So often throughout his life, Tiger Woods has achieved the unprecedented. So, it's poetic injustice now that he is the victim of this unprecedented time in our lives, not only from defending his title at the Masters when it was scheduled, but also as it concerns establishing the record for most career PGA TOUR victories.
Of course, we're all victims of the pandemic, so our collective interest in what was going to occur at Augusta National Golf Club this week slots somewhere between typically turnt and uncomfortably numb. The 84th edition of the Masters was postponed until November 12-15 and Woods' hunt for win No. 83 purrs in idle.
Whether Woods was going to sit No. 1 in my Power Rankings, appear somewhere else on the page or omitted from it until landing in the Tuesday's Fantasy Insider – currently on ice until the TOUR resumes competition – he'll be a fixture on the all-time Power Rankings for the Masters throughout the lifetimes of everyone reading this page, and for generations to come.
The Masters debuted in 1934. Except for the inaugural in late March, every edition has concluded during the month of April. (It was not contested from 1943-45 due to World War II.) The 36-hole cut was introduced in 1957. What makes the Masters unique among the majors, of course, is that only Augusta National has hosted throughout its history. As a result, this all-time Power Rankings is as pure as the backdrop is unparalleled.
ALL-TIME POWER RANKINGS: MASTERS
20. Cary Middlecoff
Edges Gene Sarazen, he of the albatross on the par-5 15th hole en route to the 1935 victory but only four top 10s. Middlecoff's seven top 10s includes the 1955 title, two seconds and a third.
19. Bubba Watson
The first multiple champion listed here is the most recent (2012, 2014). He has only one other top 10 (T5, 2018), but he's a career 10-for-11 with five top 20s.
18. Horton Smith
The inaugural champion was the first to bag a second win (in 1936), and although he played in 27 consecutive editions (through 1963), he added only one more top 10 (fifth, 1942).
17. Fred Couples
The 1992 champ has recorded multiple top 20s in each of the last four decades. Overall, he's 30-for-34 with five top fives among 11 top 10s and 19 top 20s.
16. Raymond Floyd
After capturing his lone title in 1976, he finished second three times. Among 27 cuts made in 45 appearances, he totaled 11 top 10s and another 11 top 25s. T25 at age 53 in 1996.
15. José Maria Olazábal
The Spaniard has two victories, one second, a T3 and a fourth-place finish. Overall, he's 18-for-30 with eight top 10s and another five top 25s.
14. Bernhard Langer
Two wins (1985, 1993) among just three top fives but nine top 10s. Twenty-nine years separate his first and most recent top 10s (1985; T8=2014). Finished T24 as a 58-year-old in 2016.
13. Seve Ballesteros
Seven of his eight top 10s were top-five finishes, including victories in 1980 and 1983. Compressed all 13 of his top 20s into a 17-year window ending with a T18 in 1994.
12. Ben Crenshaw
In addition to two wins, he has two each of second-, third- and fourth-place finishes among 11 top 10s. Of 17 with multiple victories, owns the record for most starts (23) before his second.
11. Nick Faldo
All three of his top 10s among 16 cuts made in 23 appearances were victories. With Nicklaus (1965, 1966) and Woods (2001, 2002), one of just three to win in consecutive years (1989, 1990).
10. Jimmy Demaret
Three-time champion and only to have won before and after World War II. Also finished third at age 46 in 1957 and T5 at age 51 in 1962. Totaled eight top 10s among 20 cuts made.
9. Byron Nelson
Both of his wins occurred before the break for World War II, but he connected 12 consecutive top 10s (including two seconds and a third) from 1937-1951. Placed T15 as 53-year-old in 1965.
8. Tom Watson
From 1975-1995, he went 21-for-21 with two wins, three seconds and a T3, a T4, a T5, a T6 and two T7s. Added a solo fourth at age 47 in 1997 and a T18 as a 60-year-old in 2010.
7. Ben Hogan
Twice a champion (1951, 1953) and four times the runner-up. Missed only one cut in 25 appearances and posted 17 top 10s, including in his last (T10) as a 54-year-old in 1967.
6. Sam Snead
Prevailed three times, finished second twice and third thrice. Overall, went 31-for-44 with 15 top 10s, the last as a 54-year-old in 1967 (T10). Placed T20 for his last cut made at age 61 in 1974.
5. Gary Player
Record 52 appearances include three wins (1961, 1974, 1978), a P2, a T2, a solo third and another nine top 10s. His first (T24) and last (46th) cuts made (of 30) occurred 41 years apart (1957-1998).
4. Arnold Palmer
Posted all 19 of his top 25s in his first 26 (of 50) appearances, including victories in four straight even-numbered years through 1964. Also placed second twice, third once and fourth twice.
3. Phil Mickelson
Of the eight with at least three titles, he made the most starts (11) before the first win. Overall, he's 24-for-27 with a T2, five thirds and two fifth-place finishes among 15 top 10s.
2. Tiger Woods
Youngest champion (21) with the largest margin of victory (12 strokes) in 1997. Compared to Nicklaus, Woods has one less win, three fewer top fives, eight fewer top 10s and 11 fewer top 25s.
1. Jack Nicklaus
GOAT. No one has as many as his six victories, 15 top fives, 22 top 10s and 29 top 25s. His first (1960) and last (1998) top 15s span a record 38 years. Finished T6 at age 58 in 1998.