Ten of the Greatest Winning Streaks in Golf
JUSTIN ROSE'S victory at the Turkish Airlines Open was his second win in successive weeks. It is an extraordinary achievement, but it is not as unusual as you might think. Rose is the second player to achieve the feat this season on the European Tour, following Tyrrell Hatton, who earlier in the year won the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and followed it the next week with another victory at the Italian Open.
It got us thinking about winning streaks, and there have been some remarkable runs over the years. Here, we look at 10 of them.
Byron Nelson, 1945
Way back in 1945, Byron Nelson won a scarcely credible 11 PGA Tour tournaments in a row that he played. He actually won 18 times that year. The tournaments he won were the Miami International Four-Ball, Charlotte Open, Greater Greensboro Open, Durham Open, Atlanta Open, Montreal Open, Philadelphia Inquirer, Chicago Victory National Open, PGA Championship, Tam O'Shanter Open and the Canadian Open There is one matchplay event and one team tournament on that list. In the nine strokeplay events, Nelson won each won by at least two strokes, and all but one of them by at least four strokes. Before retiring at age 34, Nelson won 52 tournaments, including five major championships between 1937 and 1945. In 1944 and 1945, he won 31 times.
Tiger Woods, 2006-7
Colin Montgomerie once said that when the name 'Tiger Woods' appeared at the top of a leaderboard then everybody else may as well pack their suitcases and book out of their hotels because there was only ever going to be one winner. And that was certainly the case during one purple patch that began in 2006. He took a break after the death of his father and returned to action at The Open at Hoylake, which he won in superb style. He then went on to win the Buick Open, the US PGA Championship, the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, the Deutsche Bank, the WGC-American Express and closed out the year by winning his own Target World Championship. For good measure, he added the Buick Invitational during his first outing in 2007 to extend his run of successive victories to eight.
Rory McIlroy, 2014
For a time in 2014, McIlroy appeared to be unbeatable and enjoyed a memorable streak where he won three times in a row. It started at The Open at Hoylake, where he produced some imperious golf to see off the challenges of Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia. Next he headed off to the United States and cruised to victory in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, and he crowned it all off by winning the US PGA Championship. His worst round was a 71 and at the end of it all he was a mind-boggling 48 under par.
Jack Nicklaus, 1975
When you consider his 18 major victories and his overall brilliance, it is perhaps surprising to learn that only once in his career did Jack Nicklaus manage to win three tournaments in a row. It came in 1975, when the Golfer Bear won five times in total and topped the money list. He played in 16 tournaments that year and was never once outside the top 25. Apart from his five victories, he also finished second once, third three times and had 14 top 10 finishes. His successive victories came at the Doral Open, the Sea Pines Heritage Classic and The Masters, where he recorded his fifth success. He would also go on to win the US PGA Championship that year, and miss out on both the Open and US Open by a single shot.
Ben Hogan, 1948
Somehow, Ben Hogan's extraordinary career tends to be overlooked in arguments about the best golfers ever to have lived, but he was a remarkable player. Take 1948 as an example. The American won 10 times, including six in a row during an astonishing run that included victories in the US Open and US PGA Championship. He was involved in a horrific car accident that nearly claimed his life but came back as an even better player. In 1953 he only entered six tournaments, but he won five of them in succession, including The Masters, US Open and Open Championship - he was unable to play in the US PGA Championship because, back then, it was played at the same time as The Open.
Tiger Woods, 2000-01
Woods has achieved some remarkable things during his career, but what he did in 2000 was extra special. He shattered the scoring record in winning the US Open at the iconic Pebble Beach, spread-eagling the field and leaving everybody else playing for second place. He then rolled up to the Old Course at St Andrews for The Open and did the same thing again, playing 72 holes without finding a single bunker. Then he headed off to Valhalla, where he won the US PGA Championship. And still he wasn't finished. In April 2001, Woods won The Masters to become the first golfer in the history of the game to hold all four majors at the same time. He had won four majors in a row, something that became known as The Tiger Slam.
Lee Trevino, 1971
SuperMex did it his way. He had an idiosyncratic golf swing but boy did it work for him. Few golfers in history have ever been so accurate from the tee - he would aim way left and slice the ball back into the middle of the fairway. Time after time after time. And on and around the greens he was a magician. During a remarkable spell of 20 days in the summer of 1971, he won three tournaments on the spin. It began at the US Open, where he defeated Jack Nicklaus in an 18-hole playoff. Two weeks later he crossed the border and won the Canadian Open and then he flew across the Atlantic to break the heart of Tony Jacklin by winning The Open at Royal Birkdale. He was later named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year.
Nancy Lopez, 1978
Nancy Lopez was the golden girl of the LPGA Tour. She was a marketing man's dream - blessed with a swing to die for, good looks and a wonderful temperament, at one point it appeared that she would break every record in the book. It didn't quite work out that way, but she tried her best and in 1978 she enjoyed an amazing run. She had only joined the tour the year before and quickly showed her promise, but 1978 was her first full season and she left everybody else gasping in her wake as she won five tournaments in a row from May through to June and finished the season with nine victories. The following year she added another eight wins.
Annika Sorenstam, 2001
Annika Sorenstam is arguably the greatest female golfer ever to have graced the game, winning 72 LPGA tournaments and 10 majors. During the 2001 season, she had eight LPGA wins, including five in a row and became the only female golfer to shoot a 59 in competition and the first LPGA player to cross the $2m mark in single-season earnings. She set or tied a total of 30 LPGA records en route to regaining the Vare Trophy and winning her fourth Player of the Year and Money List titles in 2001. At the end of the season, her main rival, Karrie Webb, said that she “would eat her hat” if Sorenstam repeated her eight wins in 2002. Guess what? Sorenstam accomplished that feat.
Lorena Ochoa, 2008
Ochoa is the best golfer Mexico has ever produced - male or female. She won 27 times on the LPGA Tour from 2003 until 2010, when she announced her retirement from the game at the age of just 28. She held the number one spot in the rankings for 158 consecutive weeks and during her all-too-brief career she won two majors. In 2007 she set a new earnings record, picking up more than $4m in prize money, but it was in 2008 that she really made her mark by winning five tournaments in a row, including the Kraft Nabisco, her second major, and the Corona Championship in her homeland by a remarkable 11 strokes.
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