Woods vs Hogan: Who's best?

Both had fantastic years, but which one was better, Hogan's heart redering 1953 effort or Woods' Millennium mauling of majors?

Woods vs Hogan: Who's best?

As sporting years go, there can only be one story for 2000, Tiger Woods dominance of the game of golf. Forget every other sport, this year is the year of golf and the year of the Tiger.

As golfing seasons go, only four years stand out and deciding which year was the best is a cruel task for anyone to solve. They all have their merits and every one was special and unique to golf. Woods vs Hogan: Who's best?

In 1930, Bobby Jones, the greatest amateur of them all won the then Grand Slam, winning both major amateur titles and the US and British Open Championships.

And in 1945, Byron Nelson won his famous "11-straight" and a total of 18 Tour wins, including the only major played that year, the USPGA.

With last week’s victory Tiger Woods, 24, picked up his fifth major and this year alone has won the U.S. Open, The Open Championship and the USPGA Championship, three of the four legs of professional golf’s Grand Slam, which has never been completed…yet!

Woods also holds or ties the scoring record for every major Championship, breaking records every time he tees it up in one of golf's four majors. The only thing left is to win the "impregnable quadrilateral", all four in one calendar year. He has won three and if it was not for a couple of bad swings at Augusta, the lot could be sitting on Woods' mantle-piece right now.

But he was not the first to have completed the trifecta of Majors.

With three majors this year, Tiger Woods equalled Ben Hogan’s three major victories in 1953, the last time that triple major season was accomplished. But who had the best season? Woods vs Hogan: Who's best?

Jones and Nelson's years were special in their own right. But they cannot match up to Hogan and Woods.

In fact, some may find that Woods still can't match Hogan's incredible year, a story that could have been written in Hollywood (and later was in the Glen Ford film, Follow the Sun) as Hogan battled through not only a career threatening car crash, but one that almost cost the 'Wee Ice Mon' his life.

Woods has so far won seven tournaments this year against some very strong fields.

In 1953, Hogan only won five events, but that was every event he played in that year! Woods has finished out of the top spot a few times! So is Hogan's record the greatest still? Mmm, ponder that one for a bar-room debate!

Woods finished fifth in this year’s first major, the Masters Tournament at the Augusta
National Golf Club, six strokes behind winner Vijay Singh. He won the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach by 15 strokes, the British Open at St. Andrews by eight and the PGA at Valhalla in a thrilling three-hole playoff with Bob May.

In 15 PGA Tour events this year, Woods has 15 top-25s, 12 top-10s, two
seconds, seven wins and a record $6,692,821 in earnings. Now that is what you call a historical year, by anyone's standards, in any sport!

But Hogan can claim, and remain the only player on any tour in the world to have been undefeated in any event he played in 1953.

Scheduling conflicts and physical limitations forced Hogan to play in only three
professional majors in 1953. His legs, injured in a near-fatal 1949 car
accident, also limited the 40-year-old Hogan to five official events and
seven total, the other two being unofficial Tour events.

Hogan won all five official events he entered. He captured
the Masters by five strokes, the U.S. Open by six and the British by

The final round of the ‘53 USPGA at Birmingham Country
Club was played on Tuesday, July 7, the same day as the second
qualifying round for the British Open at Carnoustie. Everyone who
played in the British Open in those days, including the defending champion, had to qualify.

Hogan opted to play in the British Open because he was told that he needed that championship on his resume to be considered one of the game’s greatest and it would complete his career Grand Slam.

Plus, the PGA used a match-play format at the time and played 36 holes daily, which would have been difficult for Hogan’s legs to withstand.

Even the greatest of them all, as far as Major Championship victories are concerned, Jack Nicklaus can't claim to have had a year like those. Nicklaus was the last player to have held three majors at one time, 1971 PGA, ‘72 Masters and ‘72 U.S. Open. They weren’t consecutive victories however, as the ‘71 PGA was played in February instead of its usual place in August as the final major championship on the calendar.

But the two players who remain at the top of that list are Woods and Hogan. Whoever you decide to be the best of them, is up to you.

But for my money, Woods has got a long way to go to match the courage and skill of matching Hogan's almost superhuman effort from returning from death's door to creating history with his incredible year in 1953.

Tale of the Tape:

Hogan in 1953

Mar. 25 *Palmetto Pro-Amateur, Aiken T8 $32

Apr. 12 Masters Tournament, Augusta, Ga 1st- 70-69-66-69—274 $4,000

May 3 Pan-American Open, Mexico City 1st 72-72-68-74—286 $2,604

May 10 *Greenbrier Pro-Am, White Sulphur Sprgs, WVA T3 $600

May 24 Colonial Invitational, Fort Worth, TX. 1st 73-71-71-67—282 $5,000

Jun. 13 U.S. Open, Oakmont, PA 1st 67-72-73-71—283 $5,000

Jul. 10 British Open, Carnoustie, Scotland 1 73-71-70-68—282 $1,400

Woods in 2000

Jan. 9 Mercedes Championships 1st 71-66-71-68—276 $522,000.00

Feb. 6 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am 1st 68-73-68-64—273 $720,000.00

Feb. 13 Buick Invitational T2 71-68-67-68—274 264,000.00

Feb. 20 Nissan Open T18 68-70-69-72— 279 $37,731.43

Feb. 27 WGC-Andersen Consulting Match Play 2nd $500,000.00

Mar. 19 Bay Hill Invitational/Cooper Tires 1st 69-64-67-70—270 540,000.00

Mar. 26 THE PLAYERS Championship 2nd 71-71-66-71—279 $648,000.00

Apr. 9 Masters Tournament 5th 75-72-68-69—284 $184,000.00

May 14 GTE Byron Nelson Classic T4 73-67-67-63—270 $176,000.00

May 28 Memorial Tournament 1st 71-63-65-70—269 $558,000.00

Jun. 18 U.S. Open Championship 1st 65-69-71-67—272 $800,000.00

Jul. 9 Advil Western Open T23 70-69-70-72—281 $26,700.00

Jul. 23 The Open Championship 1st 67-66-67-69—269 $759,150.00

Aug. 13 Buick Open T11 70-70-67-68—274 $57,240.00

Aug. 20 PGA Championship 1st 66-67-70-67—270 $900,000.00

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