Golf Digest editors picks
20. TOM LEHMAN

20. TOM LEHMAN

Score: 7.709 | Seasons: 1992-2000 | Best season: 15.459 (1996) | Stroke differential: 1.474
An 0-3 playoff record and lowest win count among complete-career players in top 20 (five) are deceiving as he placed in the top 10 in one-third of his 209 eligible starts. His player-of-year '96 -- Open Championship and Tour Championship titles among 13 top 10s in 22 starts -- earned that season's highest point total. In 1997 he became the second U.S. player to earn No. 1 spot in Official World Golf Ranking, following 15th-ranked Fred Couples from '92.
19. RAYMOND FLOYD

19. RAYMOND FLOYD

Score: 7.738 | Seasons: 1980-92 | Best season: 13.823 (1981) | Stroke differential: 1.415
Eligible for consideration in only 39 percent of 725 tour starts, the other 61 percent dating to 1963 contains 11 wins, 11 seconds and nine thirds. Won '81 Players and PGA and '86 U.S. Open to go with '76 Masters and '69 PGA before modern era began. Three seasons rank in 100 best ('81, '82 and '92).
18. DAVIS LOVE III

18. DAVIS LOVE III

Score: 8.003 | Seasons: 1987-2008 | Best season: 12.756 (2003) | Stroke differential: 1.324
Matches No. 3 Phil Mickelson for largest number of eligible seasons for any player in the top 30 (21), only five players of longer tenure in Modern 100. Twice in list of 100 best seasons, his four-win '03 on quality venues: Pebble Beach, TPC Sawgrass, Harbour Town and Castle Pines. Ranks fourth among 100 Modern members with 160 top 10s in eligible seasons.
17. RETIEF GOOSEN

17. RETIEF GOOSEN

Score: 8.133 | Seasons: 2001-09 | Best season: 13.429 (2002) | Stroke differential: 1.334
Twice in list of 100-best seasons as part of 2002-05 run in which he accumulated five wins, three seconds, six thirds among 31 top 10s. That included '04 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills, when he became the championship's 21st multiple winner, joining '01 playoff defeat of Mark Brooks at Southern Hills. Produced two seconds and two thirds in the Masters in a six-year stretch beginning in '02.
16. CURTIS STRANGE

16. CURTIS STRANGE

Score: 8.236 | Seasons: 1980-89 | Best season: 11.669 (1989) | Stroke differential: 1.520
Won at least once a season from '83-89, with sparkling runs of three titles in '85 and '87 and a four-win '88 keyed by first of consecutive U.S. Open crowns. Enviable 6-3 playoff record included topping No. 10 Nick Faldo in '88 Open and No. 12 Tom Kite at Pebble Beach in the season-ending Nabisco Championship (now Tour Championship). His '89 Open brought the championship's first repeat since Ben Hogan in the 1950s and propelled his lone entry in the 100 best seasons.
15. FRED COUPLES

15. FRED COUPLES

Score: 8.309 | Seasons: 1983-2003 | Best season: 15.284 (1992) | Stroke differential: 1.382
Best season ranks 33rd overall, it contained three wins and two seconds in March and April, capped by Masters as lone major. Two other multiple-title seasons ('91, '98). Highest-ranked player with a final-round stroke differential less than one shot (0.707), his 0.675 gap between all-rounds and final-round stroke differentials is exceeded by only No. 38 Bernhard Langer, who is 0.911 worse in final rounds.
14. NICK PRICE

14. NICK PRICE

Score: 8.601 | Seasons: 1983-2002 | Best season: 17.303 (1994) | Stroke differential: 1.353
Six of his 18 titles occurred in '94, with Western Open and Open Championship in consecutive tour starts and PGA Championship a month later. One of three men to have won two majors in a season during the 1990s (No. 10 Nick Faldo in '90, No. 29 Mark O'Meara in '98). Both '93 and '94 he was voted Jack Nicklaus Award (player of year) recipient by fellow tour members; both in best 50 seasons, another cracks top 100.
13. JIM FURYK

13. JIM FURYK

Score: 8.781 | Seasons: 1995-2010 | Best season: 13.644 (2006) | Stroke differential: 1.513
Voted by his peers as Jack Nicklaus Award (player of year) recipient after winning the Tour Championship in '10 and Vardon Trophy winner in '06, the latter when his all-rounds stroke differential was 2.391. Not surprisingly, both seasons rank in best 100. Posted a career-best 15 top-10s in '03, when he also strayed from the top 25 in only five of 27 tournaments.
12. TOM KITE

12. TOM KITE

Score: 8.979 | Seasons: 1980-93 | Best season: 13.505 (1981) | Stroke differential: 1.674
One of the most consistent performers in the modern era, he ranks second in career cuts made (590), two behind No. 72 Jay Haas. Among Modern 100 members only a trio in the top five -- Tiger Woods, Greg Norman and Vijay Singh -- have a better top-10 percentage in eligible seasons than Kite's 40.1. Possesses three of the best 100 seasons, including '89 in which he set the single-season earnings record after winning the Nestlé Invitational and Players in consecutive weeks.
11. SEVE BALLESTEROS

11. SEVE BALLESTEROS

Score: 9.448 | Seasons: 1980-88 | Best season: 16.145 (1983) | Stroke differential: 1.679
Only 84 eligible starts, one of four players in Modern 100 in double digits in that stat (No. 9 Rory McIlroy, No. 55 Henrik Stenson and No. 62 Darren Clarke). Yet his seven victories include two Masters and two Open Championships. Owns three of the top 100 seasons, with '83 standing 28th overall. He also ranks 11th in top-10 finish percentage (34.5). Only full-time season on tour was '84, when he placed third in Players and MONY Tournament of Players while winning then-unofficial Open Championship.
10. NICK FALDO

10. NICK FALDO

Score: 9.651 | Seasons: 1984-97 | Best season: 21.239 (1992) | Stroke differential: 1.250
Six of his nine triumphs were in majors, including leading the Modern 100 points list in 1990 when he doubled up the Masters and Open Championship. That's worth a spot much higher in the overall ranking, but 49.6 percent of his 180 eligible starts were outside the top 25 or on the wrong side of the cut, a fate that befell him on a more frequent basis outside the game's four biggest events.
9. RORY MCILROY

9. RORY MCILROY

Score: 9.728 | Seasons: 2009-13 | Best season: 16.869 (2012) | Stroke differential: 1.289
Only two players who started their eligibility in 1981 or later had better averages after their fifth seasons: No. 17 Retief Goosen (10.550) and No. 6 Els (9.871). The only player in the top 25 with a final-round stroke differential (1.363) that is higher than his differential for all rounds. He has bettered the field average by five or more shots in six of his 53 final rounds, including three of his six wins ('10 Quail Hollow by 10.714; '12 PGA by 5.653; '12 BMW Championship by 5.086).
8. DAVID DUVAL

8. DAVID DUVAL

Score: 9.733 | Seasons: 1995-2001 | Best season: 16.314 (1999) | Stroke differential: 1.680
Man who recently made his 400th PGA Tour appearance utilizes only 41 percent of his career here -- just Nicklaus (18 percent) and 19th-ranked Raymond Floyd (39 percent) have smaller slivers among players in the Modern 100's top 20. However, Duval's stretch featured 13 titles headed by the '01 Open Championship, and he cracked the top 10 a dozen times in consecutive seasons ('98-99).
7. TOM WATSON

7. TOM WATSON

Score: 10.318 | Seasons: 1980-98 | Best season: 24.391 (1980) | Stroke differential: 1.700
Three straight five-win seasons in '77-79 as part of his first 18 titles are not included in this ranking's definition of the modern era. But his continued dominance in 1980-84, when he won another 18 times, made him the top point-earner each season. The worst of those years ranks 42nd overall in the Modern 100 formula. He won the Nabisco Championship in '87, the inaugural of what is now called the Tour Championship, then went nine and 11 years before his final two titles.
6. ERNIE ELS

6. ERNIE ELS

Score: 10.702 | Seasons: 1994-2012 | Best season: 18.202 (2004) | Stroke differential: 1.375
Never captured the high point total for a season but was second twice (2000 and '04) and five other times in a year's top five. Produced the highest first-year point total (14.102) of any player whose career began after 1980. He did that, in large part, in '94 by taking second in the Buick Classic and winning a U.S. Open playoff at Oakmont CC in consecutive weeks.
5. VIJAY SINGH

5. VIJAY SINGH

Score: 10.952 | Seasons: 1993-2008 | Best season: 20.633 (2004) | Stroke differential: 1.717
Known for durability and an unflagging practice routine, his 34 triumphs are spread across 13 of his 16 eligible seasons. That best season outpaced that season's 50 other eligible players and broke Woods' streak of seven years earning the highest score. Singh placed in the top 10 in two or more majors in a season eight times between '95 and '06. That included all four in '05, when he tied for fifth in the Masters and Open Championship.
4. JACK NICKLAUS

4. JACK NICKLAUS

Score: 11.281 | Seasons: 1980-86 | Best season: 14.938 (1980) | Stroke differential: 1.946
Although eligible for only 18 percent of his career starts they include five titles -- three of them majors capped by the 1986 Masters -- plus 14 seconds. Despite compiling what some observers would consider his weakest seasons, he has four of the 100 best under the Modern 100 formula. He also logged the third-highest stroke differential to field average in all rounds and ranks second in final-round differential (1.862).
3. PHIL MICKELSON

3. PHIL MICKELSON

Score: 11.329 | Seasons: 1991-2013 | Best season: 14.384 (2004) | Stroke differential: 1.440
Owns seven of the top 100 seasons. Second-largest win total (42) among Modern 100 entrants and finishing in the top 10 in 37 percent of tournaments mitigate the 42 percent of his starts that fall outside the top 25 (131 times) or miss the cut (64). Produced victories in all but two of his 21 seasons. Takes advantage of Scott Verplank Rule, which stipulates an official victory by an amateur (1991 Northern Telecom Open) is applied to the player's first eligible year as a pro.
2. GREG NORMAN

2. GREG NORMAN

Score: 13.893 | Seasons: 1981-97 | Best season: 19.431 (1995) | Stroke differential: 1.954
Posted the highest point total six times between '86 and '95 en route to a then-record 331 weeks as No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Seven of his seasons are among the 50 best, two more make the top 100. Takes advantage of the 50 percent bonus the Modern 100 performance formula gives for majors: recorded 26 top 10s in majors during his eligible seasons, including eight times as a runner-up, and cracked the top 25 at a 65-percent pace.
1. Tiger Woods

1. TIGER WOODS

Score: 23.047 | Seasons: 1996-2013 | Best season: 31.441 (2000) | Stroke differential: 2.603
This quantifies Woods' dominance: Only No. 2 Greg Norman exceeds 50 percent of the leader's overall point total. Woods has the best season in 12 of his 16 eligible years (2008 and '11 were eliminated from consideration as injury seasons) and eight of the best nine seasons overall and 14 of the top 50. Plus he's averaged an otherworldly 2.603 shots better than the field average in 1,050 stroke-play rounds, including 2.547 better in his 250 final rounds.

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