Tiger Woods and 83? G.O.A.T. Status?
Tiger Woods. The name alone is enough to send shivers down the back of any golfer. A name that many know, even though they may not be golf or sports fan themselves. In contrast, many avid golf fans know that Tiger Woods currently ties the record for the most PGA Tour wins in golf history with another all-time great—Sam Snead. However, it is fair to note that in those 82 wins, Snead only has 7 Majors. Tiger Woods, on the other hand, has 15 Major wins—second only to Jack Nicklaus. Tiger Woods has also achieved 10 Player of the Year awards, been given the Presidential Medal of Freedom, holds the lowest career scoring average in Tour history, and is one of five golfers in history to win all four majors in his career (Woods has actually won each major at least three times).
With all those accolades in mind, Tiger Woods is without a doubt, the greatest golfer to ever walk the course. But will the G.O.A.T ever achieve 83 Tour wins? Well, he just barely missed it this past weekend at his self-hosted tournament: the Hero World Challenge. In the short answer, yes. I firmly believe this is the “year of G.O.A.T.’s” and that Tiger will in fact put away the sought-after 83. But that now begs the question, how many wins can Tiger achieve? 85? I don’t see why not. 90? Eh, maybe. The real answer comes in two schools of thought: Tiger’s durability and the upcoming competition.
Most fans of the sport are aware that Woods has a history with back problems. In fact, it’s fair to say that Woods will never be the same golfer he was prior to his scandal in 2009. The scandal led to a downright spiral of the great golfer, and since then, has had a number of issues that seem to stem from the incident 10 years ago: the “at-home” issues, the DUI, and the injuries. All of these played a role in hindering Tiger from competition for a number of years—potentially costing him a highly coveted record.
The second school of thought noted is competition. It’s no secret that Tiger Wood is 43 years old and that there are younger, stronger golfers in the field: Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, and Justin Thomas. Not to mention the “up-and-coming” stars such as Matthew Wolfe, Cameron Champ, Joaquin Niemann, and Viktor Hovland. These youthful golfers not only have the ability, the strength, and the “it” factor to win, they have the passion and determination to make a name for themselves. Heck, Rory McIlroy still has the hunger and has the “something to prove” mentality as he needs to win a green jacket. The one downside to being the G.O.A.T. is that once you’re at the top, there’s nothing left to “prove” per se—he’s done it. He’s achieved nearly everything. The one other thing that is getting in Tiger’s way is the aspect of fatherhood. Tiger Woods used to spend every waking moment at the golf course practicing and playing. However, now that his children are growing up, his priorities have undoubtedly shifted. His focus is now on being a better father, and as bad as it is to say, may be a downside to his career.
Tiger Woods has achieved things in sports that may potentially never be surpassed. He is a once-in-a-century golfer. He is the greatest athlete of all time, arguably in any sport. But is this great golfer’s career coming to a close? Perhaps. Perhaps not.