I have a handful of readers who are all up in arms over the idea that, with just three more wins, Tiger Woods will catch Sam Snead for the all-time record for most career wins on tour. Snead has 82, and Woods begins play today in the Farmers Insurance Open with 79.
One woman who calls a lot about Tiger says that Woods just doesn’t deserve the record because of his poor behavior. And she’s quick to point out she doesn’t just mean the cheating on his wife. She means that Woods has just acted poorly on the golf course and treated a lot of people badly, even from the time he was a rookie.
Another man who emails just can’t understand how I don’t see his point about Snead having many of his “official” tour wins take away from him in the 1990s as the PGA Tour reviewed its records and re-evaluated some of those victories. The win just didn’t measure up to what qualified as an official win because the purses were too small or the fields were too limited or frankly the events just didn’t measure up to being a tour event. Things like team events or events that weren’t 72 holes. Snead lost more than half a dozen tournaments, and and the tour decided not to call his any of his 17 wins in the West Virgina Open official. Those events had never been considered official.
Return those six or seven wins and Snead would have closer to 90 wins. On the other hand, there are still some wins that Snead is credited with that don’t seem to measure up to PGA Tour standards, including a Bing Crosby Pro-Am in 1937 where he won with a 68 (yep, 18 holes only) and another Crosby in 1950 where four players were credited with the win by tying after three rounds at 214. Really?
And consider that Woods’ wins in the World Challenge that he hosted in Thousand Oaks (the event is moving to Florida this year) don’t count as official wins even though the event awards world ranking points. That’s five wins right there.
So the debate can go on, but officially Snead has 82 wins and Woods has 79 wins. And Woods is going for that 80th win at his favorite place to win a tournament Torrey Pines in San Diego this week.
And there is always Woods renewing his chase for Jack Nicklaus and his 18 career majors. Woods has 14 wins, and he’s on record as saying he is excited about the venues for the majors this year, including Pinehurst No. 2 for the U.S. Open.
Woods won five PGA Tour events last year, which would put him two wins past Snead’s record if he did the same this thing year. But he hasn’t won a major since the 2008 U.S. Open. So one of Woods’ goals is in reach this year, but the other may be years away, if he gets there at all.