Did You Know?

I am not a stats guy when it comes to golf. I rarely keep track of stats such as Driving Accuracy Percentage; Greens In Regulation; Sand Save Percentage; Scrambling Percentage From 10 to 20 Yards; Number of Putts; Putts Made Inside 10 Feet, etc. I guess I feel that looking at my golf numbers would be like looking at my bathroom scale – more depressing than enlightening.

And I have never been a trivia nut. I don’t mind knowing facts, but I do try to make a distinction between nice-to-know information versus good-to-know information.

However, if you love to watch and read about golf and golfers, then knowing some stats, numbers, years and facts should add to your appreciation of a game that has captured the imagination of millions of us for hundreds of years. That, and having a few at-the-ready tidbits of knowledge can often be handy at a cocktail party.

DID YOU KNOW? Not only did King James IV of Scotland (1473-1513) lift the ban on golf in 1502, but according to the records of the Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, he paid 14 shillings “for clubs from the bower at Saint Johnston.” This is the first recorded purchase of golf equipment in history. Now you know why James IV is Scotland’s greatest king and 1502 is the greatest year in golf!

DID YOU KNOW? The first American citizen to win the British Open was Jock Hutchison in 1921 on the Old Course. Hutchinson, who was born in St. Andrews in 1884, immigrated to the U.S. in the early 1900s and became a citizen in 1920. The following year, Walter Hagen became the first American-born golfer to win the British Open at Royal St George's Golf Club. Since Hutchison’s victory, 29 Americans have won the tournament a total of 44 times. The multiple American winners are Tom Watson with 5; Walter Hagen, 4; Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Wood, 3, and Lee Trevino, 2.

DID YOU KNOW? In 1945, Byron Nelson set the all-time record for Most Wins In One Season by winning 18 of 30 tournaments. His record-setting year included 11 straight victories and a win in the PGA, which was the only Major played that year. The other great seasons were:

Player - No. of Wins – Year - Majors Won

  • Ben Hogan - 13 – 1946 - PGA
  • Sam Snead - 11 - 1950
  • Ben Hogan - 10 – 1948 - U.S. Open , PGA
  • Tiger Woods- 9 - 2000 - U.S Open, PGA, British Open
  • Vijay Singh - 9 – 2004 - PGA
  • Paul Runyan - 9 - 1933

DID YOU KNOW? Nine-time Major winner Ben Hogan (1912 – 1997) had a stretch of playing in 16 U.S. Opens from 1940 to 1960 and never finished out of the Top 10. He won it four times – 1948, 1950, 1951 & 1953. The Open was cancelled in 1942, 1943 & 1945 due to WW II. He did not play in 1949 because of his automobile accident and in ’57 due to a shoulder injury. His other Major victories were: Masters1951 & 1953, British Open 1953 and PGA, 1946 & 1948.

DID YOU KNOW? Tiger Woods (Born 1975) went 142 consecutive PGA Tour events without missing a cut from 1998 to 2005, which broke Byron Nelson’s previous record of 113. Another amazing Tiger fact is that he has an 11-1 PGA Tour playoff record, which is the best winning percentage (91.7%) of any player with more than five playoff appearances. His only loss came in the 1998 Nissan Open when he lost to Billy Mayfair.

DID YOU KNOW? Since 1900, only five golfers have multiple wins in Majors after turning 40: Ben Hogan, 3 (1953 Master, 1953 U.S. Open & 1953 British Open); Jack Nicklaus, 3 (1980 U.S. Open, 1980 PGA & 1986 Masters); Julius Boros, 2 (1963 U.S. Open & 1968 PGA); Mark O'Meara, 2 (1998 Masters & 1998 British Open), and Harry Vardon, 2 (1911 British Open & 1914 British Open).

DID YOU KNOW? Ten men have 20 or more wins on the Champions Tour.

Player - Wins - Sr. Majors - Winning Span

  • Hale Irwin (b. 1945) - 45 - 7 - 1995 - 2007
  • Bernhard Langer (b. 1957) - 41 - 11 - 2007 – 2020
  • Lee Trevino (b. 1939) - 29 - 4 - 1990 - 2000
  • Bob Charles (b. 1936) - 25 - 2 - 1987 - 1996
  • Gil Morgan (b. 1946) - 25 - 3 - 1996 - 2007
  • Miller Barber (1931 – 2013) - 24 - 5 - 1981 - 1989
  • Don January (b. 1929) - 22 - 1 - 1980 - 1987
  • Gary Player (b. 1935) - 22 - 9 - 1985 - 1998
  • Chi Chi Rodriguez (b. 1935) - 22 - 2 - 1986 -1993
  • Jim Colbert (b. 1941) - 20 - 1 - 1991 - 2001
  • Bruce Crampton (b. 1935) - 20 - 0 - 1986 -1997

DID YOU KNOW? Only four left-handed golfers have won a Major. They are: New Zealander Sir Bob Charles, who won The (British) Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 1963; Canadian Mike Weir, winner of the 2003 Masters; Phil Mickelson with his five Majors (2004, ’06 & ‘10 Masters; 2005 PGA; 2013 (British) Open, and Bubba Watson, who won the 2012 and 2014 Masters. Six of the eight Major victories by left-handed golfers have come at the Masters.

DID YOU KNOW? Ten women have 41 or more career wins on the LPGA Tour. (Pay special attention to Patty Berg’s number of Majors won!) They are:

Player - Wins - Majors - Winning Span

  • Kathy Whitworth - 88 - 6 - 1962–1985
  • Mickey Wright - 82 - 13 - 1956 - 1973
  • Annika Sörenstam - 72 - 10 - 1995- 2008
  • Louise Suggs - 61 - 11 - 1946 - 1962
  • Patty Berg - 60 - 15 - 1937–1962
  • Betsy Rawls - 55 - 8 - 1951–1972
  • Nancy Lopez - 48 - 3 - 1978–1997
  • JoAnne Carner - 43 - 2 - 1969–1985
  • Sandra Haynie - 42 - 4 - 1962–1982
  • Babe Zaharias - 41 - 10 - 1940–1955
  • Karrie Webb - 41 - 7 - 1995–2014

DID YOU KNOW? The last three men to win a Major using a permission driver were: Tom Kite, 1992 US Open at Pebble; Nick Faldo, 1992 British Open at Muirfield and Bernhard Langer, 1993 Masters. Lee Trevino was the first man to win a Major (1984 PGA Championship at Shoal Creek) with a metal wood.

AND FINALLY, DID YOU KNOW? Five men have won both the NCAA individual title and the U.S. Amateur in the same year -- Jack Nicklaus (Ohio State, 1961); Phil Mickelson (Arizona State, 1990); Tiger Woods (Stanford, 1996); Ryan Moore (UNLV, 2004), and Bryson DeChambeau (SMU 2015).

Play Away!
Allan

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