Posted: Friday November 25, 2005 2:52PM; Updated: Friday November 25, 2005 2:52PM
Annika has 17 more wins in 23 additional starts (that amounts to basically, a full season for Tiger).
Meanwhile, Tiger has two more majors and his scoring average is a half-stroke lower, while his lowest single-season scoring record is almost a full shot better.
Annika has an additional 39 top 10 finishes. By the way, in 2005, she never finished worse than T-17 in any of her LPGA starts.
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Annika has missed one fewer cut, although one of Tiger's was because he withdrew from the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 1998 when it was suspended because of bad weather and re-scheduled for later in the year. Officially, that went down as a missed cut.
The other categories are relatively even, and of course, Tiger is too young to be considered for the Golf Hall of Fame. I suspect he won't have trouble getting the necessary support when the time comes. Sorenstam was inducted in 2003 after she completed her mandatory requirement of 10 years.
One big thing in Tiger's favor is the Tiger Slam when he held all four majors at one. Annika can't match that.
Let's face it -- their records are comparable and actually mirror each other to some extent. If you remember, Tiger and Annika have been exchanging text messages after their major wins this season in a game of one-upsmanship, so there is some healthy competition between the two.
When it's all said and done, Annika has not faced the depth of competition that Tiger must deal with on a weekly basis. In the future, though, that will change with the likes of Paula Creamer, Natalie Gulbis, Michelle Wie, Morgan Pressel and others getting more seasoned. But for most of her career, Sorenstam easily had the most talent on the LPGA Tour; had she not accomplished what she did, she'd have nobody to blame but herself.
Tiger, on the other hand, has been pushed all the way by a group that includes Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Davis Love and on and on and on. He has stood toe-to-toe against all the best players of the era and come out on top -- despite two swing changes.
In my book, that makes Tiger the best player in golf on any Tour. He has changed the game and will continue to change it, until the day he and his family sail quietly off into the sunset on their beautiful luxury yacht.