Dec 14, 2017

Will Tiger Ever Add to His 14 Majors?

There are only so many times one can get their hopes up only for them to be dashed by the same outcome before they begin to wisen up. Tigers Woods’ return to professional golf this week at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas had many nervously watching the action in the Bahamas, pretending not to care for fear of getting hurt, only to erupt into hysteria any time the 14-time Major winner made a birdie.

Woods' journey back into professional golf after persistent and career-threatening back injuries has seen many false dawns. Since 2014, Woods has undergone four back operations to correct a chronic problem that has evolved into much more than just back spasms that were first cited as the main cause for his discomfort. Everytime Woods announced his rehabilitation was complete and confirmed a date for his return, the tabloids and golfing world would descend into meltdown.

That euphoria would turn into agony and torment as the adoring public would see Woods’ body breakdown under the stress of a return to the game he dominated for so long. Woods withdrew from many tournaments with the latest being in February 2017 during the Omega Dubai Desert Classic after an opening round 77. The golfing world feared the end was nigh as his manager Mark Steinberg announced Tiger had suffered from more back spasms on the Friday evening and would be flying home.

Tiger Woods

"Tiger Woods" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Keith Allison

Fast forward nine months, and Tiger is beginning to make the golfing world believe again after two consecutive rounds in the 60’s at the Hero World Challenge. None of his previous comebacks have seen him play anywhere near this well and the question being asked is, could he actually be fixed for good? Time will tell, but with him sitting only five shots off the lead in the tournament he hosts, there seems to be reason to suggest he is pain-free and on the comeback trail.

He simply won’t just begin cleaning up at majors again starting with the Green Jacket next year April after putting two good consecutive rounds together. The world is still highly skeptical and the latest golf odds confirm that with Woods backed at 20/1 to win at Augusta, but could the day come again when he is favourite going into a Major?

Woods turns 42 on December 30 and time does not appear to be on his side. The further away from 45 professional golfers get, the less likely they are to be able to compete with the fierce young competition consistently coming through. Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 majors looks to be safe as Woods enters the twilight years of his career after coming off the back of the most severe injuries he has experienced as a professional.

Tiger Woods

"Tiger Woods" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Keith Allison

The Big Cat will nevertheless still enjoy being back on the prowl as he enjoys a new lease of life after years on the operating table. Surpassing Nicklaus’s record as the leading major winner seems a bridge too far given the turmoil that has robbed Woods’ of the most productive years of his life, but adding at least one more major to his 14 is a real possibility if he can finally shake off the injury shackles that have plagued him.

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