Tiger Woods’ withdrawal from TPC at Sawgrass last week has many commentators suggesting his career is cycling down and that it is now unlikely he will catch, let-alone surpass, Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 professional major championships. I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss Tiger’s chances going forward.

Certainly, years of taking that aggressive slash he calls a swing has taken a toll on Woods’ body. He has already had multiple knee surgeries, and he’s been dealing with other assorted leg injuries. That’s not unusual for golfers as they age; Nicklaus also battled injuries as he grew older, and he was never the physical specimen that Woods’ is.

Tiger is now 35; Jack was winning majors until he was 46. So that should give Woods 42 chances to win five more to exceed Nicklaus’ standard. It won’t be easy given the new generation of fine players on the rise. But it should also be noted that Jack won six of his 18 majors after he turned 35, so I don’t think it is out of the question that Woods could do the same.

 

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  • http://www.pocketdoppler.com BigSnakeMan

    Eldrick may indeed yet break Nicklaus’ record for ‘majors’, but I doubt he’ll be winning any at 46 as Jack did.

  • Chris

    I don’t know the Woods will even still be playing at 46–with all the money he’s won his passion might not burn as brightly 11 years from now. But given his skill set and the desire with which he has heretofore displayed, I would expect he would have enough in the tank to do what Jack did and put it together one more time at that age.

    The wildcard in all of this is the seriousness of Woods injuries–if his legs are truly so bad that he needed to pull out of a tournament that is considered “the 5th major” then maybe he is on path to premature retirement. However, I suspect his poor front nine was what led to his WD as much as his physical condition. Therefore, I will not be surprised to see Eldrick in the conversation at Congressional next month…and Erin Hills six years from now.

  • http://www.pocketdoppler.com BigSnakeMan

    If, as you suggest, Woods withdrawal from the TPC was due to his lackluster play, that implies a decided lack of mental toughness that hasn’t previously been attributed to Eldrick. Between his repeated swing changes and his health (not to mention personal) issues, these are all factors that stand to conspire against him in his quest to break Nicklaus’ record for major titles.

  • http://www.retaggr.com/Page/crichar3 Chris

    Indeed. But my point remains the same–not that Eldrick WILL catch Jack, but that he CAN, that there is reason to believe he might, and that those who write him off at this point are doing so prematurely.

  • http://www.pocketdoppler.com BigSnakeMan

    Maybe the odds still rest with Woods. I’m not denying that he CAN, only that it is no longer the lead-pipe lock that it once appeared to be.

  • http://www.retaggr.com/Page/crichar3 Chris

    You’ll get no argument from me on that score.