Tiger Woods hasn’t won a major since 2008. Based on the Eldrick we used to know, it’s incredibly hard to believe that it’s been six years. He won 14 major championships before his 33rd birthday and was on pace to shatter Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 major titles. He was the most dominant athlete on planet earth, and as far as I’m concerned, it wasn’t debatable.
Since the infamous infidelity scandal, Tiger has played in 14 major tournaments. His combined score in the first two rounds of those events was 13-under par, while he was an uncharacteristic 21-over par in rounds three and four. The Tiger we once knew always used to conquer the competition on the weekend. Now, for some reason, Tiger can’t close.
Golf is undoubtedly one of the most mentally challenging sports in the world. Anyone who has played even a single round knows exactly what I’m talking about. Since 2010, Tiger hasn’t had the killer instinct during majors that we became so accustomed to seeing. We expected Tiger to win every tournament he entered. He played with a sense of invincibility that struck fear into the rest of the field and captivated the audience like never before in the sport of golf. His mental strength is what set him apart from his competitors. He won’t catch Jack until he regains that confidence and psychological edge.
Tiger is 38 years old and has played in a total of 64 majors in his career. Guess who else won 14 of 64 majors entering their age-38 season. That’s right… Jack Nicklaus. Right now, the two legends of the game are in a dead heat.
The other factor that can prevent Tiger from becoming the winningest golfer of all-time is his health. He’s always had a violent swing, and it’s put a lot of stress on his body over the years. If he can avoid another serious injury, then there’s no telling how much damage he can do on the PGA Tour over the next decade.
If there’s any course that Tiger can end the drought on, it’s Augusta National. Since he turned professional in 1996, Tiger has finished in the top 8 at the Masters 13 out of 18 times. He also has three T4 finishes in the four Masters since the scandal and has finished in the top 6 in 6 of the 14 majors he played in over that time.
Although many people are skeptical of his chances of catching Jack, I believe it’s only a matter of time until Tiger wins number 15, and once he does, expect his confidence to skyrocket. Relief will also set in and a man who has won 79 times on the PGA Tour will be liberated. Once that happens, I won’t be surprised if he hits 20 majors one day. If his career ended right now, it could still be argued that he is the greatest athlete who ever lived.
Let’s get one thing straight. Tiger will never dominate the PGA Tour like he once did. The rest of the field is too good and the sport is as competitive as it’s ever been. However, last time I checked, he’s won eight events in the last two years and is still the number one ranked player in the world. If there’s anyone in sports I will never count out, it’s Tiger Woods.