After every major since the 2008 US Open, we hear the same question: Will Tiger Woods ever win another major?
He is clearly not the dominant Tiger that we all remember—the Tiger who would strut around in his red shirt on Sunday and cause others on the leaderboard to crumble. While I admit that Tiger Woods is in a definite “funk” when it comes to majors, I am not ready to admit that he is finished.
What’s amazing is that before the infamous 2009 Thanksgiving incident, this question was a no-brainer. Tiger was still in the prime of his career and was only four major victories away from tying Jack Nicklaus for the most career majors (18).
Now, one divorce, a new swing coach and several injuries later, winning seems to have become more difficult for Tiger. The distractions from the scandal (that he brought on himself) are undeniable. Throw in two weekend collapses at majors this year (US Open & British Open), and the answer seems obvious to most: Tiger Woods will never win another major.
I beg to differ with that popular opinion. Yes, Tiger is in the midst of a four-year major drought. Yes,
his current swing is unreliable and can leave him at any point during a round. Yes, he no longer closes on the weekends like he used to. So what, he is still Tiger Woods.
His recent struggles at the US Open and the British Open over the final rounds are cause for concern. Most experts point to his declining putting statistics as the main reason for his struggles. While this is a problem, it actually begins with his iron play.
The old Tiger was a machine from 125-yards and in. He would consistently be inside of ten feet each time. The new Tiger struggles with his distance control and is now left with lengthy birdie putts.
According to PGATour.com, Tiger ranked #1 in 2008 on approach shots of 50-125 yards. For the 2012 season, Tiger is currently ranked 139th. As alarming as that statistic is, I have no doubt that Tiger will figure it out. He is a great student of the game and always works to improve his swing.
Jack Nicklaus went through a six-year drought between wins seventeen and eighteen. Many felt that Nicklaus would never win another major, especially since he was in his mid-forties.
To the surprise of all, Jack pulled off the victory at the 1986 Masters at the ripe old age of 46. Guess what? Tiger is only 36. It’s not impossible to think that Woods could play on the PGA Tour for ten more years. That’s forty chances to win another major. Heck, I still would not be surprised if he pushes the record of eighteen.
IF (notice the size of the "if") Tiger can stay healthy, then I have no doubt that he will win at least one more major title. Recent knee and Achilles injuries could be his biggest obstacle. However, Tiger works as hard as anyone at his game and keeps his body in optimal shape.
Let’s face it, Tiger has always said that he wants to be the best, and he is going to do anything he can to get there.
I just hope he is actually using his free time to work on the correct “game.”