The Loop

How to Count Majors

December 19, 2007

Tom Brown of Naples writes to request Dan Jenkins' help in setting the majors record straight:


Dan, help!   A guy, named Sal Johnson, writes an article for the "other" golf magazine this month wherein he states Tiger is tied with Bobby Jones at 13 majors. What? Bobby's six count but Tiger's three don't? I know > you wrote about this not long ago and you agree Tiger has 16. I think it's due for another airing. >


In the next three years, the majors are held on courses where Tiger has 15 wins and three seconds. Say goodnight, Jack!!

Tom, you're calculations are correct. The discrepancy lies in the formula Dan and Sal use for calculating majors. Dan counts U.S. Amateur Championships as majors once the champion has also won a professional major. Sal counts only professional majors in this era, but Amateurs in Jones's. Thus, Dan gets 16 for Tiger and Sal 13, the difference being Tiger's three (consecutive) Amateurs.

As much as we respect Sal's statistical skills, we accept Dan's formula, which gives Jack 20 majors and, as you say, still leaves his record vulnerable to Woods. BTW, Jaime Diaz's compelling story in the January issue and the Walter Iooss, Jr. photos that accompany it, strike me as more arguments that Jack's record will fall.

--Bob Carney

(Photo: Walter Iooss, Jr.)