So Tiger announced last week that he will be missing the US Open in a couple of weeks…Noooooo! I don’t know about you but through his trials and tribulations, injuries and so on I just want to see Tiger back to his best, and at the top of that leaderboard.
A question so many ask and I guess only time will tell, will he pass Nicklaus, will he get passed 18? Well not by missing majors he won’t!
There is nothing magical about the age of 38 for many professional athletes. Late thirties bring about certain changes in an athlete’s body, you start to slow, injuries keep popping up and the majority have sights set on their future after they fall in to retirement.
The minority who preserve themselves thanks to good genes, habits, luck, Ryan Giggs’ Yoga DVD, you name it know the clock is ticking. Okay golf is a little different, plus you get the senior tour too, however when you’re talking about beating records, age has everything to do with it!
Even for the great Jack Nicklaus. “My golf game can only go on so long,” he said……. at 38.
One might have been an unmarked intersection out in the country, the other a junction with bright, flashing lights in a big city, but Nicklaus was at a crossroads when he was 38 as Woods finds himself in the same situation. At that point of their careers, there are similarities and differences between the legend who set the standard and the one who is trying to eclipse it.
Nicklaus, who turned 38 on Jan. 21, 1978, had gone two years without winning a major championship after capturing the 1975 PGA at Firestone CC for his 14th professional major title (a number that wasn’t used nearly so much as 16, which included his two U.S. Amateur victories). In the 1977 Masters and British Open, Nicklaus had been beaten by a younger man, Tom Watson.
“Sure you wonder if you’re going to win again,” Nicklaus said,
For Nicklaus, major No. 15 was indeed a drought-buster — although he had won eight regular tournaments since the ’75 PGA — but it wasn’t being plotted as an essential way point on a journey. When he won the 1973 PGA Championship, it was Nicklaus’ 12th pro major, surpassing Walter Hagen’s 11, and 14th overall, bettering Bobby Jones’ 13. Nicklaus would have plenty of opponents after August of ’73, but history wasn’t one of them.
He was so competitive, and so good, that a back stretch with a target number at the finish line might well have pushed Nicklaus to win more than 18 majors — converting at least a few of the 17 top-four major finishes he had after the ’73 PGA into victories.
That is speculation. The reality is that Woods’ hopes of surpassing the great Golden Bear are slowly fading, missing the Masters and now the US Open, you wonder if he can find that fire in his belly again to compete let alone win another 4 majors.
Fourteen was just a number for Nicklaus. For Woods, it is a punctuation mark no one ever dreamed would be a period. Since then he’s hit trouble in some way or another, many thought last year could see his return, Tiger was on the prowl, however another set back meant he fell short of another major success.
“I know I’ve won with something besides the shots,” Nicklaus told Deford in 1978 after rediscovering his major touch, “but I don’t know for sure what that something is.”
Well the first thing Tiger needs is a new back, knee, hip, and elbow that all work, joking!! Once fit again he needs to find that ‘something’, that very same something that made him one of the most remarkable athletes of his era, that desire, that passion to win, that.. fear factor! Tiger, who once seemed to overflow with it, needs some magic!
What are your thoughts, reckon he will match or pass the great Jack Nicklaus or will he fall short on his mission to conquer the great game. Let me know.