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Finest golfers from every continent: Tiger Woods, Hideki Matsuyama amongst all-time greats from across the globe


After including to his already-impressive complete of 5 PGA Tour wins with two extra victories on the Masters in April and the Zozo Championship this month in his house nation of Japan, Hideki Matsuyama has solidified himself because the most-accomplished and greatest Asian golfer of all time. 

Whereas it is true that he doesn’t maintain the report for many PGA Tour wins by an Asian golfer, an accolade that belongs to Okay.J. Choi with eight together with a Gamers Championship, Matsuyama is one in all simply two main championship winners from Asia. And of the 2 (Y.E. Yang is the opposite), he has way more general wins. Matsuyama nonetheless has Choi’s report of eight Tour wins in his sights, and at age 29 with loads of runway in entrance of him and never plenty of miles on the odometer, it might be extra shocking if he did not surpass Choi than if he finally doubled him up with 16 PGA Tour wins.

All of this poses an fascinating query: If Matsuyama is the most effective ever from Asia, who’re his brethren from the remaining continents? Who’s the most effective golfer from every of the six continents that produce golfers (sorry, Antartica)?

This query got here up on Sunday on The First Reduce Podcast, and my colleague Wealthy Gehman and I mentioned it at size. I needed to dive somewhat bit deeper, although, and ensure we did not miss anybody or that any of the submitted resumes received misplaced within the shuffle. We’ll go alphabetical right here and take a look at to determine the most effective golfer in historical past from every continent.

Africa: Gary Participant 

9 majors, 24 PGA Tour wins, practically 200 wins globally

Although I imagine Ernie Els was in all probability a greater golfer in a vacuum than Participant, the latter is overwhelmingly extra completed. Participant is T4 with Ben Hogan on the all-time main championship wins checklist, and whereas his 24 PGA Tour wins have been surpassed by of us like Dustin Johnson, Participant by no means actually performed a sturdy PGA Tour slate, dividing his time between excursions everywhere in the world. Els possible is available in second right here for me as a result of his 4 majors, 19 PGA Tour wins and 28 European Tour wins got here in a mega-competitive period, though Bobby Locke and Nick Value each have fascinating circumstances to make.

Asia: Hideki Matsuyama 

One main, seven PGA Tour wins, practically 20 wins globally

It is virtually definitely Matsuyama, though Choi has a fairly underrated profession and golfers like Jumbo Ozaki and Tommy Nakajima received a lot on the Japan Tour. Matsuyama’s bonafides are practically unassailable, although. Huge-time wins just like the Memorial, two WGCs, the Phoenix Open twice and now the Masters and Zozo. The place different Asian golfers discovered success on the PGA Tour and in different worldwide leagues, Matsuyama took all of it to a different degree with what he is carried out over the past 5 years (and particularly in 2021). That he is doing it in arguably probably the most troublesome period ever solely enhances his resume.

Europe: Seve Ballesteros 

5 majors, 9 PGA Tour wins, 90 wins globally

This one is extraordinarily troublesome, and I’ve argued up to now that Nick Faldo deserves the highest spot with Rory McIlroy primed to overhaul him. I’ll backpedal that one right here and put Ballesteros on the prime. Although he did not win as many majors (5) as Faldo (6), he is the all-time European Tour wins chief — they’ve the identical variety of PGA Tour victories — and was simply as robust general at main championships. His historical past on the Ryder Cup — though Faldo’s report was simply nearly as good — and the magic of his presence usually give him the nod. McIlroy, by the way in which, can nonetheless fairly simply overtake him with an enormous closing decade.

North America: Tiger Woods 

15 majors, 82 PGA Tour wins, over 100 wins globally

North America clearly deserves its personal column since you might go on for about 30 golfers, however Woods is the most effective of a gaggle that has substantial assortment of golfers that may rank No. 1 on another continent. It clearly got here right down to him and Jack Nicklaus (mixed 33 majors), and I settled it like this: Nicklaus was barely extra completed, however Tiger was higher at golf. I do not imagine I can ever be satisfied in any other case.

Rick Gehman is joined by Kyle Porter to interrupt down and react to Hideki Matsuyama’s victory on the 2021 ZOZO Championship. Comply with & hearken to The First Reduce on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Oceania: Greg Norman 

Two majors, 20 PGA Tour wins, practically 90 wins globally

This one was in all probability probably the most troublesome alternative, with Ballesteros vs. Faldo an in depth second. Vijay Singh is extra completed than Norman (so is Peter Thomson, for that matter), however Norman has a greater general PGA Tour successful proportion, received loads on the European Tour and was stronger at main championships in just about each means aside from trophies. His 20-30-48 (prime 5s, prime 10s and prime 25s) in 91 main appearances is outrageous.

South America: Roberto De Vicenzo 

One main, seven PGA Tour wins, over 200 wins globally

That is by far the weakest of the six continents, and it was actually a two-horse race between De Vicenzo and Angel Cabrera, who clipped him within the complete majors depend however not a lot else. I am going to give the nod to De Vicenzo as a result of he had an astonishing main championship report — 11 prime fives and 17 prime 10s in simply 44 begins — and since I nonetheless really feel unhealthy about how he misplaced the 1968 Masters after signing a nasty card. Additionally, he received twice as typically on the PGA Tour as Cabrera did (even when you do not embrace the 1951 Inverness Invitational 4-Ball).





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