Can Tiger Catch Jack?
Much has been said about Tiger’s “Majors” drought. Maybe it’s deserved. But it’s not as bad a drought as you think. With Tiger playing well this week thus far at the Masters and currently sitting three back from the lead as we head into the weekend, it is important to put into perspective his career and whether or not he can still attain the goal of having won the most “Major” championships.
First, let’s review Jack Nicklaus’ career. Over a 24 year career, Nicklaus won 18 Major championships. His first career win came in 1962 at the age of 22. He won at least two majors in one year an exception five times. He won his 15th major at the age of 38 and got his last title in 1986 at the age of 46. Twice, he went three years between major championships, while going six years between his 17th and 18th championship.
Let’s put that into perspective. In 1997, Tiger Woods won his first major at the age of 21 by winning the Masters by 12 strokes. You read right. He won his first masters by 12 strokes. He has been on the pro tour 14 years and has averaged a major per year. At 35, he is still three years ahead of Jack Nicklaus in terms of age when winning the 15th master. He has gone three years without winning a major championship, last winning the 2008 U.S. Open. This ties for his longest drought since failing to win a major championship between the 2002 U.S. Open and the 2005 Masters. Yet, he is still on track to win more majors than Jack Nicklaus.
Tiger may again fail to seal the deal this weekend. He has had personal troubles and also likes to change his swing every single tournament. But if what we saw today was him recapturing his old self (and causing those paired with him to self destruct like his opponent today), then the the golfing circuit has something to be concerned about again. There is no reason that Tiger Woods cannot maintain his form for the next two rounds and remain posed enough to collect that 15th Major and his 5th green jacket, all the while putting himself one Major closer to the Golden Bear.
Here is to hoping that he is finally back in the swing of things. No pun intended.