In the inaugural Zozo Championship in Chiba Prefecture, Japan, Tiger Woods tied Sam Snead for the most career PGA TOUR victories with 82.
On Sunday night in the states and Monday morning in Japan at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club, Woods added to his legacy as he stamped his name as the winner of the first event ever sanctioned by the PGA in Japan.
It isn’t often that we get to talk about the PGA this early in the season, but Tiger is one of those special athletes that can grab the world’s attention at a moment’s notice. Woods’ four-round total of -19 was good enough for a three-stroke win that was just *chef’s kiss* so Tiger.
Woods started the tournament with back-to-back -6 rounds, recorded a third-round -4 and then captured the win with a final-round -3. Woods led at the end of each round, making it a classic wire-to-wire win for Tiger.
What wasn’t classic, though, was how Woods started the tournament. He started on the back-nine and fired his first tee shot into the drink. He went on to bogey holes 10, 11 and 12. He recovered quickly, though, and birdied 14, 15 and 16, then recorded six more birdies through the final 10 holes. The rest of the tournament was a cake-walk for Woods, who only bogeyed five more times through the final 54 holes.
Nothing is scarier to other golfers than seeing Woods at the top of the leaderboard, especially during the final round. Woods went into the final round with a three-stroke lead over Japanese golfer Hideki Matsuyama. The win made Woods a perfect 24 for 24 with a three-stroke lead after 54 holes.
2019 U.S. Open winner Gary Woodland and fellow EA Sports cover athlete Rory McIlroy were also in the mix, finishing -12 and -13, respectively.
Woods rewriting the PGA record books is nothing new to golf fans. Tiger is the GOAT. However, there is one big record that he’s approaching that just may be his white whale.
With Woods’ 2019 Masters victory back in April, he became the second player to reach 15 victories in major championships. The first to do so was Jack Nicklaus, who ended his career with 18. Nicklaus has the same number of British Open wins as Woods (3) and one more Masters (6), U.S. Open (4) and PGA Championship (5) wins than Woods.
Chasing Jack is something that Woods will likely do for the rest of his career, and it’s probable that he will never catch The Golden Bear. But I would be remiss if I ever count Tiger out.
Before his 2019 Masters win, everybody thought his days of playing great golf were behind him. His last major victory was in 2008, before an infidelity scandal, four back surgeries and an arrest. The public perception of Woods was at an all-time low going into the 2018 PGA season.
After an impressive 2018 season where Woods found himself in contention in multiple majors and completed the season with a PGA Tour Championship win in the final event of the season, people began to believe again. In the second major of the 2019 PGA season, Woods captured that elusive 15th major he had been dreaming of for 11 years, completing the comeback.
So while it’s unlikely that Woods ever wins 18 majors like Nicklous, don’t you dare bet against him.
“It’s about consistency and doing it for a long period of time. … I’m very fortunate to have had the career I’ve had so far,” Woods said after his 82nd win.
Key words here: “So far.” I’m excited to see how many more wins he can pile on to the 82 we’ve been fortunate enough to watch from the GOAT.
Sean Janos is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets @seanjanos.