by Matt Kupec
April 14, 2019
Watching Tiger Woods win the Master’s Golf Tournament this past weekend was a magical moment! I don’t know about you, but I was captivated by Tiger’s play and his remarkable return to the winner’s circle at Augusta National to capture his 5th Master’s title. I couldn’t pull myself away from the television throughout the entire final round. And the celebration after the 18th hole was pretty cool – it was great to see a golfer show so much emotion!!
With Tiger’s 15th major golf tournament won, it brought back all the talk about his chase of Jack Nicklaus’ record 18 major championships. As the pundits rambled on about this subject, I decided to take a deep look at the PGA Tour Players who have won the most major championships.
But we added a twist to our analysis. Professional golf is unlike the Olympic sports tradition where “champions” are recognized by a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finish, winning either a gold, silver or bronze medal. Golf is now an Olympic sport so we thought we would also add in a column showing the number of second place finishes (or silver awards) that these the major champions have earned over the years.
Some interesting stuff as it is widely known that Jack Nicklaus has won the 18 major tournaments. But as not nearly as widely known is that Jack finished second a whopping 19 times. Jack’s 37 wins and 2nd place finishes (gold and silver) are dramatically higher than Tiger Woods at 2nd place with 21 wins of either 1st or 2nd place.
Let’s take a look at the winners:
Most Major Tournament Wins
|Rank||Golfer||Country||Year Won||Masters||US Open||British Open||PGA||Total|
|1||Jack Nicklaus||United States||1962-1968||6||4||3||5||18|
|2||Tiger Woods||United States||1997-2019||5||3||3||4||15|
|3||Walter Hogen||United States||1914-1929||0||2||4||5||11|
|4||Ben Hogan||United States||1946-1953||2||4||1||2||9|
|5||Gary Player||South Africa||1959-1976||3||1||3||2||9|
|6||Tom Watson||United States||1975-1983||2||1||5||0||8|
|8||Bobby Jones||United States||1923-1930||0||4||3||0||7|
|9||Gene Sarazen||United States||1922-1935||1||2||1||3||7|
|10||Sam Snead||United States||1942-1954||3||0||1||3||7|
|11||Arnold Palmer||United States||1958-1964||4||1||2||0||7|
|12||Lee Trevino||United States||1968-1984||0||2||2||2||6|
|15||John Henry Taylor||England||1894-1913||0||0||5||0||5|
|16||Bryon Nelson||United States||1937-1945||2||1||0||2||5|
|19||Phil Mickelson||United States||2004-2013||3||0||1||1||5|
Facts about Most Wins
- Did you know that Harry Vardon’s country of Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands between England and France. A self-governing dependency of the United Kingdom, with a mix of British and French cultures it’s known for its beaches, cliffside walking trails, inland valleys and historical castles. Plus, Harry brought home 7 major championships (1 US Open, 6 British Opens)
- Bobby Jones was one of the most influential figures in the history of golf who founded and helped design the Augusta National Golf Club, and co-founded the Masters Tournament.
- Three of the all-time winners – James Braid, John Henry Taylor and Peter Thomson – only won the British Open, albeit five times each!
- 12 of the 19 major champions are from the United States.
Most Second Place Finishes of the Major Winners
|Rank||Golfer||Country||Year Won||2nd Place|
|1||Jack Nicklaus||United States||1962-1968||19|
|2||Phil Mickelson||United States||2004-2013||11|
|3||Arnold Palmer||United States||1958-1964||10|
|4||Tom Watson||United States||1975-1983||8|
|5||Sam Snead||United States||1942-1954||8|
|6||John Henry Taylor||England||1894-1913||7|
|7||Tiger Woods||United States||1997-2019||6|
|8||Ben Hogan||United States||1946-1953||6|
|9||Gary Player||South Africa||1959-1976||6|
|11||Bryon Nelson||United States||1937-1945||6|
|12||Gene Sarazen||United States||1922-1935||4|
|14||Walter Hogen||United States||1914-1929||3|
|17||Bobby Jones||United States||1923-1930||0|
|18||Lee Trevino||United States||1968-1984||0|
Facts about 2nd Place Finishes:
- Jack Nicklaus also has a significant lead in number of 2nd place finishes, eight more than Phil Mickelson who has been the runner-up eleven times.
- Phil Mickelson is 2nd in number of 2nd place finishes compared to his 19th place standing for number of Major Championships.
Most Combined Wins and Second Place Finishes
|1||Jack Nicklaus||United States||1962-1968||18||19||37|
|2||Tiger Woods||United States||1997-2019||15||6||21|
|3||Arnold Palmer||United States||1958-1964||7||10||17|
|4||Tom Watson||United States||1975-1983||8||8||16|
|5||Sam Snead||United States||1942-1954||7||8||15|
|6||Ben Hogan||United States||1946-1953||9||6||15|
|7||Gary Player||South Africa||1959-1976||9||6||15|
|8||Phil Mickelson||United States||2004-2013||5||11||14|
|9||Walter Hogen||United States||1914-1929||11||3||14|
|11||John Henry Taylor||England||1894-1913||5||7||12|
|12||Bryon Nelson||United States||1937-1945||5||6||11|
|13||Gene Sarazen||United States||1922-1935||7||4||11|
|17||Bobby Jones||United States||1923-1930||7||0||7|
|19||Lee Trevino||United States||1968-1984||6||0||6|
Facts about Combined Wins:
- 12 of the 19 all-time Major Champions have won more titles than they have finishing second.
- Lee Trevino and Peter Thomson combined for 11 major victories and no second place finishes.
Tiger Woods victory at Augusta National Club this past weekend to earn his 5th Master’s Championship was one of the most memorable – epic was the word most often used – golf tournaments of all-time. As CBS’s Jim Nantz said, “Tiger’s comeback is one of the most remarkable comebacks – if not the most remarkable – in ALL of sports history. We agree with Jim Nantz. A truly captivating Master’s!!
by Matt Kupec
March 25, 2019
Southern Illinois University Director of Athletics Jerry Kill recently made a great hire by bringing former SIU basketball standout Bryan Mullen back to Carbondale as the Salukis new head basketball coach. Coach Mullen has been a top assistant for the Loyola Chicago basketball program over the last four years and should return the Salukis back to the hierarchy of college basketball.
At thirty-two years old, Mullen becomes one of the youngest head coaches in Division I basketball. In addition to Coach Mullen, the SIU football coach Nick Hill is just 33 years old. Combined these two head coaches total just 65 years in age!
Is this unusual to have such young coaches or is this consistent with trends in the coaching field?
Immediately I thought about my alma mater UNC with 67 year-old football coach Mack Brown, and 68 year-old basketball coach Roy Williams. Heck, the two SIU coaches together are younger than EITHER Coach Brown and Coach Williams!! But also remember that Coach Brown was 34 years old when hired as Appalachian State University’s football coach. Coach Williams was 42 years old when Kansas made the former UNC assistant its head basketball coach. Neither of the Hall of Fame coaches started head coaching careers at UNC but both have had remarkable success in Chapel Hill
But even at UNC, young coaches have been hired in the past. Bill Dooley, who was my UNC college coach in the late 1970’s, was hired in 1967 at the tender age of 33 years old. The basketball coach at the time was “ancient” 37 year- old Dean Smith who had been hired six years earlier at the even younger age of 30 years old. So, UNC has had mix of young and old over its history.
So, is it the trend to hire young coaches? In this blog post, we have started our research by looking at the current crop of football and basketball coaches in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Subsequent posts will provide analysis of all the other major conferences. Of note is that the ACC has last legendary seasoned coaches Rick Pitino (66), Mark Richt (60), Paul Johnson (61), and Bobby Petrino (58) in the last year.
Here’s what we found:
- Age of ACC Football and Basketball Coaches
|Atlantic Coast Conference: Ages of Football & Basketball Head Coaches|
|Duke||David Cutcliffe||64||Mike Krzyzewski||72||68.0|
|North Carolina||Mack Brown||67||Roy Williams||68||67.5|
|Syracuse||Din Barber||57||Jim Boeheim||74||65.5|
|Notre Dame||Brian Kelly||57||Mike Brey||60||58.5|
|Miami||Manny Diaz||45||Jim Larranaga||69||57.0|
|Boston College||Steve Addazio||59||Jim Christian||54||56.5|
|Florida St.||Willie Taggart||42||Leonard Hamilton||70||56.0|
|Wake Forest||Dave Clawson||51||Danny Manning||52||51.5|
|Virginia||Bronco Mendenhall||53||Tony Bennett||49||51.0|
|Clemson||Dabo Swinney||49||Brad Brownell||50||49.5|
|Pittsburgh||Pat Narduzzi||53||Jeff Capel||44||48.5|
|Louisville||Scott Satterfield||45||Chris Mack||49||47.0|
|NC State||Dave Doeren||47||Kevin Keatts||46||46.5|
|Georgia Tech||Geoff Collins||47||Josh Pastner||41||44.0|
|Virginia Tech||Justin Fuente||41||Buzz Williams||46||43.5|
- A Look at the Coaches by Descending Age
|> 70 years||Jim Boeheim||74||Syracuse||Basketball|
|Leonard Hamilton||70||Florida St.||Basketball|
|Between 60-69 Years Old||Jim Larranaga||69||Miami||Basketball|
|Roy Williams||68||North Carolina||Basketball|
|Mack Brown||67||North Carolina||Football|
|Mike Brey||60||Notre Dame||Basketball|
|Between 50-59 Years Old||Steve Addazio||59||Boston College||Football|
|Brian Kelly||57||Notre Dame||Football|
|Jim Christian||54||Boston College||Basketball|
|Danny Manning||52||Wake Forest||Basketball|
|Dave Clawson||51||Wake Forest||Football|
|< 50 years old||Dabo Swinney||49||Clemson||Football|
|Dave Doeren||47||NC State||Football|
|Geoff Collins||47||Georgia Tech||Football|
|Kevin Keatts||46||NC State||Basketball|
|Buzz Williams||46||Virginia Tech||Basketball|
|Willie Taggart||42||Florida St.||Football|
|Justin Fuente||41||Virginia Tech||Football|
|Josh Pastner||41||Georgia Tech||Basketball|
- There really isn’t a “right” age that works for when Directors of Athletics are making head coaching decisions. Some of the coaching legends like were hired at very young ages. Mike Krzyzewski was 33 years old when he started at Duke and Jim Boeheim was 32 years old when he was tapped to replace Roy Danforth as head coach at Syracuse.
- The five oldest head coaches in the ACC are all basketball coaches – Boehim at Syracuse, Krzyzewski at Duke, Hamilton at Florida St., Larranaga at Miami and Williams at UNC. Mack Brown of UNC is the oldest football coach at 67 years old.
- Thirteen of the thirty (43%) ACC coaches are between 40 and 40 years old.
- There are no current ACC head coaches younger than forty years old.
Athletics have always been an important part of Matt Kupec’s life. Born and raised in Syosset, NY on Long Island as the middle child of seven children of Bill and Helen Kupec, Matt enjoyed a prolific high school career as an outstanding student-athlete to become one of the most decorated high school athletes on Long Island.
A three sport star – football, basketball and baseball – Matt Kupec earned many honors and awards including prep All-American in football where he led his Syosset HS football squad to an undefeated season and #1 ranking as the top High School team in New York. Matt was also awarded the highly coveted Thorp Award, given to the top player in Nassau County.
Matt Kupec was an all-county player in all three sports during his high school career. Please remember that Nassau County has over 80 public and private high schools. As a basketball player, Matt was a sharpshooting point guard in basketball with a career high game of 34 points at a time when the three-point shot was yet instituted. In baseball, he was a pitcher and shortstop. In Matt’s senior year in high baseball, he pitched three games during Syosset’s march to the Nassau County semi-finals – a one-hitter, a two-hitter, and a three-hitter. Matt struck out a combined 21 batters, gave us just 6 hits, and walked zero – yes zero – batters in those 21 innings.
With many full scholarship offers to choose from following his successful football career, Matt Kupec chose to accept a full scholarship to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill because of its high academic standing and strong football program.
At UNC, Matt was the starting quarterback for four years and led the Tar Heels to bowl games in three of the four seasons. He was named Most Valuable Player in the Liberty and Gator Bowls becoming the 1st player in Atlantic Coast Conference history to earn two bowl game MVP awards.
Matt Kupec set nineteen season and career passing records while a UNC quarterback. In fact, two of those records – most consecutive games throwing a touchdown pass and most wins as a starting quarterback – remain standing nearly forty years after his playing career. Matt led the ACC in five passing categories his senior year including setting an ACC record for most touchdown passes in one season.
After a brief stint with the Seattle Seahawks as a free-agent quarterback, Matt Kupec began a long career in higher education as a fundraising executive with stints at the University of Bridgeport, Hofstra University and twenty-one years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In these roles, Matt played was actively involved with the athletic administration staffs and coaches in raising money to support the athletic teams at these institutions.
Of the philanthropic gifts that Matt helped to raise for athletics, the most significant gift was the lead gift form Charles “Charlie” Loudermilk to fund the building of the Loudermilk Center for Excellence within Kenan Stadium on the University of North Carolina campus, a 150,000 square-foot facility that serves all of UNC’s nearly 800 student-athletes across 28 sports.
All of these experiences as an athlete and as a higher administrator supporting a wide variety of men’s and women’s athletic programs, have given Matt Kupec an insight and perspective to the athletic world that few have experienced.