Tiger Woods’ awesome winning percentage is untouchable, says Johnny Miller

Stephen Dunn

Johnny Miller, who won some 12 percent of time, bows in deference to Tiger Woods, who’s emerged victorious in more than a quarter of the tourneys he’s started.

Tiger Woods needs only four PGA Tour victories to surpass Sam Snead’s all-time mark of 82, but it’s the 14-time major champion’s winning percentage that humbles even the ever-cocky Johnny Miller.

Miller, who last missed an opportunity to remind viewers of his own awesome career, well, never, was agog during Saturday’s Golf Channel/NBC broadcast of the second round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions over the gaudy numbers Woods has rung up since he turned pro in 1996.

Sure, there are the 14 grand slam events in the win column, but Woods comes up short in that conversation since he hasn’t made a dent in Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 in five-plus years. And Johnny subscribes to the popular theory that Tiger will chalk up 100 tour Ws before he’s done.

"The Snead record hasn’t gotten a lot of play but it’s getting a little more now and I think it’s a huge stat, I really do," Miller said. "And he could get to 100, he probably will get to 100.

"That sounds pretty good, doesn’t it, 100 wins?" Miller offered in admiration.

Reaching the century mark would certainly be quite a feat. What’s really impressive to Miller, though, is the ratio of 79 victories to 309 starts that Woods has posted, a mark the winner of the 1973 U.S. Open (and ’76 Open Championship) believes is so astounding it will go unmatched for time immemorial.

"It’s a crazy stat," Miller said in response to colleague Rich Lerner’s observation that Woods’ winning 26 percent of the tour events he had entered was "mind-blowing."

Noting that his own "12 or 13 percent ... wasn’t bad," Miller agreed, and went Lerner one better.

"Nobody, I think," averred Miller, "will touch that [Tiger's winning percentage] maybe forever."

About the never-ending saga involving Tiger running down Jack, count Johnny as one extremely interested observer who can’t wait for the chase to begin anew.

"If he gets to 17 [major titles]," Miller said, "I mean the media and the golfing public will be frothing at the mouth. Every major he plays, it will be so big for the game of golf, it will make the game really grow.

"So it will be really fun to see," Miller opined.

One could argue that, with the golf gods pitching a shutout since the 2008 U.S. Open, the hoopla surrounding Woods leading up to, during, and long after each major has already spun out of control. We would also bet that Johnny’s spot on about the frenzy that would ensue should Tiger pick off a couple more first-place finishes When It Counts.

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