July 2012. Only a few weeks out from the Open Championship, Tiger Woods sits at number four in the Official World Golf Ranking and number one in the FedExCup standings. Tiger has won more tournaments this year than any other golfer, and as a recent tweet from Sports Illustrated pointed out, his 3 wins this year are as many as arch rival Phil Mickelson has won since 2009.
It’s time to ask the question. Can Tiger Woods return to his greater days?
Let’s get the simple stuff out of the way.
- Tiger will return to number one in the World Golf Rankings – He’s playing well, and since his record of 281 consecutive weeks ended in 2010, no player has spent longer than 40 consecutive weeks in the top spot.
- Tiger will win another major- Despite effectively abdicating his throne in November of 2009, there have been 15 separate major winners, with no one been able to lay a legitimate claim to the title of World’s Best.
- Tiger will pass Jack Nicklaus for the career lead in majors – Woods hasn’t won a major since 2008’s U.S. Open, but that still puts him over a year younger than the career leader was when he won his 15th major tournament. Since Jack Nicklaus won his last major at age 46, Tiger has almost 10 years left to pick up four additional wins.
- Tiger will overtake Sam Snead on the career win list. Woods needs only one win per year over the next 8 years to tie the all time leader.
- Tiger will be great again by the standards to which we hold every other golfer on the planet.
- But Tiger Woods isn’t any other player on the planet.
Tiger Woods, at his best, may have been the greatest sportsman to ever play golf and those 281 consecutive weeks as the world’s top golfer? They barely scratch the surface of his 623 career weeks in the number one spot. The 14 majors he won? It took him 11 years. Jack took 13.
Tiger holds the career record for most rounds at par or better with 52, he has won at least 8 tournaments in a season 3 times. He once won all four majors in a row. He holds a share or better of the scoring record in three majors (The Masters, the Open and the PGA), and won the US Open by 15 strokes back in 2000, by far the most ever for a major.
Will Tiger Woods ever return to his greater days? With age, injuries, pressure and the unknown staring him back in the face? The answer is an emphatic no. In fact, looking out at the world of golf today, there is only one man who might be able to even come close to the dominant Tiger of old. There is only one man who might have it in him to even sniff the air once inhabited by the greatest player of all time. His name is Tiger Woods.
Colin helps run Belmont Lodge, a privately owned golf course near Hereford, UK. Located along the River Wye, the golf course has matured nicely into an extremely enjoyable parkland layout since Sean Connery oversaw the official inauguration in 1983. For more information visit Golf breaks at Belmont