Officially – that is, according to Guinness World Records – the longest drive ever recorded in competitive golf was 515 yards, achieved by the late Michael Hoke ‘Mike’ Austin during a qualifying tournament for the U.S. Senior National Open at Winterwood Golf Course, Las Vegas in 1974. Using an old-fashioned persimmon driver, Austin achieved a carry of over 400 yards and when his ball came to rest it was some 65 yards past the flagstick on the par-4 fifth hole.
However, unofficially, the longest drive ever recorded was an eye-watering 787 yards, achieved by Carl Hooper in the Texas Open at Oak Hills Country Club, San Antonio in 1992. Hooper used a metal driver, but a rudimentary model. Nevertheless, his tee shot on the par-4 third hole landed on a concrete cart path and began a protracted journey to a spot behind the twelfth green, some 300 yards beyond his intended target. The general consensus was that the ball had travelled at least 750 yards from the third tee and his caddy worked out the yardage as 787 yards.
Conventional wisdom dictates that cricket derives from the ancient game of ‘club-ball’, although it is unclear whether the latter was a specific game, or a generic term used to describe a variety of folk-games – all of which involved hitting a ball with a stick – which were popular in Medieval England. Similarly, the name ‘cricket’ is believed to derive from the Middle French word ‘criquet’, meaning ‘goal post’, and came into usage during the Norman Period.
What is better known is the history of cricket from the mid-fifteenth century onwards. During the reign of Elizabeth I, in 1598, Surrey county coroner John Derrick testified in court to playing a game known as ‘creckett’ on a plot of common land in Guildford while a pupil at the Royal Grammar School, formerly the Free School, fifty years earlier. Certainly, by the early sixteenth century, cricket was well established throughout the home counties of England, including Kent, Surrey and Sussex. The first reference to a ‘great match’, an eleven-a-side affair for fifty guineas, was recorded in Sussex in 1697 and, just over a decade later, in 1709, the first recorded inter-county match, between Kent and Surrey, was staged.
Other landmark dates in the history of cricket include 1744, when the Laws of Cricket were first issued by the London Club, and 1788, when the Laws of Cricket were revised by the newly-formed Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). For the record, the first Test match took place between Australia and England in Melbourne in 1877, with the home team winning by 45 runs.
The undisputed heavyweight champion is, of course, a boxer who is recognised as world champion, in the heavyweight division, by each of the sanctioning bodies in professional boxing. Prior to the foundation of the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) in 1920, and the National Boxing Association (NBA) in 1921, the world heavyweight championship was a lineal championship, which could only be won by defeating the existing title holder.
In the early Twenties, the lineal heavyweight champion was William Harrison ‘Jack’ Dempsey, otherwise known as ‘The Manassa Mauler’, and he became inaugural NBA champion on July 2, 1921 and inaugural NYSAC champion on July 24, 1922. Of course, this was long before the foundation of the World Boxing Council (WBC) in 1963, the International Boxing Federation (IBF) in 1983 and the World Boxing Organisation (1988) but, having held the NBA and NYSAC titles simultaneously between July 24, 1922 and September 23, 1926, Jack Dempsey was effectively the first undisputed heavyweight champion in history.
His reign came to an end at the hands of the hitherto unheralded Gene Tunney, who won the NBA title, by unanimous decision, at Sesquicentennial Stadium, Philadelphia. Tunney also won the rematch – later christened ‘The Long Count Fight’ – at Soldiers Field, Chicago, a year later in similar fashion.
The simple answer is no, he has not. Nevertheless, having completed his comeback from a debilitating back injury – which saw him plummet to #1,199 in the world golf rankings and put his career at risk – by winning the Masters Tournament in April, 2019, Tiger Woods remains head and shoulders above the current crop of golfers in terms of major titles won.
Notwithstanding the admirable Tom Watson, who turns 70 in 2019, yet continues to play competitive golf – albeit limited to a handful of appearances on the senior tour – Tiger Woods has ten more ‘major’ victories to his name than any other current player. His nearest rival in that respect is Phil Mickelson, who won his fifth major at the Open in 2013, but is five years Woods’ senior and, with all due respect, is running out of time to make up ground on his illustrious rival.
Indeed, Woods’ career total of 15 majors is second in the all-time list behind only Jack Nicklaus who, between 1962 and 1986 – when he won the Masters Tournament, for a record sixth time, at the age of 46 – amassed 18 Grand Slam wins. When he won his first major championship, the Masters Tournament in 1997, at the age of 21, Woods beat Nicklaus, by then a 57-year-old veteran, by 29 strokes, but over two decades later still has work to do to pass the ‘Golden Bear’ for most major golf championships won.