Tiger Woods changed golf from a game to a sport. All the young golfers today are great athletes, hitting the ball farther, using more spin, and creating shots on the fly. As Tiger Woods enters the last years of his career, there is some good news and some bad news.
The good news is that he has 79 tour wins, only five behind the great Ben Hogan. Last week at the Bridgestone Championship he showed his dominance and was an easy winner by seven strokes. Six more wins would surpass Hogan, and give him the most tour wins in history, a record that may never be broken.
The bad news is that he may never win another ‘major.’
The greatest golfer that ever lived, Jack Nicklaus, has 18 major wins. Tiger Woods has 14.
There was a time when Tiger fans, and the world of golf had no doubt that Woods would claim Jack’s record.
In my opinion, that will never happen.
The second round of the final major of the year, the PGA Championship, witnessed a second day of inadequate play by Woods. He was unable to keep the ball in the fairway, which frequently made his second shots virtually impossible. His short iron game was frequently off-line, forcing him to attempt long putts. When he did get close to the hole, his putting was abysmal.
So what is his problem? As a Tiger fan, I believe it’s simple. When he is in a major, he presses. He loses his superior athletic ability, and overthinks, often resulting in horrible shots. And I don’t believe he will ever win another major. Jack will be known as the greatest golfer that ever lived, and Tiger as second best.
The fun story of the day was the ‘under-emotional’ Jason Dufner. He shot a 63, making him only the 24th player in PGA history to score that low in a major. He admitted that his birdy putt on the 18th made him very nervous, and he simply didn’t hit it hard enough. He would have had the all-time record of 62. Dufner has a two shot lead going into the weekend. Tiger is 10 shots back.
The morning in Rochester, New York, saw rain dominate play. Adam Scott, the winner of the ‘green jacket’ in the Master’s led at seven under par. As the weather cleared, incredible shots were made. The greens were somewhat soggy, and shots stopped suddenly as they landed, offering many birdie opportunities.
Dufner’s second shot on the number two hole spun backwards for an eagle, obviously a portent of what was to come. He ended the day at nine under.
Oak Hills is one of the oldest courses in America, and usually offers great challenges. It plays long, and the fairways are narrow. But the weather made it less challenging for the world’s best.
Tiger would need to have the best two rounds of golf in his life on Saturday and Sunday to win the PGA. Trust me, it won’t happen.
The good and the bad for Woods is that he won’t win another major, but he will always be known as the second best golfer in history.