ANDERSEN: Tiger will win a major again, someday
It’s going to happen again.
No one knows where. No one knows when. But it will happen.
Maybe in August. Maybe next April. Maybe next June.
Tiger Woods will win another major.
He’s been close, sometimes agonizingly close.
Since his last major title, the 2008 U.S. Open, Tiger has nine top 10s in the 17 majors he’s played. He’s had some flashes of brilliance and some downright stinkers of rounds.
There was the 2011 Masters where Tiger put on a show on the front nine and tied for the lead before fading back late to finish T4.
There was this year’s Masters where a hit flagstick and a drop penalty cost Tiger several strokes and sent him to another T4.
After three rounds of the British Open last weekend, the stars seemed to be slowly aligning for Tiger to finally capture another major championship.
There he was in contention again, two shots off the lead and playing surprisingly well considering the tough conditions at Muirfield all week.
But it wouldn’t come to pass. Instead of hoisting the Claret Jug for the fourth time in his career, Tiger stumbled and finished T6 at 2-over while Phil Mickelson shot the round of his life.
Instead of Tiger claiming major No. 15, we’re back to the drawing board and asking that eternal question, can Tiger catch Jack Nicklaus?
Heck, for that matter, will he win another major?
He will win again because majors or no majors, he’s still Tiger.
He’s the greatest golfer of his generation and the No. 1 ranked golfer in the world.
He’s 37 and still has plenty of golf left in him. If he plays until he’s 50, that’s over 50 chances to win four major titles and at least tie Nicklaus’ record of 18.
Since his off-the-course troubles, Tiger has struggled to regain his dominance over the PGA field and it may be true that some of his mystique, some of that invincibility is gone now, but he’s still Tiger. Even his playing partner for part of the British Open, Lee Westwood, admitted to being a little bit in awe of Tiger’s game.
Whatever physical ailments or mental blocks Tiger’s battled in the last few years, it won’t keep him from winning again. Whether or not he’s having mental breakdowns on the course, is tough to say considering that Tiger has won three majors after winning a playoff.
Whatever that missing piece is that he needs to complete his game, he’ll find it.
The competition on the PGA Tour has gotten tougher in the last few years, but no single golfer has really taken Tiger’s place in terms of consistency.
Since 2009, the Boy Wonder, Rory McIlroy has six top-10 finishes in majors and two wins. But he’s also missed the cut four times and his best finish this year is a T25 at the Masters.
Dam Scott, this year’s Masters winner also has six top-10 finishes since 2009, but has missed the cut six times in majors, including three out of four in 2009. Scott seems to be coming into his own now with four top-10 finishes in the last seven majors, but time will tell if he reaches the upper echelon on the PGA Tour.
Mickelson has had his struggles with majors too. How frustrated do you think he feels about finishing second at the U.S. Open six times? Or, how about five third place finishes at the Masters, including three straight from 2001-3?
Mickelson who has long been Tiger’s chief rival, has probably come the closest in consistency. Since getting over the majors hump in 2004, he has finished in the top 10 in majors eight times since 2009.
Most of the other major winners in the last several years have been dark horses who happened to play some good rounds of golf: Keegan Bradley, Charl Schwartzel, Bubba Watson, Y.E. Yang and Webb Simpson among them.
Tiger hasn’t won, but he’s had staying power and it’s impressive, especially in a difficult sport like golf where some of the top golfers in the world can fall hard and fast.
David Duval was the No. 1 ranked player in the player in the world in 1999 and was a top-10 fixture in majors for several years before a severe drop off. After a banner year in 2001, he’s had one top-10 finish since then.
Vijay Singh was one of Tiger’s main rivals in his run of dominance, but he’s been more or less a non-factor since 2006.
Padraig Harrington had a stretch of brilliance in 2007-8 when he won three major titles including back-to-back British Opens. Paddy’s had a rough go of it since then however, including seven majors where he missed the cut.
There was a time when Tiger probably laughed in the face of his competition as he picked up wins by the handful. He may be long past the truly other-worldly days of his Tiger Slam in 2000-1, but odds are he’ll be in contention for major titles for many years to come.