He did it to himself. Tiger Woods was on top of the world, dominating the sport of golf like no one had ever before him. He was the most recognized athlete on the planet, receiving marketing deals like the mail. And then extramarital affairs and multiple injuries brought him back to reality.
But now Woods is back on his initial track of winning golf tournaments and chasing Jack Nicklaus’s 18 majors. Although the path he travels has been far bumpier than it used to be, don’t lose faith in Tiger.
At the moment, Woods is still one of the best golfers in the world, if not the best. He has won three PGA tournaments this season, a feat unmatched across the professional tour. For Woods, this season hasn’t been all about winning the tournaments, though; he has been in the hunt during nearly every event he has played in.
Of his 16 tournaments this season, Woods has six top-ten finishes, missing only two cuts. That includes a third place finish at the British Open and a second place showing at the Honda Classic, making five top-three appearances on the year, another feat unmatched on tour.
Yet his lacking victories in major tournaments have fans, analysts, and professionals questioning whether or not Woods will be able to win another four majors to match Nicklaus’s 18. The reason for this discussion is that we all, as golf fanatics, fiends, or mere followers, want him to return to his former dominance. The problem with this overarching desire is that a return to his supremacy is unfathomable now six years removed.
Woods was the face of professional golf for an entire decade. At one point during the 2006 season, Woods won six consecutive PGA tour events that he played in. He won eight PGA Player of the Year awards during the nine-year stretch from 1999 through 2007. Imagine Aaron Rodgers winning the next three MVP awards, let alone eight of nine.
It is easy to say that Woods will never return to his dominant form, but that form was never seen before, and likely will never be seen again. He is, however, still playing winning golf, and a major victory is certainly near. The competition may be fiercer than in the past, but there is not a fiercer competitor in all of the world.
In a sport where players can golf well into their forties, Woods has plenty of opportunities remaining. Some say the door is closing on Woods’ career. I say it is still very open.