Golf is not a game conducive to streaks, with so much changing week to week, hole to hole, even shot to shot. Which is what makes the precipice Jin Young Ko stood on all the more impressive.
Heading into this week’s BMW Ladies Championship, the world No.2 had carded 14 consecutive scores in the 60s, matching the LPGA marks of Annika Sorenstam (2005) and So Yeon Ryu (2016-2017) for most in tour history.
“Of course, that’s not my sole goal. When I go on course, I focus on myself. But I think that it helps you as a player to have some motivating factors,” Ko said ahead of yesterday’s opening round at LPGA International Busan in South Korea. “I will be happy to break a record and make a new record. I think it’s really important for me to focus and concentrate on my game and also enjoy the game. And I think that at the end of the day, the records will be determined by how I play on the course and what kind of attitude I have.
“So the pressure is there, but I think that I can keep the pressure in check. And I also think that having that ambition, I guess, to break records and that desire is also what drives players in general to be better.”
Unfortunately for Ko, the streak came to an end when she shot a one-under 71. Yet her performance in matching Sorenstam and Ryu’s all-time records got us thinking: where does her feat stand against other streaks in golf?
So, we went back through the history books to look at record streaks in pro golf and came up with, in our humble opinion, a list of the most impressive:
Most consecutive years with a win
Kathy Whitworth pulled off this remarkable stretch on the LPGA for 17 straight years, with Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer doing the same for the men.
Jack Nicklaus’ Open Championship streak
The Golden Bear finished no worse than T-6 for 15 straight years at the Open Championship, with three wins and six runner-up results in that span.
Jin Young Ko is no stranger to streaks. In 2019, she bettered Tiger Woods’ mark of 110 holes without a bogey by going 114 holes, a stretch that saw Ko win the Canadian Women’s Open.
Byron Nelson’s win streak
Arguably the most famous streak in the sport, Nelson won 11 straight PGA Tour events from March to August in 1945 – including the PGA Championship, the only Major played that year. The streak eventually ended with a T-4 finish at the Memphis Invitational.
That would be 65 straight events finishing inside the top 10, a stretch that spanned four years.
Most consecutive under-par rounds
Lydia Ko and Annika Sorenstam share this record at 29 consecutive rounds under par. On the PGA Tour the record is owned, perhaps surprisingly, by Tim Petrovic at 26 rounds.
Here’s another impressive accomplishment by Sorenstam: she had holds the record for most consecutive years winning the same tournament, having been the champion of the Mizuno Classic five straight times from 2001-2005. The PGA Tour record is four, accomplished by Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen and Tiger Woods (twice).
The ultimate fairway finder
For 10 consecutive years on the PGA Tour (1981-1990), Calvin Peete was the leader in driving accuracy. In his best year, 1983, he hit 1,029 of 1,217 fairways, for a driving percentage of 84.55 percent, the best on record.
Tiger Woods holds the record for most consecutive weeks as world No.1 at 281. He’s also second on the list at 264 weeks. In a distant third is Greg Norman at 96 weeks.
Tiger’s cut streak at 142 tournaments is well-known. Just as impressive: Woods beat the field average in 89 straight events.
Most consecutive birdies in a round
Nine, shared by Mark Calcavecchia and Kevin Chappell. Calcavecchia accomplished his feat at the 2009 Canadian Open, with Chappell matching it in 2019 on the way to a 59 at the Greenbrier Classic.