So the big news this week is that Tiger Woods is going to miss The Masters. But it’s time we face the reality: Tiger not likely to ever win another major. Want to bet against it? Let’s look at some numbers.
Tiger has not won a major championship since 2008, when he famously won the U.S. Open on a broken leg in a playoff over Rocco Mediate. Since then, he has been stuck on 14 majors, four behind Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18, and he won’t even get to attempt to add to it this week. He’s had three top-six finishes in the last 11 majors and just eight Tour wins since the start of 2010. In the four years prior to that, he had 25 Tour wins and 11 top-six major finishes.
Although Nicklaus is optimistic that Tiger can still take down his record, here’s three reasons why Woods won’t even win No. 15:
Woods is missing The Masters after undergoing surgery to fix a back problem that has been bothering him all season. In recent years, he has suffered a number of injuries. The issues with his leg in 2008 spawned from his powerful swing, but he also has had eye surgery in the past, wrist problems and all sorts of physical issues. This back problem is a definite danger, as the back isn’t a part of your body where you can predict how you will come back from injury. Just ask Fred Couples, who is doing very well on the Champions Tour but was worn down by the PGA Tour.
Golfers, for the most part, have their prime somewhere around 27 or 28, and it lasts roughly seven or eight years — if they’re lucky. Woods is now 38 years old and will turn 39 on December 30. With each passing year, his chances of winning a major diminish.
One of Woods’ biggest contributions to the game has been showing that golfers are athletes too, but you can’t beat Father Time. If there is a silver lining for Woods, it is that the last three winners of the British Open (Darren Clarke, Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson) were all over 40, and he has won that tournament three times. Mickelson is listed at 40/1 to win The Masters this year while Els is at 100/1.
The Competition Has Caught Up to Him
Woods threw a jolt into the game of golf when he burst onto the scene, inspiring a number of players to pick up a club or improve the game they already had. Back when he was winning majors on a regular basis, Woods was winning comfortably (10 of his 14 major wins have been by two strokes or more) and was without a doubt the best player in the game. Even though he is technically the No. 1 player in the world rankings, Woods doesn’t have that gap over the rest of the world that he used to — if any at all. Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Mickelson and Rory McIlroy, who is the current Masters favorite at 5/1 at Bovada, are at least in the conversation, and Woods has a lot tougher competition to deal with now.