Can Tiger Woods Surpass Jack Nicklaus?

Published: Dec 03, 2013 14:14pm EST
By JLangley4, Sports Writer for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated Dec 03, 2013 @ 09:43pm EST


Jason Sobel of Golf Channel has once again popped the question of whether or not Tiger Woods will surpass arguably the greatest golfer of all time, Mr. Jack Nicklaus.

This is a debate that many will continue to battle over until Woods finally reaches the plateau that has long eluded him; his 18th major championship.

The career resume for Woods is long and impressive. 14 major championships, 79 career PGA tour titles, career earnings of $109,504,139, and endorsements that any player would dream to have. To put it simply, Tiger Woods is extremely talented, and people love to watch him succeed or fail, depending on how one views him.

At 79 career PGA tour wins, Woods trails only Sam Snead for that record, which is set at 82. So, in essence, Woods could very well take that record this coming season, and if Woods keeps playing well, that may become a near-certainty. Woods already pased Nicklaus on this list, and even tied his mark at Jack's own tournament at the Memorial in 2012.

The big mark for Woods will be that 18th major. In theory, he could tie that record this season, although, it is nearly impossible to do. Woods hasn't won four majors in a row since the elustrious "Tiger Slam" in 2000 and 2001, where he began his assault on the major championships in 2000 by winning the U.S Open. The slam would finish in 2001 with a victory at the Masters, where everyone began to believe that it was a matter of time before Woods would surpass Nicklaus for his record.

Fast-forward seven years to the 2008 U.S Open, the last major championship for Woods. Anyone that remembers will tell you that this was possibly the most single-handidly gutsiest performance of all time. Woods was battling knee troubles, and that is putting it lightly. The torn ACL in his knee would have been enough to sideline any player in the world, but Woods battled through, and won in a playoff against Rocco Mediate after sinking a 15-foot putt on the 18th in the final round.

Since then, though, Woods has not won another major, although, he has challenged in many. In the 2010 Masters, Woods was making his return from extra-marital affairs, and he would post a top-10 finish, and would do the same the next season. Just this past year, if it weren't for an unlucky bounce off of the flagstick, it is reasonable to believe he takes home the green jacket, and post what would have been his 15th major.

What could be and what hasn't been are a moot point. Woods is turning 38 at the end of December, and he isn't getting younger. How many more years can one realistically believe Woods can play?

Well, Nicklaus won his 18th major at age 46, so it isn't unrealistic to think Woods can play a bit longer than that. If we give Woods ten more years, this would mean he has 40 more chances to play in major championships, barring injuries. Woods would need to win four of those, a percentage of just ten percent.

All of this means that it is unrealistic to think Woods cannot pass Nicklaus for the record. Now, as the years pass by, the task will get much tougher, and the window will continue to shrink. Woods always has his best chance to win at Augusta National, the home of the Masters tournament every year. This upcoming season, the PGA Championship is held at Valhalla, which is where he won in 2000 over Bob May in a playoff.

This would be the best year of any for Woods to take home a major championship. If he wants to challenge the record, he must start now. Woods has always said that majors are what matter, and nothing else. He wants to be measured among the best, and that si exactly what will happen for the rest of his career. April of 2014 is where that quest begins.


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