Skip to main content

Tiger Woods was easily the most dominant golfer of his era and arguably of all time, the only other option being Jack Nicklaus.

Part of what made Tiger so dominant is that he didn’t always have to play his best to win. Simply put, he was just that much better than everyone else. And Woods didn’t have a problem saying as much. In fact, he ruffled quite a few feathers following a victory early in his career, a victory in which he said he didn’t have his “A-game.”

But as the years went on, it became crystal clear that Tiger’s “B-game” or even his “C-game” could sometimes get the job done. Again, he was just that much better than everyone else.

But we all know the ridiculous standards the 82-time PGA Tour winner set for himself. Even some of his most memorable moments weren’t good enough — at least to him. Remember that 9&8 beating he gave Stephen Ames at the WGC-Match Play in 2006 after Ames dropped that “anything can happen, especially where he’s hitting the ball” comment? Tiger later admitted that he was actually upset that he missed a putt on the 10th hole to win 10&8. Like I said — ridiculous standards.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the 15-time major champion can count on one hand the instances in which he feels he played his best golf throughout an entire tournament.

Tiger Woods had his “A-game” for an entire tournament in just three of his 82 victories, says Jon Rahm

Jon Rahm and Tiger Woods at the 2022 JP McManus Pro-Am
Tiger Woods and Jon Rahm chat during Day Two of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor on July 05, 2022 | Oisin Keniry/Getty Images

Ahead of this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, a tournament Tiger won a record eight times, current world No. 1 Jon Rahm revealed a recent conversation he had with Woods about winning when not playing your best. And it was apparently an absolutely glorious exchange.

“The thing is, you don’t need to be firing on all cylinders to win,” Rahm stated. “I actually had a conversation similar to this with Tiger. I asked him, out of the 82 wins on the PGA Tour … how many times do you think you played your best all four days? And he said, ‘Three at most.’ A lot of those Sundays, he played his best, but the whole week, very few.”

As one would expect, Rahm asked Woods which three tournaments he was talking about.

“Well, 2000 U.S. Open and 2000 Open Championship,” Rahm said. “And I think you can pick any other 2000 win. Those two I kind of brought up, and he said he agreed to those two. I don’t know what other one.”

Tiger, of course, won the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach by 15 shots and was the only player in the field to finish under par, shooting 12-under to kick off the “Tiger Slam.”

A month later, he became the youngest player to complete the career Grand Slam by winning The Open Championship at St. Andrews by eight strokes, finishing the week at 19-under.

Of his seven other victories that year, the largest was at the now-defunct WGC-NEC Invitational at famed Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio, where he shot 21-under and won by 11 strokes. So that’s certainly a strong pick.

But as Rahm said, Tiger didn’t divulge the third. I would say a suitable candidate could be that first Masters victory in 1997, where he won by 12. But I’m guessing the 40 on his opening nine that week negates that one in his mind.

Let the speculation begin.


Tiger Woods’ 2000 Season Earnings in Today’s Dollars Will Blow Your Mind