Tom Callahan, in his profile of Ernie Els in the November issue of Golf Digest, included a table listing the leaders in longevity – that is, the time between a player’s first and last major titles.
Jack Nicklaus is first at 24 years, followed by Gary Player at 19 years. Harry Vardon was third at 18 years along with Els, whose wins now span the years from 1994-2012.
Tom Watson was in sixteenth place with a longevity of 8 years. But here is the rub – Callahan has placed an asterisk next to his name and reminded us that he would have the new record at 34 if he’d only won that playoff with Stewart Cink at the 2009 British Open.
His second asterisk next to Bobby Jones’ name informed up that his majors include his 6 titles in the U.S and British Amateurs.
What a glorious door Callahan has opened with his concept for an asterisk assisted record book. My favorite would go next to Nicklaus’ second place at the 1972 British Open: If not for Lee Trevino’s lucky chip in on the 71st hole, Nicklaus would have won the first three legs of the Grand Slam.
Asterisks aside Nicklaus remains the king of longevity, something he proved once again on the senior tour. He owns the record for most senior majors with 8, and he is the only player to have won three in a row, and to have won four different senior majors.
If and when someone breaks his records, perhaps an asterisk should be placed next to their name that says: Player A broke the record when there were 5 senior majors in a season.