BETHESDA, Md. — With the British Open only two weeks away and another win under his belt, Tiger Woods can achieve yet another milestone this Sunday. If he wins this week’s Greenbrier Classic, he will take his PGA Tour earnings through the $100 million mark.
He is, of course, already in a league of his own with his $99 million. Vijay Singh and Phil Mickelson are next best with $66 million in career earnings, and then comes Jim Furyk with $51 million.
Luke Donald is now in his 51st week at No. 1, putting him in solo fifth place on the list of players who have held the top spot the longest. In fourth place is Seve Ballesteros, who topped the charts for 61 weeks.
Woods’ victory at the ATT National on Sunday kept him in fourth place in the Official World Golf Ranking. But it did pull him close enough to the top three that he could regain the world No. 1 ranking by playing well enough in the final two majors of the year.
There were no changes in the top 10 this week. Luke Donald remains first, with Rory McIlroy (who tied for 10th at the Irish Open) and Lee Westwood still second and third.
Woods remains fourth, with fellow Americans Webb Simpson in fifth, Bubba Watson in sixth, Matt Kuchar in seventh and Jason Dufner in eighth. Justin Rose is ninth, with Hunter Mahan in 10th place.
The second 10 consists of No. 11 Graeme McDowell, No. 12 Adam Scott (up from 16th), No. 13 Steve Stricker (down from 12th), No. 14 Martin Kaymer (up from 15th), No. 15 Phil Mickelson (down from 14th), No. 16 Dustin Johnson (down from 13th), No. 17 Zach Johnson (up from 18th), No. 18 Charl Schwartzel (down from 17th), No. 19 Rickie Fowler and No. 20 Louis Oosthuizen.
Also, Jamie Donaldson moves from 116th to a career-high 63rd thanks to his European Tour victory at the Irish Open.
Woods remains four behind Jack Nicklaus in what matters most – majors — and has been stuck on 14 since the 2008 U.S. Open. Even with four wins in the last seven months — more than anybody else in the game has managed — he knows that Royal Lytham is where people will be judging him again.
“It’s going to be totally different shot-making and prep,” Woods said. “I’m going to have to start practicing some different shots and getting used to hitting the ball a little bit lower. It’s a totally different game playing links golf.”
He does have the comfort of knowing he has mastered it three times already – St. Andrews in 2000 and 2005 by eight and five-shot margins and Royal Liverpool in 2006 by two — and he has one good memory of the Lancashire course.
It was there in 1996 that he took the silver medal as low amateur, finishing 22nd, and his second-round 66 matched the best score by any amateur in Open history at the time. Tom Lewis went one better last July.
When the event returned to Lytham in 2001, Woods was “only” 25th, but he had just completed his “Tiger Slam” three months earlier, so he can be cut some slack there.
In terms of PGA Tour titles only Sam Snead is ahead of him now with 82.
“I’ve had a number of good years in my career so far and I feel like I’ve got a lot more ahead of me,” Woods said. “It feels great to get to 74 wins and obviously pass Jack. It’s something I’m very proud of.”