods, of course, has done it at several places. Muirfield Village, site of this week’s Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, is one of them.
Woods has won seven different PGA TOUR events five times or more. Jack Nicklaus is tied for second on that list, having won three different PGA TOUR events at least five times.
MOST TOURNAMENTS WON FIVE OR MORE TIMES Player Events won 5+ times Tiger Woods 7 Jack Nicklaus 3 Sam Snead 3 Walter Hagen 2
Woods’ happy hunting grounds throughout his career are plentiful: he’s won PGA TOUR titles by seven strokes or more in five different states and three different countries. Ohio is one of three states in which Woods has more than a dozen PGA TOUR victories. With a win this week, Woods would join Sam Snead as the only player to win the same PGA TOUR event in four different decades (1990s, 2000s, 2010s and 2020s. Snead did it at the Wyndham Championship (then known as the Greater Greensboro Open).
But is Muirfield Village Woods’ most dominant venue? His five victories at the Memorial Tournament are the most all-time, but that’s a distinction Woods carries at tournaments all over the TOUR schedule.
15th Club looked at the six courses where Woods has played 45 or more PGA TOUR rounds since his first full season (1997). We did our best to rank, statistically, Woods’ most dominant venues in his unprecedented career.
LARGEST COMBINED WINNING MARGIN AT SAME VENUE IN 3 STRAIGHT YEARS Name Event Wins Combined margin Tiger Woods Arnold Palmer Invitational 2001-03 16 strokes Johnny Miller Tucson Open 1974-76 15 Tiger Woods Memorial Tournament 1999-01 14 Jack Nicklaus Walt Disney World Classic 1971-73 13 Tiger Woods WGC-Bridgestone 1999-01 12 Tiger Woods Farmers Insurance Open 2006-08 10
6. Muirfield Village GC
Record Since 1997: 5 wins in 17 starts (most wins in tournament history)
Woods owns the only ‘three-peat’ in Memorial Tournament history, winning in 1999, 2000 and 2001. He won those three by a combined 14 strokes. Only twice since 1970 has a player won the same event three consecutive years by a greater combined margin. Johnny Miller won the Tucson Open from 1974-76 by a combined 15 strokes. Woods won the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard in 2001-03 by 16 shots.
Woods was a combined 51 under par at Muirfield Village from 1999-2001. That was 27 strokes better than any other player (Paul Azinger was second at -24). Despite finishing in the top-10 just twice in the last 10 years, Woods ranks second in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green per round in this tournament in that stretch. On a course that tests a player’s iron play as thoroughly as Muirfield Village, it’s fitting that one of the best approach players in history has had remarkable success.
5. Cog Hill G&CC
Record Since 1997: 5 wins in 12 starts, +3.31 Strokes Gained per round
This Chicago-area gem last hosted the BMW Championship in 2011, but from 1997 to 2009 Woods picked off five victories here. His career Strokes Gained per round at this course is a staggering 3.31, nearly a half-stroke better than any of the other five venues in this exercise. All five of Woods’ wins at Cog Hill were by multiple strokes, and he shot a course-record 62 here in 2009 en route to an eight-stroke victory.
4. Augusta National GC
Record Since 1997: 5 wins in 20 starts, all-time scoring average leader (min. 25 rounds)
The site of an historic 12-stroke victory in 1997, Woods’ brilliance at Augusta National has stretched for nearly a quarter century. He has the best scoring average in tournament history among players with at least 25 rounds. Only Ben Hogan and Jordan Spieth have averaged more Strokes Gained per round at Augusta National than Woods. And since 1997, Woods’ combined score to par of 112 under par is 46 strokes better than any other player. That 81st career PGA TOUR title there last season was pretty good, too.
3. Firestone GC
Record Since 1997: 8 wins in 15 starts, 4 wins by 4 strokes or more
From 1999 through 2009, Woods was incomprehensibly good at Firestone. During that span, he led following 40% of the rounds he played. He had more wins in that stretch (seven) than rounds spent outside the top 10 (two). Three of his eight victories at Firestone were by seven strokes or more. No one else won that tournament more than once since 1999.
2. Bay Hill Club & Lodge
Record Since 1997: 8 wins in 17 starts, led after 32% of career rounds played
Woods was perfect at Bay Hill from 2000 through 2003, winning The King’s event four consecutive years. In doing so, he became the first player to win any PGA TOUR event four years in a row since Gene Sarazen won his fourth Miami Open in a row in 1930. Woods was 121 under par in the Arnold Palmer Invitational from 1997 to 2013, an insane 72 shots better than anybody else in that span.
1. Torrey Pines (South)
Record Since 1997: 8 wins in 15 starts, 2.86 strokes gained total per round
Several courses can vie for the title, but perhaps no single venue will be most tied with Woods’ PGA TOUR success than Torrey Pines. He’s won two different golf tournaments here – seven Farmers Insurance Opens, and of course, the 2008 U.S. Open. Woods was an inconceivable 173 under par at the Farmers from 1998 through 2013, 80 strokes better than the next-best player in that 16-year stretch. Over the last three decades, Woods leads all players in the event in scoring, birdie average, rounds led and rounds of 66 or lower.
Expect anything different?