Skip to main content

Can Tiger Surpass Nicklaus' Record?




Finally, a good sports topic for all to discuss over lunch and drinks. Many business people love golf. I just love to play bad golf (if you know what I mean). Paul Kedrosky's site has an interesting piece on Tiger's ability to surpass Nicklaus' majors record. That has been a fantastic hypothetical topic, particularly in light of Tiger's shenanigans:

So, Tiger Woods is going to take an “indefinite” amount of time off from golf. Assuming that sooner rather than later Woods comes back to the sport he has dominated for more than a decade – I’m guessing he is back by this year’s Master’s or U.S. Open -- let’s ask the question he likely cares about most: Will Tiger win more major tournaments in what’s left of his career than his idol Jack Nicklaus did in his?

To refresh your memory, Tiger, who is about to turn 34 years old, has won 14 major tournaments; Jack Nicklaus won 18 majors in his career. Woods has to win five more, for a total of 19, to beat Nicklaus. Given the pace at which Tiger has won major tournaments in the past that might seem an easy task – there are 4 major tournaments a year, and he can probably be competitive into his early 40s.

I’m not so sure though. First, Woods is 34. Admittedly, 34 today isn’t what 34 was in 1974 when Jack was Tiger’s age. Players today are stronger, fitter and generally have better self-awareness and knowledge of their swing. And yes, even though Nicklaus won most of his tournaments when he was younger than Tiger is now, Nicklaus did win 6 more majors after turning 34. To that way of thinking, Tiger has an edge on Nicklaus and should squeak through, even if he misses a year here.

woods-nicklaus

But I’m not convinced. There are at least four reasons to think Tiger won’t surpass Nicklaus' major wins record:

  1. Tiger is increasingly rusty. He missed most of 2008, and played unevenly through chunks of 2009, even if he was close in the majors. That rustiness will only get worse with age and with this latest layoff. By way of comparison, while Nicklaus had hip and back health issues, he was never away from golf in his prime for long stretches the way Tiger has been in his – and Nicklaus still saw a serious decline in his competitiveness and dominance after hitting his mid-30s.
  2. Tiger is roughed-up. His knee is just one example of how he is not the same player physically he was a few years ago. The modern power game takes an immense toll on a player’s body, making the higher level of fitness a wash, at best, compared to players of prior generations who didn’t subject their spines to such violent and twisting centrifugal forces.
  3. Tiger is less focused. Nicklaus wasn’t the same player after he got married and had kids, and he didn’t have the off-course drama that now accompanies Woods. The same thing will happen to Woods, doubly so as he puts more pressure on himself to win knowing that it is actuarially certain he has had more looks at majors already in his career than he will be offered in future.
  4. Tiger plays a tougher field. The field is bigger, closer to parity, and more global now than it was in Nicklaus’ era. There are simply too many wonderful players, most of them younger than Tiger, many who hit it further than he does, and are coming on strong.

So, I don’t think Woods will do it. He may win a few more majors – he is sufficiently talented that he can win on desire, despite a messed-up mind and a faltering body – but I don’t believe he will ever again be the dominant player he once was. Through mistakes, frailties (both physical and emotional), and more than a little bad luck, I think it’s highly unlikely Woods will win enough majors to pass Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18.

Another way to compare players is to look at major tournaments won per year by Nicklaus and Woods before and after turning 34 (to pick Woods’ imminent age). Before turning 34 Woods won a major at the record rate of 1.1/yr; the pre-34 Nicklaus won at the rate of 0.9/yr, which is equally impressive. But after turning 34 Nicklaus’ success rate tumbled to 0.5/yr. Assuming something similar happens to Woods, which is probable as he ages, winning another 5 majors could take ten years or more, making him 44 before he passed Nicklaus. I don’t see it.

My Take: Tiger will easily surpass the 18 or 19 majors because, dollar for dollar, Tiger's playing at a time when pro golfers are so much better than say during Nicklaus' time. His 14 majors were won over a stretch where there are so many brilliant players. It is very difficult to dominate a game like golf, it is much easier to dominate a game like badminton, squash or even tennis, because when you are a little bit better than the rest, you will dominate .. you only have to beat one opponent each round for 5 or six rounds, then you win the major. In golf, you have to be a lot better because 50 other players are playing at the same time, an you have to outperform all 50 by the end of 4 days. Relatively speaking, if you can win one or two majors in your lifetime, you are extremely good already. Tiger has already won 14, possibly against much tougher competition than Nicklaus ever did faced.

Can the current personal problems kill his game? Probably not because his will to win is so strong. His desire to perform may be attributable to his testosterone level, which unfortunately also equates to his high libido (sex drive). Hence unlike John Daly's vices (drinking problem) which are self-destructive, Tiger's problems stems from his natural hormonal make up. Maybe now, he can channel all his testosterone to just playing winning golf.

You may drive longer than Tiger, but everybody knows its the critical short game that puts you ahead of the pack. You see him on the greens, he stalks the greens, he stares the whole thing down, he blocks out everything and is intensely focused. C'mon, who's your daddy, you little hole in the ground!!!

The one danger I can see is the "intensity" of his drives, which may bring about more muscle wear and tear. That's the only thing that can hobble Tiger. I may not agree with his personal lifestyle choices but he is still the best golfer we have ever seen.


p/s photos: Manish Kelkar

Comments

Kingsmen said…
once there was this young golfer trying to get hold of his golf swing. No matter what he tried he could not hit the ball straight. So he consulted a pro. After a few adjustment, the young man hurriedly went off for a game but his score was horrendous. Adjustment after adjustments couldnt seems to work. Finally the pro concluded that it was the LOFT problem.
And so this young man went to the club fitter to have all his clubs fixed. But the results remains the same.
And he went back to the pro complaining. However the pro insisted it was his LOFT problem.
Do u really know what LOFT really means?

Lack
Of
Fucking
Talent

moral of the story : Different btw tiger and Bear is....Tiger's sheer talent will surpass Bear's record hands down even with or without the LOFT problem.

Popular posts from this blog

My Master, A National Treasure

REPOST:  Its been more than two years since I posted on my sifu. This is probably the most significant posting I had done thus far that does not involve business or politics. My circle of close friends and business colleagues have benefited significantly from his treatment.


My Master, Dr. Law Chin Han (from my iPhone)

Where shall I start? OK, just based on real life experiences of those who are close to me. The entire Tong family (Bukit Kiara Properties) absolutely swear that he is the master of masters when it comes to acupuncture (and dentistry as well). To me, you can probably find many great dentists, but to find a real Master in acupuncture, thats a whole different ballgame.


I am not big aficionado of Chinese medicine or acupuncture initially. I guess you have to go through the whole shebang to appreciate the real life changing effects from a master.


My business partner and very close friend went to him after 15 years of persistent gout problem, he will get his heavy attacks at least…

PUC - An Assessment

PUC has tried to reinvent itself following the untimely passing of its founder last year. His younger brother, who was highly successful in his own right, was running Pictureworks in a number of countries in Asia.

The Shares Price Rise & Possible Catalysts

Share price has broken its all time high comfortably. The rise has been steady and not at all volatile, accompanied by steady volume, which would indicate longer term investors and some funds already accumulating nd not selling back to the market.


Potential Catalyst #1

The just launched Presto app. Tried it and went to the briefing. Its a game changer for PUC for sure. They have already indicated that the e-wallet will be launched only in 1Q2018. Now what is Presto, why Presto. Its very much like Lazada or eBay or Alibaba. Lazada is a platform for retailers to sell, full stop. eBay is more for the personal one man operations. Alibaba is more for wholesalers and distributors.

Presto links retailers/f&b/services originators with en…

How Long Will The Bull Lasts For Malaysia

Are we in a bull run? Of course we are. Not to labour the point but I highlighted the start of the bull run back in January this year... and got a lot of naysayers but never mind:






























p/s: needless to say, this is Jing Tian ... beautiful face and a certain kind of freshness in her looks and acting career thus far



http://malaysiafinance.blogspot.my/2016/12/bank-negara-may-have-switched-on-bull.html


I would like to extend my prediction that the bull run for Bursa stocks should continue to run well till the end of the year. What we are seeing for the past 3 weeks was a general lull where volume suddenly shrunk but the general trend is still intact. My reasons for saying so:

a) the overall equity markets globally will be supported by a benign recovery complemented by a timid approach to raising rates by most central banks

b) thanks to a drastic bear run for most commodities, and to a lesser extent some oil & gas players, the undertone for "cost of materials" have been weak and has pr…