Who wins the battle of best five-year run?
Sorenstam admitted last week that playing with Woods has always been a learning experience, that he doesn't give her strokes and that she has never beaten him. In fact, Sorenstam said, she really hasn't come close.
This weekend in the California desert, Sorenstam gets another chance, and it will be in front of a national television audience. And given the nature of the Skins Game, it isn't beyond belief to think that Sorenstam could win the competition that will also feature Fred Couples and Adam Scott.
This long-time staple of the Silly Season is more about timing than good play, and the disadvantages Sorenstam faces competing against men can be masked in such a competition.
No doubt, she'll be trying her best to beat them all, but in a few down moments, perhaps Woods and Sorenstam can debate who had the better five-year run in the game. The two Orlando, Fla., residents, who are both represented by IMG's Mark Steinberg, have some pretty gaudy numbers to compare.
Sorenstam just capped an eight-win season by capturing the LPGA's season-ending ADT Championship in a playoff. It was the 56th victory of her career but the 38th since the start of the 2000 season.
Although Woods had a down season, winning just once on the PGA Tour (he also won Sunday in Japan), the conclusion to the 2003 season also marked the end to an amazing five-year run that saw Woods win 32 times.
Whose five-year march was better?
Well, first let's throw out the money, where there's no comparison because of the large disparity between their respective tours. Woods won more than $34.2 million in that five-year stretch starting in 1999, while Sorenstam banked more than $10 million from 2000 through 2004.
How about money titles?
Sorenstam finished second on the money list in 2000, then rattled off four consecutive money titles. Woods won the money title four straight years from 1999 to 2002, then finished second in 2003.
How about major championships?
From 2000 through 2004, Sorenstam captured five majors, bringing her total to seven. She has won at least one in each of the past three seasons, including two in 2003. Woods captured seven of his eight majors from 1999 to 2003, including four in a row starting with the 2000 U.S. Open through the 2001 Masters. He also won the Masters and U.S. Open in 2002, but hasn't added a grand slam event since.
In each of the five seasons from 1999 through 2003, Woods' scoring average was better than 69. In fact, in 2000, he had an amazing 67.79. Sorenstam broke 69 twice, a 68.7 in '02 and again this year, when she was a whopping 1.29 strokes ahead of Grace Park. (Sorenstam did not win the Vare Trophy because she did not play enough rounds.)
Woods won nine times in 2000, including three straight majors. It was the first time since Sam Snead won 11 times in 1950 that a player won as many as nine times. Sorenstam won 11 LPGA events in 2002, joining Mickey Wright (who won 11 and 13) as the only players to win so often. She won one major during that year.
So Woods captured more majors, but Sorenstam won more tournaments. Woods had the better scoring average, but Sorenstam had the better career year. Both won the same number of money titles.
You could argue either way -- and Annika and Tiger may do just that when they get together this weekend.
Bob Harig covers golf for the St. Petersburg Times and is a frequent contributor to ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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