Tiger Woods: Ranking His 10 Greatest Tournament Wins

Alexander GrossContributor IIMarch 14, 2012

Tiger Woods: Ranking His 10 Greatest Tournament Wins

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    Before the knee surgeries and before the scandal, Tiger Woods was the most dominant golfer the world had ever seen, with a decade of supremacy unduplicated in the modern sports world.

    Now, he has a sprained achilles tendon and his status for the 2012 Masters is unsure, but it looks like he might be playing hurt.

    All I know is Tiger still makes the casual sports fan tune in to watch a round of golf. I hope his knee and mind are ready to make a serious fight for a fifth green jacket.

    He needs four more majors to tie Jack Nicklaus at 18. Let's take a look back at Woods' 10 greatest wins of all time.

1997 Masters Tournament

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    This started it all.

    The '97 Masters was his coming-out party—think Project X on steroids. He won by 12 strokes over Tom Kite, breaking a four-day tournament-low record with an -18 (270).

    Racially, this win was also significant. Tiger became the first non-white person to win at Augusta. 

    At that time, his 12-stroke victory was the largest a major championship was won by.

2001 Masters Tournament

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    Welcome to Tiger Slam.

    This was the second Masters victory for Tiger, winning by two strokes over David Duval.

    During the calendar year, Woods won the U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship, solidifying himself in golf lore forever with the legendary Bobby Jones. 

2002 Masters Tournament

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    Tiger Woods won his third Masters (and second consecutive) with a score of -12 (276).

    He was four strokes off the lead heading into Saturday, and ended Saturday tied for the lead with a six-under 66.

    For the first time since Nick Faldo in 1990, a defending Masters champion successfully defended his title. This was only the third time in Masters history that a player won back-to-back titles (Jack Nicklaus 1965-66, Faldo 1989-90).

    Woods set yet another Masters record for the best score by a golfer defending his championship.

2002 U.S. Open

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    The Open affirmed the rivalry, perhaps one-sided at the time, between Tiger Woods and perennial 2nd-place finisher Phil Mickelson. 

    This was Tiger's second U.S. Open victory and eighth major championship win of his career.

    He won the tournament by 3 shots over Lefty with a score of –3 (3 under par).

2005 Masters Tournament

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    Tiger Woods won his fourth Masters after a sensational playoff with Chris DiMarco. 

    Weather was an issue the entire week, with rain delaying much of the play.

    Woods struggled early shooting a two-over par in the first round, but he rebounded on day two with a six-under 66, placing himself in third place.

    What once defined Tiger was his ability to be the comeback kid. On Saturday, he roared into the lead with birdies on the first four holes, finishing with a 7-under 65.

    We were all on the edge of our couches Sunday, when it became a Wild West shootout between Woods and Chris DiMarco. On 16, Tiger chipped in a 20-footer that stayed on the lip of the hole for what seemed like minutes.

    In the end, it came down to a thrilling playoff and Tiger Woods would not be denied, as he birdied the first hole in sudden death and won his fourth Masters tournament.  

    Woods earned a cool $1.26 million and another championship trophy for his mantle.

2005 Open Championship

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    Tiger Woods stormed out to a one-shot lead over Mark Hensby after shooting a six-under 66. He then pulled away from Colin Montgomerie in the final round for a five-shot victory.

    Woods shot a 2-under 70, the only round under par among the final 14 players, and Montgomerie finished second in a major for the fifth time.

    Woods moved to 10-0 when leading going into the final round of a major, winning his second Open Championship title and second at St. Andrews.

2006 Open Championship

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    Nothing in life is more emotional than losing a loved one, especially a father that was so much more than that.

    Before Woods was Tiger, he was Eldrick, the son of a Special Forces Vietnam Veteran. Earl Woods taught his son how to play golf and gave him the mental tools necessary to stay focused during a four-round tournament.

    Tiger's colleagues always marveled at the hours he put in on the practice greens. This all came from the work ethic his father imparted to him at an early age. This was the first major tournament win since the death of Earl Woods. 

    A lot has changed since 2006. Then, Tiger embraced his long-time (now ex) Caddie, Stevie Williams, at the 18th hole. Today, their relationship is rockier than the Appalachian Trail—venomous and contentious. 

    Tiger Woods held off the usual suspects of Chris DiMarco, Ernie Els, Jim Furyk, and Sergio Garcia for a two-shot victory. The win was his second consecutive Open Championship title and third overall. 

    Woods became the first player since Tom Watson in 1982-83 to win golf's oldest championship in consecutive years. Woods improved his perfect record in majors to 11-0 when entering the final round with the lead.

2006 PGA Championship

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    The PGA Championship returned to Medinah for the first time since 1999, when Tiger Woods captured his first PGA Championship.

    At the longest course in major championship history, Tiger Woods tapped in for par to cap a five-shot victory over 2003 PGA Championship winner Shaun Micheel.

    Tiger finished the first round at 69, three shots off the pace. Defending champion Phil Mickelson also shot 69.

    By day three, Woods matched the course record with a 7-under 65, giving him a share of the lead with Luke Donald.

    Tiger Woods tied his own record for the aggregate low score in PGA Championship history with a -18 four-round total. He also became the first player ever to win the PGA twice on the same course, and the first in the era of the modern Grand Slam to win two major championships in each of two successive years.

2007 PGA Championship

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    This was the getting-the-monkey-off-his-back tournament win for Tiger Woods.

    Southern Hills Country Club had not been a strong course for him in the past. The tournament was marred with a heatwave, as course temperatures reached 101° and 102°.

    Tiger began by shooting a 71 (+1), but he flipped the script during the second round by tying the record for the lowest single-round score at a major championship.

    In the final round of the tournament, he led by as many as five strokes, but bogeyed 14. He fought back with a birdie on the 15th hole, and then parred in to claim the championship.

2008 U.S. Open Championship

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    Tiger Woods played hurt, winning the championship on essentially one good leg. He beat Rocco Mediate on the first hole of sudden-death, following an 18-hole playoff. This vaulted Tiger to Nicklaus status, as both men won each of the majors at least three times.

    It was an against-all-odds victory for Woods, who entered the tournament with less practice than he would have liked. Two days after the championship, Woods revealed that he would miss the remainder of the 2008 season after undergoing knee surgery.

    This was his last major victory. To be continued...

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