How many of you caught highlights of Tiger Woods’ 3rd Round at the Memorial over the weekend? In case you missed them, here they are:
Let me tell you something. I sat down to watch early round coverage on Golf Channel Saturday morning thinking, “I know Tiger is 11 shots off the lead coming into the weekend and can’t win the tournament, but the U.S. Open is less than three weeks away. Let’s see how Tiger’s looking.” At this point in his career, it’s all about the majors for Tiger. And then this comes on, Tiger shoots 85 (his worst round as a pro), and I’m like, “Tiger’s never going to catch Jack Nicklaus, and he’ll never win another major.” Tiger practically made the argument for me over the weekend, but I’ll do my best.
Let’s start by looking at the numbers. I’m a numbers guy. Numbers are tangible – they mean something. And numbers never lie.
As you probably know, Jack Nicklaus won 18 major championships in his illustrious career, his first coming at the 1962 U.S. Open at the age of 22. Tiger won his first major, The Masters, at age 21.
By age 23, Nicklaus had three majors to Tiger’s two. And then Tiger began to separate – winning three more at age 24 to pull ahead five majors to three.
By age 29, Tiger’s lead had grown to 10-7. And then with his win at the 2008 U.S. Open, at the age of just 32, Tiger had 14 major championships to Jack’s 11 at the very same age, and it looked all but inevitable. Tiger Woods was going to break Jack’s record.
Or was he? What if I told you that everything came to a screeching halt?
Jack Nicklaus kept on winning – four more majors in his 30s and three more in his 40s for a total of 18. Tiger Woods is still stuck on 14.
And that leads me to my final point – Tiger Woods will never win another major championship… period. And here’s why: Tiger has stopped winning.
Tiger hasn’t won a major since the summer of 2008. It’s been 2,549 days since his last major victory, and six days from today, Tiger will be seven full years removed from his last major win. Amazing huh? But it’s not just the majors.
Tiger’s Tour wins, year-over-year, have been on a precipitous decline. At the end of 2008, Woods’ 12th year on Tour, he had a total of 65 Tour wins to his credit, an average of just over five wins per year. In the almost seven years since, Tiger has won just 14 times on tour, an average of just two per year. He hasn’t won a Tour event since 2013.
Look. Tiger Woods turns 40 in December. Rounds like the one we saw this weekend at the Memorial are becoming less exception and more rule. Consider this: Tiger’s 85 on Saturday was his worst round as a professional. His previous “worst round as a pro?” The 82 he shot up the road at the Phoenix Open in late January.
Tiger Woods’ Worst Professional Rounds
* 2015 Memorial – 85, 3rd Round
* 2015 Phoenix Open – 82, 2nd Round
* 2002 Open Championship – 81, 3rd Round
* 2014 Farmer Insurance – 79, 3rd Round
* 2013 Memorial – 79, 3rd Round
* 2010 Wells Fargo – 79, 2nd Round
Five of the six worst rounds of Tiger Woods’ 19-year career have come since 2010 – his two worst rounds in the last five months. This weekend, Tiger finished dead last for the first time in his career.
Ask yourself this – how many more major championship rounds does Tiger Woods even have left in the tank?
Perhaps it’s fitting that Tiger’s worst round ever came at the tournament founded 39 years ago by? You guessed it! Jack Nicklaus. It’s called the Memorial. For Tiger Woods, perhaps it was.