Gordon Gray’s extraordinary career of 18 major victories was only stopped at the 2006 Masters
Glory and fortune are both draining away from golf as the sport’s greatest players make huge layoffs.
Golfers like Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods are leaving a considerable amount of money in the bank, but are not playing in the top tier events.
So what do people expect to come next from a sport that’s based on daring, opinion and gut feelings on the back nine?
Plenty of people, apparently, some of them even brave enough to bet on it.
Deutsche Bank Championship
Earlier this month, fourfold odds were given on American golfer Phil Mickelson and Frenchman Thomas Pieters winning The Deutsche Bank Championship in the US.
This is the same competition which saw Tiger Woods crowned champion earlier this week, but even the world number one had his chance.
Good day for Thomas Pieters! He is doing what he does best for Europe 😉 pic.twitter.com/UHxQVsUx01 — Europe Tour (@EuropeTour) September 29, 2017
The plaudits pour in too – his celebration video has gone viral thanks to his sprightly style and ability to do shots out of the rough.
After all, no-one could have told us – even the 14-time major winner himself – that that one would go in for eagle.
He’s not even missing much though – he’s -65 for the week.
Before he exploded into stardom at the Ryder Cup, Paul Casey was a relative unknown to many.
In 2005, he just missed out on winning one of the biggest prizes in golf – the British Open.
Thomas Pieters hit an eagle on the third hole of his final round at this year’s Deutsche Bank Championship
He received a reputation as being able to rise to the occasion, playing exceptional golf in his favourite Open weeks at St Andrews, Royal Troon and Hoylake.
It may well be his self-belief in the moments leading up to a tournament deciding shot that all this is coming down to – but we’ll need to see for ourselves.
Along with the other majors, the World Golf Championships also attract some pretty big names to their event in China.
No-one, perhaps, more so than England’s world number one Jordan Spieth.
Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth exchange words on the 16th green at The Barracuda Championship in 2011
A stellar cast for this event included a pairing of Spieth and fellow American Phil Mickelson (WGC-Bridgestone Invitational), and World number four Justin Rose and Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke.
The American victories usually depend on playing well in qualifying – but some other big names have also a strong record in that sort of tournament.
And the field from Northern Ireland boasts some pretty big names, with Mickelson and Europe’s veteran Ernie Els taking to the course.