Ahead of Tiger Woods’ induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame in Florida, Jim McCabe reflects on the legacy the 15-time Major champion and 82-time PGA Tour winner left on the sport during his record-breaking career.

Last update: 03/22/08 8:50 p.m.

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Ahead of Tiger Woods’ induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame, take a look back at some of the most memorable putts from his record-breaking PGA Tour career.

Ahead of Tiger Woods’ induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame, take a look back at some of the most memorable putts from his record-breaking PGA Tour career.

Ernie Els listened intently to a reporter’s pitch for an article. It was about competitive life on the PGA Tour for players who are 40 and since Tiger Woods was 39, guess who the question was turning to?

Els, then 45, smiled at that; he had gotten used to all the conversations that ended up going to Woods. But when the reporter suggested Woods v Els had been a fierce rivalry, the South African laughed.

Shaking his head, Els insisted, “He kicked my ass for over 15 years.”

The reporter attempted to show Els some love, only the four-time major winner continued to shake his head, then repeated, “for over 15 years.”

Ernie Els was a longtime rival to Woods during their glittering PGA Tour careers

Ernie Els was a longtime rival to Woods during their glittering PGA Tour careers

This spurred a deeper conversation about the quality of Woods’ career. Els agreed and he suggested you measure the numbers against the best in the game. For much of Woods’ prime, there were four players who arguably ranked closest, but were a notch below – Els, Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh and Retief Goosen.

During their career, these four pillars have combined for 15 major victories; Woods himself matched that number. The four combined for 105 PGA Tour wins, but it took 2,118 tournaments, a winning clip of .049. Woods, with 82 wins in just 368 starts, produced a .222 winning percentage.

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During their careers, these four have combined for just 41 weeks at world No. 1 – 32 for Singh and nine for Els. Woods was No. 1 for 683 weeks, which equates to 13 years and two months. Digest that for a moment, savor it, and then realize this: Woods didn’t just discriminate against Els; he kicked everyone’s ass.

“I don’t think there is a perfect athlete,” Olympic champion Jackie Joyner-Kersee once said. “But if I had to come close to picking someone who demonstrates all the traits…I’d say the perfect athlete would be Tiger Woods.”

Sky Sports Golf's Simon Holmes reflects on an impressive return to action for Tiger Woods at the PNC Championship and discusses whether a return to the PGA Tour is a possibility for the 15-time major champion in the future.

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Sky Sports Golf’s Simon Holmes reflects on an impressive return to action for Tiger Woods at the PNC Championship and discusses whether a return to the PGA Tour is a possibility for the 15-time major champion in the future.

Sky Sports Golf’s Simon Holmes reflects on an impressive return to action for Tiger Woods at the PNC Championship and discusses whether a return to the PGA Tour is a possibility for the 15-time major champion in the future.

When it was announced in the spring of 2020 that Woods had been elected to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, never was news greeted with such nonchalance. The man probably deserves his own stratosphere, he is quite incomparable.

Hell, he’d probably done enough to enter the Hall of Fame in just five seasons, 1999-2003, when he won 32 times in 101 starts. Never mind that he launched another five-year streak from 2005 to 2009, during which he won 31 of 75 tournaments. That’s without the fact that he’s been Jack Nicklaus Player of the Year 10 times, or led the money list 10 times, or been one of only five players to have won a career Grand Slam.

As Tiger Woods prepares to host the Genesis Invitational at the Riviera Country Club this week, we flash back to 1992 where 16-year-old Woods made his PGA Tour debut on the same course at the Los Angeles Open. .

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As Tiger Woods prepares to host the Genesis Invitational at the Riviera Country Club this week, we flash back to 1992 where 16-year-old Woods made his PGA Tour debut on the same course at the Los Angeles Open. .

As Tiger Woods prepares to host the Genesis Invitational at the Riviera Country Club this week, we flash back to 1992 where 16-year-old Woods made his PGA Tour debut on the same course at the Los Angeles Open. .

It’s as if Mark Calcavecchia made it that Sunday 2000 at the ‘Home of Golf’, St. Andrews, as he watched Woods pick up an eight-stroke victory in the Open Championship just a month after topping the field of 15 in the USA. Open.

“He is,” praised Calcavecchia, standing in the crisp summer air at The Old Course. “The chosen.”

Woods was just 24 at the time and halfway through a historic four-game winning streak. He had just entered his overwhelming dominance of the World Golf Championships, of which he won 18. He had yet to take possession of varied venues such as Bay Hill or Firestone or Torrey Pines.

But he had already proven that Phil Knight was a prophet. Just four years earlier, the man behind Nike had said in response to questions about why he would pay such an extravagant amount of money to Woods: “What Michael Jordan has done for basketball, ( Tiger Woods) absolutely can do it for golf. The world hasn’t seen anything like what he’s going to do for the sport.”

Longtime PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, who is also in this year’s Hall of Fame class, would tell you Knight’s words weren’t hyperbole. You want numbers, here are some numbers:

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In 1998, PGA Tour players competed for $96.4 million, up from $328 million in 2016. In 1995, only nine players won $1 million in prize money and No. 125 on the list of money totaled $149,280. Fast forward to 2021 and 124 players eclipsed that number while No. 125 earned $996,977.

If you don’t accept that Woods is largely responsible for these increases, well, you’re left alone.

Tiger Woods says he has

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Tiger Woods says he has “hope” for a return to competition, but admits he still has a long way to go on the road to recovery.

Tiger Woods says he has “hope” for a return to competition, but admits he still has a long way to go on the road to recovery.

“I idolized Arnold Palmer,” Finchem said. “And I respect what Jack (Nicklaus) has done. But Tiger Woods is the greatest and most dominant player. Beyond that, he’s lifted boats and brought in fans and he’s the athlete the most. most recognizable on the planet.”

It’s a pretty good boost for Hall of Fame credentials, in case you even need to back up the key victory numbers that highlight Woods’ resume. With 82 PGA Tour wins, he shares the career lead with Sam Snead, while his 15 majors mean he trails only Nicklaus in this category.

Woods took golf to a whole new level and now he will take his place among the greatest the game has ever known.

Watch the players throughout the week live on Sky Sports’ dedicated Players Championship channel. The World Golf Hall of Fame ceremony is live Wednesday from 11 p.m. on Sky Sports The Players.