Brandel Chamblee Says Rory McIlroy’s Team Title Should Count Less Than Individual Wins

Rory McIlroy's win with Shane Lowry at the Zurich Classic was his 25th official title, as the Tour doesn't distinguish between formats in all-time win totals.
Apr 28, 2024; Avondale, Louisiana, USA; Shane Lowry celebrates with Rory McIlroy after winning the
Apr 28, 2024; Avondale, Louisiana, USA; Shane Lowry celebrates with Rory McIlroy after winning the / Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Rory McIlroy joined some fine company when he captured the Zurich Classic of New Orleans along with his partner, Shane Lowry, on Sunday.

The victory was the 25th of his PGA Tour career and tied him with Johnny Miller, Tommy Armour and Macdonald Smith for 23rd all-time on the PGA Tour victory list. He moved one win ahead of Gary Player and Dustin Johnson.

The only active player on the PGA Tour ahead of McIlroy is Tiger Woods with 82.

Shane Lowry hugs Rory McIlroy after winning the 2024 Zurich Classic.
Rory McIlroy now has 24 individual wins on the PGA Tour and one team win, with Shane Lowry at last week's Zurich Classic. / Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

But does the win deserve some sort of other designation or asterisk?

Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee said as much via a social media post.

And he took it further by saying that Woods should be the all-time victory leader with 82—and not tied with Sam Snead, who has five team victories that count as part of his total. Woods has none.

“Most golf fans, if not ALL golf fans assume 'individual’ wins when a player’s total tour wins are named … but Sam Snead has 5 teams counted against his 82 wins while Tiger has ZERO team wins in his 82 wins … so I ask you who has won the most tour events of all time??? It is Tiger,” Chamblee said.

It is certainly an interesting discussion.

Woods joined Snead with 82 official victories when he captured the 2019 Zozo Championship.

Snead is credited with his 82nd victory at the 1965 Greater Greensboro Classic. His total was altered several times over the years as the Tour sought to find better records. His first victory came in 1936 and for a time he was credited with 84 before the PGA Tour twice changed it, first to 81 and then to 82.

Snead captured team victories with Vic Ghezzi in 1936, with Ralph Guldahl in 1939 and 1940 and with Jim Ferrier in 1950 and 1952.

Team events were a far more prominent part of the schedule in Snead’s time. Byron Nelson is credited with two team victories, including the first of his record 11 in a row in 1945, with Jug McSpaden.

Throughout Woods’s career, he has never played in an official team event on the PGA Tour.

Jack Nicklaus, who has 73 victories to rank third all time, has two wins that were with a partner—both with Arnold Palmer. The events were in 1970 and 1971, called the National Four-Ball Team Championship followed by the National Team Championship. (The event was played six times from 1965 through 1971 and Nicklaus and Palmer also won it when it was not official.)

Palmer’s 62 PGA Tour victories include his two wins with Nicklaus.

And to take this farther … Ben Hogan, who won 64 times, has eight team wins, six of them with Jimmy Demaret.

With his next victory, McIlroy will tie Henry Picard with 26.


Published
Bob Harig

BOB HARIG

Bob Harig is a senior golf writer for Sports Illustrated. He has more than 25 years experience covering golf, including 15 at ESPN. Bob is a regular guest on Sirius XM PGA Tour Radio and has written two books, DRIVE: The Lasting Legacy of Tiger Woods and Tiger and Phil: Golf's Most Fascinating Rivalry. He graduated from Indiana University where he earned an Evans Scholarship, named in honor of the great amateur golfer Charles (Chick) Evans Jr. Bob, a former president of the Golf Writers Association of America, lives in Clearwater, Florida.