Here he comes...
TIGER - Five letters that invoke a strong reaction from every golf fan.
In November 2009 the now well told tale of his personal life rocked the golf world. Tiger had just come off his first majorless year since 2004, little did we know what lay ahead. We’ve seen eight Tiger wins since then but no majors, and his career has stuttered and spluttered through injury after injury to the point where many doubt if we’ll ever see him play his best golf again.
Rory McIlroy recently commented about the “what have you done for me lately” attitude of the media and sports fans of the 21st century, Tiger Woods is further proof of that. He’s being written off in golf clubs and comments boards all across the golfing world, including the comment sections attached to this article I am sure.
But how good was he? How good can he still be? People wrote him off in 2008 when he turned up to a US Open with a broken leg, but he strolled off with the trophy – are we writing him off too quickly again?
79 PGA Tour wins, 40 European Tour wins, 14 Majors and a nine Vardon Trophies in 14 years between 1999 and 2013.
He completely transformed the sport of golf, he created an era where most weeks that he arrived at an event the rest of the world played for second place.
It was complete theatre each time he would recoil out of his follow through with the club twirling in his left hand while both hands were outstretched in front of him as he began striding after the ball.
In his prime he was the best there has ever been – the only person to ever hold all four majors at one time, amassed the most money (even taking in inflation), has the lowest career scoring average and made an insane 142 cuts in a row.
But he’s made no secret of his life’s goal – to catch Jack Nicklaus’ record 18 major championships and then overtake him.
The only two areas which he falls behind Jack is longevity and major totals. Jack won his majors over a 24-year period starting with his US Open in 1962 and ending with the infamous Masters victory in 1986.
Jack won his 18 majors in 105 attempts a conversion rate of roughly one win in every six he played, he played another 60 majors after his last win but I’ve discounted them for the purpose of a true comparison.
Tiger has so far played 75 major championships and won 14, an average of roughly one win in five attempts.
They both won their first majors at the age of 22, but when Jack celebrated his 41st birthday he was a 17-time major champion, Tiger will be 41 this December and sits stranded at 14.
Jack won his final major at the age of 46, which means that Tiger has four years and 24 possible attempts to get the four wins he needs to catch him in the same timeframe.
Can he stay fit for that many majors in a row? Can he rediscover his vintage best? Questions that we will start to get answers to next week when he tees it up for the first time in 2016 – hopefully.
It’s so easy to forget that for over a decade Tiger did things that no-one else dared to dream about doing – he took on shots that were outrageous, but outrageously pulled them off.
The definition of the Tiger Line is not to attempt the improbable, it’s not the high risk, high reward play, it’s beyond that – it’s the 213 yard 6 iron from a fairway bunker that goes over the water directly at the flag. It’s the completely insane and impossible.
It’s completely impossible for Tiger to catch Jack, with all of the sub-plots of his chipping woes, swing changes, injuries, mental scars, stronger fields – it’s impossible.
That’s why this golf writer is backing Tiger to do it, because he’s Tiger and this would quite simply be a Tiger thing to do.
I'm a writer for #GCW. I like to pretend I'm good at golf and writing because I'm not ready to accept the truth about either...