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bamagrad03

Who had the best PGA career comeback ever?

23 posts in this topic

The constant debate on whether Tiger is finished or not, while silly, did make me wonder: who had the best career comeback in PGA history? I'm not talking about scoring well in a single round to come back and win. I'm talking about - who's career was on the rocks, left for dead, only to reinvent himself and come back from the bottom?

Give me your best/favorite one and why.

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I have to mention Ernie, and I think Greg Norman was the biggest one not to happen.

I think the best one is Ben Hogan after his accident. It would've been easy to stop playing golf after that and go down with 3 majors as a success, but he managed to not only recover, but post the "Hogan Slam".

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Originally Posted by The Recreational Golfer

Career comeback?

Ben Hogan.

Pretty hard to argue for anyone else. What about, "Other than Ben Hogan . . . ".

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What about John Daly? I know he's not out winning majors, but his level of play has to be considered a considerable comeback.

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Stricker and Westwood are two pretty good examples.
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westwood's is pretty impressive for the modern day.  at one point in 2003, he was 266th in the owgr.

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Originally Posted by jamo

Stricker and Westwood are two pretty good examples.


I agree with this.  Hogan didn't lose his game and then get it back in the same way that these guys did.  It wasn't that he started playing badly and then came back, it was that he couldn't play at all.  Not to say that Hogan's comeback was not even more remarkable, but somehow it seems different than what these guys did.

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In scale, Westwood's comeback was about the same as Tiger's recent one.  He was in the top-10 for 1998-2001, then dropped to the mid 100s (falling as far as 260ish) for 2 years.  He then stayed in the WGCs for the rest of 2003-2007, until he broke through to the top 10 again in 2008.  So he was really only off the map for about 2 years.

I think the answer to this question will be clear in 2 years:  Tiger Woods.

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Originally Posted by k-troop

In scale, Westwood's comeback was about the same as Tiger's recent one.  He was in the top-10 for 1998-2001, then dropped to the mid 100s (falling as far as 260ish) for 2 years.  He then stayed in the WGCs for the rest of 2003-2007, until he broke through to the top 10 again in 2008.  So he was really only off the map for about 2 years.

Except for the obvious (Tiger = 14, Lee = 0), that's a unique comparison, and I kind of like it. Kudos for thinking of it.

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Olly' nearly gave up the game between his two Masters wins because of his arthritic feet, he was dragging himself around his house. Then came back with his second win at Augusta.

Oh and nearly Tom Watson, damn you Cink.

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Originally Posted by Wansteadimp

Olly' nearly gave up the game between his two Masters wins because of his arthritic feet, he was dragging himself around his house. Then came back with his second win at Augusta.

Oh and nearly Tom Watson, damn you Cink.

Considering how well he found his game as a "senior" I'd certainly put Watson in there. If coming back from the yips is a comback, then Langer is the king.

I'd say that if coming back from health problems is a comeback then another senior gets my vote - Bob Murphy.

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Outside of Hogan, what about Hal Sutton?  Fell off the golfing earth, then rebounded to the point of staring down Tiger at the Players' during his Butch prime.

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Sort of disppeared then reappeared later / recently . . .

Scott Verplank

Matt Kuchar

Luke Donald

Ernie Els

Thomas Bjorn

Sergio Garcia

Paul Lawrie

Darren Clarke

Adam Scott

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  • Hogan wrote the book on what a true comeback really is
  • Ken Green is writing a pretty impressive chapter in that book by coming back from serious injury including amputation of a leg to playing in a number of Champions Tour events
  • Olazabel also warrants a chapter, going from barely being able to walk a course to being again being competitive at the highest levels
  • Freddy Couples has a pretty good comeback of his own; even though it seems he never left he really was on the verge of quitting the game due to his back problems but somehow was able to reinvigorate his career to not only dominate the Champions Tour for a while but still be very competitive on the regular Tour
  • Everyone else is pretty much a footnote
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Originally Posted by Clambake

Hogan wrote the book on what a true comeback really is

Ken Green is writing a pretty impressive chapter in that book by coming back from serious injury including amputation of a leg to playing in a number of Champions Tour events

Olazabel also warrants a chapter, going from barely being able to walk a course to being again being competitive at the highest levels

Freddy Couples has a pretty good comeback of his own; even though it seems he never left he really was on the verge of quitting the game due to his back problems but somehow was able to reinvigorate his career to not only dominate the Champions Tour for a while but still be very competitive on the regular Tour

Everyone else is pretty much a footnote

I think it is reasonable to make a distinction between 2 types of legitimate comebacks.  The first would be the Hoganesque, where the comeback is from an injury.  In this category Hogan is nonpareil.  There has never been anything like it, although a case can be made for Harry Vardon, who had to come back from a pretty bad bout with TB that left him with a permanent shake in his hands that made putting exquisitely difficult.  And he then came back and won another 3 British Opens and lost a US Open in the famous playoff with Ray and Ouimet and was still universally regarded as the GOAT until Jones came along..  But, as the category is PGA comebacks, Harry is out on a technicality.

The other category of comeback is where a player just lost his game, but not because of severe injury.  Stricker and Westwood fall into this category.  The ultimate in this category might be if David Duval somehow resurrects his game and wins again and becomes a top golfer again - which seems pretty unlikely.  Personally I would put Tiger in this category, as his injuries are not of the same scale and severity as Hogan's or Vardon's.

Personally I wouldn't put Ollie or Couples, in the same injury category as Hogan (and, by courtesy, Vardon) nor would I put Green in because while his injury was horrific, his subsequent play was not in a category with Hogan or Vardon.

JMHO

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Originally Posted by turtleback

I think it is reasonable to make a distinction between 2 types of legitimate comebacks.  The first would be the Hoganesque, where the comeback is from an injury.  In this category Hogan is nonpareil.  There has never been anything like it, although a case can be made for Harry Vardon, who had to come back from a pretty bad bout with TB that left him with a permanent shake in his hands that made putting exquisitely difficult.  And he then came back and won another 3 British Opens and lost a US Open in the famous playoff with Ray and Ouimet and was still universally regarded as the GOAT until Jones came along..  But, as the category is PGA comebacks, Harry is out on a technicality.

The other category of comeback is where a player just lost his game, but not because of severe injury.  Stricker and Westwood fall into this category.  The ultimate in this category might be if David Duval somehow resurrects his game and wins again and becomes a top golfer again - which seems pretty unlikely.  Personally I would put Tiger in this category, as his injuries are not of the same scale and severity as Hogan's or Vardon's.

Personally I wouldn't put Ollie or Couples, in the same injury category as Hogan (and, by courtesy, Vardon) nor would I put Green in because while his injury was horrific, his subsequent play was not in a category with Hogan or Vardon.

JMHO


I would agree with this also, if anything Hogan was at the peak of his career, to be able to comeback from a near fatal car crash is just short of a miracle.

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