Can Tiger Woods Win Again? Does It Really Matter? Vote Now.
After a disappointing outing at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, Tiger Woods' season may be over. He missed the cut after carding 75-73 for a 4-over par total of 148, two strokes outside of the cut line. He claims he will take the next few days to decide whether he will play at next week's Wyndham Championship with the hope of somehow squeaking into the FedEx Cup Playoffs. 2015 has easily been the worst year of Tiger Woods' career and the man who has spent more time than any other at number one in the world has fallen to 278th in the Official World Golf Rankings. But you already knew that.
What I feel is being forgotten in the "what have you done for me lately" world we live in today is what Tiger, who turns 40 in December, has given us on the golf course for nearly two decades. He's given us countless moments (who can forget the chip-in at the 16th hole of the final round of the 2005 Masters or the "better than most" putt at TPC Sawgrass) that will stand as some of the most exciting in golf history. He was the inspiration for many of today's best players, including now world number two and four-time major winner Rory McIlroy, who was only seven years old when Tiger won his historic first Masters in 1997. Let's not forget about the financial impact he's made on the game as well. During Woods' historic 2000 season, widely considered to be the best season in golf history, he pocketed $800,000 for winning the US Open at Pebble Beach. Fifteen years later, 2015 champion Jordan Spieth earned exactly one million dollars more for winning the same tournament. Say thanks, Jordan. The popularity of golf, the television coverage, the purses, the endorsement opportunities for the current players, and the overall excitement that is golf in 2015 can all be attributed to Tiger Woods.
Sure, Tiger hasn't won a major in seven years. Guess what? Some of the most consistent and best players never won one (we're looking at you, Colin Montgomerie). Tiger has won 14, second only to the great Jack Nicklaus' 18. Tiger has won 79 times on the PGA Tour, second there only to Sam Snead's 82 victories. Allow me to put this in perspective for you. 79 wins. 14 majors. Just remember those numbers.
Golf is a sport with a rich history. Former champions are respected and loved forever in the eyes of fans, so allow me to take a look at some of the best players in history as compared to Tiger Woods. Please note that every single person I mention here is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Three of the most beloved players in history are Fred Couples, Ben Crenshaw, and Lee Trevino. If you were to combine their career wins, you'd get 63 PGA Tour victories and 9 major championships.
If you added up the career totals of the great Byron Nelson and Johnny Miller, you'd end up with 77 PGA Tour victories and 7 major championships.
Gene Sarazen, Ernie Els, and Tom Kite are three of the most respected players in the game of golf. Between the three of them, they won a total of 77 times on tour with 12 major championships.
Ben Hogan + Ken Venturi=78 wins and 10 majors.
ESPN golf analyst Curtis Strange had a great career. But if you combine his wins with the legendary Arnold Palmer, it equals Woods with 79 wins but only 9 major titles.
I actually did find a combo that equals the exact total of Tiger. Walter Hagen and Vijay Singh combined for 79 wins and 14 majors.
It's not until an amazing pairing of Tom Watson and Phil Mickelson, two of the most beloved figures and talented players in the long history of golf, that Woods is surpassed, but not completely. Those two great players have combined for 81 wins, two more than Woods has by himself. But they only combine for 13 majors, one short of Tiger's total.
I could go on and on and on with different scenarios and formulas, but I think you get the point. No matter what the future holds, Tiger Woods has given us what very few players have, or ever will give us in the great game of golf. Although the sport would be just fine without him, as evidenced by the amazing tournaments we've had this year, golf is just a little better when he's involved. Yes, the future is very bright, with players like McIlroy, Spieth, and Day, but yet another comeback from one of the game's all-time greats would only add to the exciting state that golf is in right now.
Time runs out on every athlete. But the greats have the ability to be better longer. Nicklaus won a Masters at 46. Jordan scored 40 at age 40. It's impossible to argue that Tiger Woods is one of the best to ever play. He says that things are moving in the right direction, and he has plans to play in many more tournaments all over the world before 2015 is over. Personally, I hope that he rights the ship and can continue to contend at major tournaments for years to come. But if he can't, I certainly won't forget all of the thrills he's given me throughout the years. I hope you don't either.
So now I leave it to you. Do you really believe that this is the end for Tiger Woods?