YES. Last time I looked, about an hour ago, the PGA TOUR had a bunch of unknown and unrecognizable kids in their 20’s dominating the leaderboard. In fact, the PGA might have to change its logo from “These Guys Are Good” to “These Kids Are Good.” Seems like every Sunday afternoon another Golfer’s Anonymous meeting ends with a noname Nationwide Tour alumni holding the trophy and million-dollar check. From 38 events to date, there have been 34 different winners, with 15 in their 20’s, including 12 first-time winners. Gone forever are the days when Tiger, Phil, Vijay, Ernie & Jim have multiple win seasons. Rory, Dustin, Keegan, Bubba and Rickie are colorful new faces of the future but I bet even that know-it-all Tim Geary couldn’t identify Jason Dufner, Scott Stallings, Charl Schwartzel, Brendan Steel, Webb Simpson or Harrison Frazer in a lineup? I couldn’t.
With so much youth and talent on TOUR the legitimate question raised in this debate is whether a 35-year old Tiger will ever win again? Doomsayers like Mr. Geary, a hack writer and golfer, huff-and-puff that Tiger is toast; that his swing is gone; the intimidation factor lost and he can’t putt anymore! Just as sure as the Red Sox will win the pennant in October and the Bruins will repeat as Stanley Cup champs, YES, Tiger Woods will win again! Go ahead and bet the mortgage on it, and here’s why.
Tiger Woods’ fame and awesomeness has inspired this new generation of competitors because he is the greatest player ever. No one, not even Jack Nicklaus or Ben Hogan, the two most dominant golfers of the last 60 years, recorded stretches like Woods’s five-for-six streak in consecutive majors from 1999-2001 or his six-for-14 streak from 2005-2008. Woods holds 14 majors, a whopping 10 more than Phil Mickelson, the closest active player with only 4. Quite a feat – heh? Although the real Tiger has been in hibernation for 22 months, expect His Royal Tigerness to post his next “W” on Sunday November 20 in the singles match of the Presidents Cup at Melbourne, Australia. Other than Adam Scott, Jason Day and K.J. Choi the International Team has a bunch of lightweight wimps. At 35, Woods is smart and experienced and he will hoist more trophies. Historically, at that age, the greatest pros are at their peak. Tiger Woods has temporarily lost his mojo! He will overcome the game-ruining demons of mental doubt and hesitation and return to winning form. Why can’t he win another major next year? And, when he does, watch out! It will be Tiger-business as usual. When Woods plays the world watches, and golf will herald his return and his next precious win.
At the moment, golf may not need Tiger as much as Tiger needs golf. But TV ratings will go up when Woods contends. Fans will become breathless if he goes on an early Sunday birdie binge the way he did at the Masters in April. Mr. Geary desperately wants to bolt away from this debate like Seabiscuit. It does matter that Woods has 71 PGA TOUR wins and 12 International victories. It does matter that he needs to be healthy. In this instantly gratifying age of Twitter and Facebook, Woods’ fate seems to rise and fall with the result of each shot. Expect the karma to return and for him to put the pieces together and start winning again. We’d be foolish to think otherwise.
Tom Gorman, a hack writer and golfer, would shine Tiger Woods’ shoes and wash his clubs if asked.