Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Book Review: The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2018

I love sports trivia and always want to know more than what I’m given. If I read something about so-and-so being the second person to (fill in the blank), I NEED to know who the first was. I know Sergio Garcia won the Masters last year, but who donned the green jacket the year I was born? The Internet is a wonderful resource, but for those of us who enjoy going “old school” there’s The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2018.

Did you know Ben Hogan earned $42,556 in 1946 - the year he won 13 events? That dollar amount wasn’t matched again until 1954, when Bob Toski earned $65,819, winning four events.

Speaking of money … The first million-dollar season on the PGA TOUR came in 1988, when Curtis Strange won four tournaments (including the US Open) to bank $1,147,644. Compare that to last year’s leading money winner - Justin Thomas - who took home $9,921,560.

Think Thomas pushing $10 million is impressive? It is, but Vijay Singh (2004) and Tiger Woods (2005, 2007, 2009) have actually surpassed the $10-million mark. And Thomas’ buddy Jordan Spieth banked $12,030,465 in 2015.

Money isn’t everything. Many professional golfers have claimed to be more interested in collecting trophies, as opposed to cash. Most know Sam Snead’s 82 tournament wins is tops on TOUR and Jack Nicklaus’ 18 majors leads Tiger (14) by four, but who has done the most with the least? Meaning, who has multiple majors with the fewest tournament wins? That distinction goes to Hale Irwin, who has three US Open titles (1974, 1979, 1990) and “only” 20 total wins. Raymond Floyd - four majors (1976 Masters, 1986 US Open, 1969 and 1982 PGA Championship) and 22 total wins is in Irwin’s neighborhood.

I know Irwin and Floyd, but one discovery had me running to Google for additional information. Who is/was Jim Barnes? He also won four majors, but managed a mere 21 total victories. Turns out he was an Englishman and early star in the world of professional golf. His majors came at the 1921 US Open, 1925 Open Championship and PGA Championship twice (1916, 1919).

There’s so much more than golf (and sports) in the Almanac, of course. From the economy and business to entertainment and technology, this book is a wealth of information and so much fun to explore:
- Who had a milestone birthday in 2018 (Billy Graham 100, Will Smith 50, Kylie Jenner 21)?
- Have violent crimes gone up or down over the last 25 years? Actually good news to my surprise.
- We had a solar eclipse in 2017. What can we expect in 2018?
- The Great Smokey Mountains National Park was the third-most visited park with more than 11 million visits in 2016. Which two led the way?

I could go on and on, but will leave the rest of this exploration for you. The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2018 is available for purchase at and wherever books are sold. For the eBook version, check your online retailer.

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