Sports Outside the Beltway

Two degrees of Tiger Woods separation

The PGA Championship finishes today in Tulsa Oklahoma. Guess who is leading?

TULSA, Okla. – Tiger Woods saved his best golf for the last major. Woods followed his record-tying 63 at Southern Hills with a round that wasn’t anything special Saturday, but no less effective at the PGA Championship. He made 15 pars in his 1-under 69, giving him a three-shot lead over Stephen Ames going into the final round.

It felt much larger considering the history of the world’s No. 1 player.

Woods is 12-0 when going into the final round of major with at least a share of the lead, and he has never lost any tournament when leading by more than one shot after 54 holes.


Woods finished at 7-under 203 and will play in the final round of a major for the third time this year. He was trailing at the Masters and U.S. Open and never caught up, but the odds are much higher in his favor of capturing his first major of the year.

Ames made a 12-foot birdie on the final hole for a 69 that put him in the final group of a major for the first time. Just his luck he gets Woods, spotting the 12-time major champion a three-shot lead.


Only five players remained under par at Southern Hills.

Woody Austin lost his chance to be in the final group when he took bogey on the final hole for a 69, leaving him at 207. Johnson Senden had a 69 and was another shot back, followed by Els.

Verplank held his own until a double bogey from the rough and trees on the signature 12th hole, and a three-putt from the back of the 18th green for bogey sent him to a 74.

Anyone want to bet against Tiger winning today? I don’t think there is a sucker out there to take me up, but feel free to leave a note if you are. Even money odds, Ok?

I was thinking about Tiger and Southern Hills yesterday. There is a golf saying, ‘Horses for certain courses’. This can be easily done with PGA tour stops that play the same course year in and year out, but the PGA is a major that changes courses every year. The last PGA at Southern Hills was in 1994, and the last major(The US Open) held at the course was in 2001.

Don’t worry, I still have come up with a formula or comparison. Consider it golf’s version of that Kevin Bacon game.

Tiger has won majors at Augusta National, Pebble Beach, Bethpage Black, Medinah, Vahalla, Hoylake and St. Andrews. Forget Hoylake and St. Andrews, only one former British Open Champ, 1994 winner Nick Price, has also won at Southern Hills.(Nick does co-hold the course record for Augusta, a 3rd round 63 in 1986)

For our little game remember these names- Hubert Green, Dave Stockton, Arnold Palmer, Lou Graham, Ray Floyd, Lanny Wadkins, Retief Goosen, Mark Brooks, Phil Mickelson, Gary Player and Corey Pavin.

First, the only person to have win at Augusta and at Southern Hills, is Ray Floyd. He took the 1976 Masters at Augusta and the 1982 PGA at Southern Hills. Tiger has won four times at The Masters.

Retief Goosen has won two US Opens, the 2001 US Open at Southern Hills and the 2004 title at Shinnecock.

Note Ray Floyd won the 1986 US Open at Shinnecock. Retief Goosen was second to Tiger Woods at the 2002 Masters. Tiger wasn’t a factor in the only US Open(2004) he played at Shinnecock as a pro.

Corey Pavin the 1995 US Open Champ at Shinnecock, was 2nd to Nick Price at the 1994 PGA at Southern. Lanny Wadkins was 2nd at the 1982 PGA at Southern, and the 1986 US Open.

Phil Mickelson was 2nd at the 2004 US Open(Shinnecock) and 3rd at the 1994 PGA. Heck Phil was third at the 2001 Masters which Tiger Woods won .

Arnold Palmer won at Augusta, and was second at the 1970 PGA at Southern. Note Gary Player also a former Masters winner was second at Southern when it hosted the 1958 US Open.

The reverse Palmer, Player Southern-Augusta connection goes to Dave Stockton. He was 2nd at the 1974 Masters, and won the 1970 PGA Championship.

Besides the Shinnecock-Southern connection, there is the Medinah-Southern connection. Lou Graham won the 1975 US Open at Medinah and narrowly lost the 1977 US open to Hubert Green, finishing in 2nd place one shot behind. Tiger of course won 2 PGA Championships at Medinah.(99 and 06)

How does Vahalla work in? Woods won the 2000 PGA there, Mark Brooks was the 1996 PGA champion, played at the same course. Mark Brooks lost the 2001 US Open playoff to Retief Goosen played at Southern.

Cherry Hills(Outside of Denver) is connected this way. Arnold Palmer won the 60 US Open there, and I already mentioned his other connections above. Hubert Green won the 85 PGA at that course and the 77 US Open at Southern.

Note- Hubert Green was 2nd at the 1978 Masters to Gary Player.

Dave Stockton the 70 PGA Champion at Southern, was 2nd at the 1978 US Open at Cherry Hills.

So we have the Medinah-Southern-Augusta-Vahalla-CherryHills-Shinnecock connection that revolves around at ten or twelve golfers. What’s the signifigance of all this? Absolutely nothing, I’m just showing off some of the golf trivia stored in my head.

Update- Corrected my post to say only Ray Floyd has won at Augusta and Southern Hills. Tiger is trying to become the second.

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