Monday, December 2
VIDEO CLIP: Tiger on Chasing Jack
WILL TIGER WOODS CATCH AND PASS Jack Nicklaus? I'm talking about The Record, of course. Jack has bagged 18 professional majors. Tiger has 14. But Woods has been stuck on 14 since June 2008 when he limped to a U.S. Open playoff victory over Rocco Mediate at Torrey Pines.
Recently, Tiger sat for an interview with Rachel Nichols for her CNN program, "Unguarded." Nichols popped The Question:
"As that stretch gets longer and longer without a major, what's that pressure like, as it builds and builds?"
You can play the clip to hear how Tiger responded. "It takes a career" was the essence of his answer. I think Tiger gives about as good an answer on this recurring question as can be expected considering the circumstances (a five-year majors drought).
But one can't help wondering if, at age 38 (on December 30), Tiger will catch Jack, much less beat the Golden Bear's record.
Sure. It's definitely possible.
But will he?
It's seeming more and more doubtful to me with the long gap between major wins. And with the stiffening competition. And there's also Tiger's age and family situation—being a dad, not practicing as much.
As others have observed, Phil Mickelson has had a very good if not great career. At age 43, Lefty has won five majors. He should have won a U.S. Open and has fumbled away other chances at majors, but that's true of many players. The point is, starting right now, Tiger needs to have a Phil Mickelson career in the majors to overtake Nicklaus.
Barring health problems or other issues, Tiger will have his chances, forty of them in the next ten years if he plays in every major on the schedule. If he can win 1 in 10, he'll tie the record. Capturing 1 in 8 majors will move him past Jack.
I think it's going to be tough.