Tiger It’s Been A While
The PGA gears up for it’s fourth and final Major of the year starting tomorrow at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin. This is the third time the PGA Championship has been hosted here on the banks of Lake Michigan, having occurred in both 2004 (Vijay Singh) and 2010 (Martin Kaymer). All eyes in Dallas this weekend will of course be on Jordan Spieth, to see if our local boy can bring home his third (out of four) Major this year. Others will be intrigued to see if Rory McIlroy and his recently surgically repaired ankle can withstand the links style terrain of the course, and whether he’ll be able to defend his title from last year. And then there’s Tiger Woods, once again trying to regain any bit of his previous self, and the questions as to if he has any chance at this or any other future Major. The last time Tiger claimed one of the big 4 was June 16, 2008 when won his 14th Major golf title at the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. An obviously hobbling Woods outlasted Rocco Mediate on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff after a thrilling 18-hole playoff had left them still tied.
Nearly seven years later, Woods is 39 years old and remains stuck on 14 major championships, still four shy of Jack Nicklaus’ record 18. Las Vegas gives Woods a 40-1 shot to be hoisting the Wanamaker Trophy this Sunday. But is that even realistic? I mean a lot has changed since Tiger bested Mediate that day over 7 years ago (2,613 days to be exact). Examples you say? Give us examples of what has transpired in that time? Well to put in perspective, here you go:
– Serena Williams has won 13 tennis Grand Slam events (the equivalent of the Major in golf)
– Rafael Nadal has won 10 Slams on the men’s side
– Inbee Park has won 7 Majors on the LPGA
– The #1 movie at the box office was The Incredible Hulk (Edward Norton, not Mark Ruffalo)
– Tampa Bay Devil Rays third baseman was making his case for rookie of the year
– LeBron James was with the Cleveland Cavaliers (well history does repeat itself)
– George W. Bush was still in the White House
– Breaking Bad premiered on AMC
But what about the world of men’s golf? Has anyone stepped up and take Tiger’s place as Alpha Male on the PGA in all that time? The simple answer is no, not yet. The only that has distinguished himself from the pack in any sense at all as been McIlroy with his four Majors – but he still has an obviously very long way to go to even catch sight of Tiger. Five golfers have each captured two Majors since Tiger last won one – Phil Mickelson, Martin Kaymer, Bubba Watson, Padraig Harrington and of course Jordan Spieth (both this year). Do I think Tiger has a chance of winning this weekend. No. But has anyone come close to being the tour’s next Tiger yet – not even close. But Jordan, my eyes are on you.