After years of speculation, it is becoming clearer that Tiger Woods will not break Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 Major championships. He is stagnated at 14 wins since 2008. Since his last Major win at the US Open Tiger Woods’ performance is mediocre at best. The main reason for his decline is injuries. Each year, he injures more and more of his body, such that he appears to be at the point of being permanently broken.
In all fairness to Woods, he is by far the greatest golfer in the past 20 years. During this period, his 79 wins eclipse all players by at least two times. He reintroduced fitness to the young players; leading by example, his physical prowess was unmatched for years. Woods’ work ethic was unmatched.
He is the all-time money winner and the highest paid athlete ever.Sport’s first self-made billionaire innovative course management techniques and was virtually unmatched on and around the green for 10 years. Except in two categories, Major wins and most professional wins, Tiger Woods has accomplished more than any other modern day golfer has.
The great Sam Snead won 82 professional tournaments with seven Majors over a span of 30 years. He was considered the greatest golfer of all time until Jack Nicklaus roared onto the golfing world in 1962. Snead reshaped golf and forced changes that benefited players like Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods. In 1962, Sam Snead extended his fame by being the only male professional golfer to win a LPGA tournament. Not surprisingly, Tiger Woods overshadows Snead in every category but one – wins. However, at 38 Tiger Woods still has time to win at least four more professional tournaments and claim the title as most wins of all time. It is unlikely that he will win a tournament this year, but by the time he turns 45 Woods will likely have 90 or more wins.
The next benchmark, and apparently the most important to all golfing pundits, is the most Major wins. Currently held by Jack Nicklaus, his 18 wins is almost a bridge too far for Woods! Nicklaus’ last major win (The Masters) occurred at the age of 46. It was a surprise to everyone, especially Nicklaus. Pundits will claim that Woods still has eight more years and 32 more opportunities to match Nicklaus’ famous victory. Unfortunately for Woods, injuries will severely impact his ability to win another Major.
Throughout his career, Tiger Woods has had 14 major injuries in every major part of his body. His left knee is the most injured and his back is a distant second. Recently having back surgery, it is unknown if Woods will make it back for any part of the 2014 golf season. Over the years, it seems that his recovery time is longer and his playing time is shorter because of injuries. There is little wonder that his body is starting to break down; his ‘grip it and rip it’ style has shaped the modern golfing world, but at a great cost to his physical stamina. Injuries will be a major reason determining why Tiger Woods will not break Nicklaus’ record; but, it is not the only reason.
Prior to his 2008 knee injury, Tiger Woods won 14 majors in 12 years. Since, he has competed well. However, except for the 2009 PGA Championship where he finished second, Woods has not finished higher than fourth. His record sounds great, but not by any standard Tiger Woods is measured by.
Since 2008, Woods has 14 professional wins in three years; conversely he has three years with no wins. During his winning years, he was the Woods of old; feared and in the hunt in every tournament. Unfortunately, this mystique of being unbeatable is gone. The younger tour players do not have the same respect or awe for this aging gladiator. As a result, during head-to-head battles against Woods, his mental advantage is gone and therefore, so is his edge.
Competing in a Major is different from regular professional tournaments. The field is world-class, conditions more demanding and pressure almost immeasurable. Major championships are a breed apart and Woods has demonstrated over the past six years that he may not have the physical and mental ability to dominate. The world is watching his every move (talk about pressure) and the young players will take every opportunity to beat this aging superstar!
Tiger Woods is one of the world’s greatest golfers. He has blazed a trail for all to follow and is a highlight reel all on his own. Unfortunately, the combination of injuries and the strong field of young golfers will prevent him from topping Nicklaus’ 18 Major wins.
The Grateful Golfer, Pundit Arena.