Over 40 days, GOLF.com is rolling out Tiger Woods’ 40 biggest moments. Our ranking started on Nov. 21 and will culminate on Dec. 30, which is Tiger’s 40th birthday. That’s 40 Tiger moments. In 40 days. Ranked. Click here to learn more about our list.
Tiger’s 40 Biggest Moments: No. 24 – Winning 74th PGA Tour Event to Pass Jack Nicklaus
Jack Nicklaus was a famous runner-up, finishing second in majors a record 19 times to go along with his 18 titles.
Tiger Woods might not get the majors record but at least he bumped Nicklaus out of second place on the PGA Tour’s all-time victory list. Woods won the 2012 AT&T National event at Congressional Country Club, where he was also the tournament host. It was win No. 74, which pushed him one ahead of Nicklaus in the career wins category, eight behind Sam Snead.
One month earlier, Woods had tied Nicklaus at 73 by winning Jack’s own event, the Memorial Tournament.
By then, 2012 had already turned into a very good year for Tiger. After a 30-month winless stretch following the infamous car-meets-fire hydrant episode-turned-scandal in 2009, the AT&T National was Tiger’s third win that year, making it the 12th season in which he won at least three times. Woods shot a closing 69, one of only 14 players who broke par on the Blue Course in the final round, and finished two shots ahead of Bo Van Pelt.
Woods still had a bit of a chip on his shoulder about his fall from grace and the coverage of it, and the wins meant vindication for his switch to Sean Foley as his swing coach.
“I remember there was a time when people were saying I could never win again,” Woods said. “That was, what, six months ago? Well, here we are.”
Here’s your time-capsule stat: Despite the win, Tiger remained fourth in the World Ranking behind Lee Westwood (third); Rory McIlroy (second); and — what? — Luke Donald (first).
Check back on GOLF.com every day until Tiger’s birthday on Dec. 30 for a new moment in our [email protected] countdown.
No. 25: Signs First Deal With Nike
No. 27: Winning Back-to-Back Masters
No. 30: Ugly Breakup With Steve Williams
No. 33: Relationship With Lindsey Vonn
No. 35: A Shot in the Dark at Firestone
No. 36: Television Debut at Age 2