So, we have the guy who’s never won vs. the guy who’s never come from behind on Sunday. Is it a toss-up or is one or the other more likely to “fight” to hold his record.
At this point, I would either bet Tiger or the field (Mahan? Cabrera?). Westwood has just burned me too many times (in friendly pools). I am intrigued in his new demeanor while putting though. Where he used to tense up and choke, he really does seem more relaxed.
No golf fans out there huh? Today’s pairings should be interesting. Tiger and Adam Scott. Mahan and Westwood (2nd final-day final pairing in a major in a row for Mahan). Does this give anybody an advantage? With these two guys essentially on the same hole together all day, I would think that it won’t really give either guy a distinct edge. Course is looking tough again today. -2 is probably good enough to win, maybe even -1.
For whatever reason, I think Woods’ days as an outstanding golfer are behind him. He will finish out his career as a mid-pack player, with occasional victories, like the bulk of the PGA pros, and his early blazing accomplishments will come to be seen as a fluke.
Too weak a word, possibly. I mean that his amalgam of skill and luck was a finely balanced combination with a finite lifespan, and did not represent abilities he would be able to call on for an entire career. There are many sports pros who had astounding runs that were not representative of their overall career - Roger Maris and Don Larsen come to mind, as I’m more a baseball historian than a golf one.
I would offer something different. Four things come immediately to mind:
Tiger’s game was extremely hard on his body. That worked when he was young(er), but he’s starting to break down and his body can’t handle the style the way it once did. Still, my guess is he adds 1-3 majors to his string and finishes just shy of Jack.
Tiger is a grinder. Always has been. Tiger plays safe golf with the occasional brilliant save from trouble. There’s a reason he’s never won from behind on Sunday in a major. He’s constitutional incapable of taking the risks that play requires.
Tiger almost invented the “golf prep obsession” movement. For years, that gave him an edge. But now, everybody does that and it’s caught up.
Tiger might be the best putter that ever lived. The grinder aspect of his play was set up to lead into his best game (the putter). But given that the gap to the field is narrower and he’s not dominating the other areas the way he did (remember when they “Tiger-proofed” courses?) combine to screw him up.
To put it in baseball terms, Tiger’s like the first guy to throw a screwball. Sure, it screwed the batters up for a while, but now that lots of guys throw the screw, it levels out. Doesn’t make him less HOF for inventing it/leading the way.
Do you realize that Tiger is the #1 ranked player in the world, has won four times already this year on the PGA tour, and is by far the leading money winner? His game is still the best in the world - it is not fading.
Mickleson won this week due to the conditions - warm and dry and no wind. Under more typical conditions of wind and rain and cold he has rarely even been competitive.
You were absolutely right about everything until you said Tiger’s game isn’t fading.
Of COURSE it is, if only in relative terms. Tiger is still right up there with the game’s best players, and he’s still quite capable of winning ANY tournament he enters. 99.9% of the guys on the PGA tour would be thrilled to play as well as the fading Tiger Woods.
But even his most ardent fans have to see that he’s NOT the same player he was, and that he’s never likely to be that guy again.
As I’ve noted before, Tiger Woods redefined greatness in golf. In his prime, every competitor knew “If Tiger is anywhere near peak form, the rest of us have no chance.” NOBODY thinks that way any more. NOBODY folds because Tiger is close any more. NOBODY takes stupid chances any more for fear of a Tiger charge (except Mickelson, who is just naturally prone to taking stupid chances).
Ten years ago “I’ll take Tiger and you can have the field” was not a dumb bet- now it is.
Tiger is still damn good, but he’s no longer on another plane from the rest of the pros.
Was very happy to have another major won by ABT (anyone but Tiger)!
Lefty does not have the wins Tiger has, but looking at his family, seeing him sign everything handed him, I’d far rather swap places with him than Tiger (EVEN if I had to stand on the wrong side of the ball!)
Add in Lefty’s major top-5s, and he’s right up there among the best that have ever played - tho a HUGE step below Tiger and a couple of others.
Yes, for a while Tiger was the best player ever. But I’m glad each time it looks like Jack’s record is likely to stand. Glad there are a couple of records he doesn’t get.
Tiger is six years younger than Mickleson, so he has 24 more chances at majors before he is the same age that Phil was when he won a major yesterday. Tiger is not done with winning majors, I am certain of that.
Tiger’s game is not slipping. His scoring average is below 69, close to his best, with the caveat being that he only plays the toughest tournaments on the toughest courses with the toughest fields these days. His last five tournaments played were the Masters, The Players, The Memorial, The US Open, and The British Open. He’s playing in a couple weeks at the PGA and then he’s done but for a charity event and a pay-to-play Euro Tour event. He just doesn’t play in Buick Opens anymore where he can shoot -20.