Tiger Woods is back to winning, although his major title drought continues.
The 42-year-old is still winless in the big four since the 2008 U.S. Open. Overall, though, the fact he has 14 major championship wins to date is astounding. Which victories were the best and which ones were the least satisfying?
Obviously that’s subjective, but we decided to take a crack at it. Looking to factors such as drama, memorability, the win’s meaning and how well Woods played, we have come up with a comprehensive ranking of Woods’ major titles.
Without further ado, here is that list…
14. 2002 Masters
This was a comfortable 3-shot win but nothing dominant. Really no drama down the stretch and Woods only shot a final-round 71. He won but it wasn’t particularly inspiring and it was just another major title.
13. 2006 PGA Championship
This one is similar to the ’02 Masters in that Woods cruised to victory (this one by 5 shots), but the tournament was well in hand down the stretch without it being an exciting Tiger blowout. So it was pretty ho-hum and there was little in the way of meaning as this was simply Woods’ 12th major title and that’s about it. This one gets the slight edge though because Woods played marvelous golf all weekend.
12. 2005 Open Championship
The theme continues here, as Woods cruised to a 5-shot win after his challengers fell off in the middle of the round. This one gets a bump because it happened at the Old Course and was part of a Woods revival in ’05 after he had seen a dip and a major drought in previous years.
11. 2007 PGA Championship
This might’ve been at the bottom if Woods had cruised on after taking a 5-shot lead in the middle of the round. But he stumbled a bit and his challengers heated up, leaving him just one shot ahead until he drained a 12-footer for birdie at the 15th. This win ensured a third straight year with a major title.
10. 2000 Open Championship
After a challenge early in the final round, Woods ended up building on his 6-shot overnight lead by claiming an 8-shot win. So not a ton of drama, but this win was Woods completing the Career Grand Slam. And he did so at the Old Course. That is worth a good deal.
9. 2002 U.S. Open
This was notable as a nice Woods-Phil Mickelson duel where the Bethpage crowds showed massive fanfare for Lefty. It would ultimately be a 3-shot win for Woods, but it was a challenge for most of the round. This triumph also marked the end of an incredible stretch in which Woods won seven of 11 majors.
8. 2006 Open Championship
Woods got a pretty nice fight here from Chris DiMarco before coming out on top in a 2-shot triumph. It was a solid duel, and this one was also huge as it was Tiger’s first major title after the death of Earl Woods, his father. Woods broke down in tears after putting out on 18 in a rare emotional moment.
7. 1999 PGA Championship
While the Woods-Sergio Garcia rivalry never fully blossomed on the course, this tournament gave us a special tease as Woods had to hold off a furious charge from the then-19-year-old Spaniard. Woods did indeed pull through, earning a 1-shot win.
6. 2001 Masters
It tells you how good Woods’ major titles are that this is only No. 6. This win included a final-round duel with Mickelson and David Duval and saw Woods finish off the “Tiger Slam,” as this was his fourth consecutive major title.
5. 2000 PGA Championship
The duel with Bob May. We all remember this one and if somehow you don’t, go look it up on YouTube and you won’t be disappointed.
4. 2005 Masters
The main thing here is of course Woods’ miraculous chip-in at 16 where his ball hung on the lip for a second before dropping. Talk about drama! That alone would put this in the top half of Woods’ major wins, but also remember that DiMarco gave Woods a great duel that day. Even with that chip-in, Woods only eventually got into a playoff – which he won by draining a 15-footer for birdie. This was also one of his most cathartic wins, as it broke a three-year major drought.
3. 2000 U.S. Open
Yes, the 15-shot win. The greatest performance in the history of golf. There wasn’t any drama on who would triumph, but watching the history that this domination brought gave everyone plenty of entertainment.
2. 2008 U.S. Open
Just unbelievable drama in this one where Woods provided so many insane moments in regulation alone, including draining a 12-foot birdie putt at the 72nd hole to force a playoff. Then it took the full 18-hole playoff plus a sudden-death hole to decide it. By the way, he did it all on a torn ACL and with stress fractures in his leg. This one had everything.
1. 1997 Masters
Woods’ first major win was his greatest because his remarkable 12-shot romp was not only an amazing coming out party, it also had so much social meaning with an African-American blitzing a field at Augusta National. In terms of the combination of everything here, it’s doubtful anything will ever top this.