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Tiger Is The All-TimeTiger King

Tiger Is The All-TimeTiger King

A recent accounting of the all-time winningest players at each tour event currently played suggests that Patrick Cantley would be the King of The Strip, earning a hair short of $3M coming into this year’s event.

In a nice bit of symmetry, the Las Vegas event 25 years ago was when Eldrick won his first event and kickstarted his ass-kicking on the PGA Tour.

Taking even a simple “man look” at this all-time event’s winnings list, a few things jump out…

  • Tiger Woods is The King. Full stop. All-time winnings leader at 11 events!
  • all-time winnings leader at the Masters and PGA Championship
  • Open Championship? Nope, that’s Ernie Els, Tiger’s old punching bag
  • US Open kudos? Brooks Koepka (thank you recent huge purse increases)

In another simplistic “hot take”, inspecting the all-time PGA Tour money list, Tiger is in top spot; a result less surprising than David Simms laying up on a par 5.

Upon further inspection of this list’s top 20 a few things become apparent:

  • it is good, err great, to be playing in the vapor trails of the Tiger Woods era
  • 14 players still active on Tour, will be jockeying for position in the future
  • only one player on the list joined the PGA Tour before 1990 (Davis Love III)
  • only seven are Champions Tour eligible, the eldest being Vijay at age 58

Even taking into account worldwide earnings and not just PGA Tour earnings, this list remains about as unchanged as Jim Furyk’s swing, with all the same caveats we note above.

Not surprising given the Stratosphere-ic (get it?) rise is purses since the mid-to-late 1990s through today. What is still hard to fathom is that when looking for the stars of their day, we see:

  • 70s greats -> Nicklaus (#314), Trevino (#395), Weiskopf (#446)
  • 80s/90s stalwarts -> Norman (#141), Azinger (#142), Olazabal (#167), Crenshaw (#270)

There has been attempts to try and normalize this all-time list

  • bring every player in PGA Tour history up to today’s standard
  • using inflation and other things we find hard to comprehend (see: math)
  • Tiger bumped to 2nd all-time, Jack taking over first with $216M in adjusted earnings
  • Some surprises here: Tom Kite (8th), Vijay (11th) and Phil (15th)
  • Otherwise, the top 20 becomes a who’s who of PGA Tour historical lore

Tiger is likely number one on just about any list (weird math or not), and even if you break it down by earnings per state. For Tiger, Vegas was always the start of something, some good (a maiden professional win) and other stuff, not so good. Just more living proof that what happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay there.