It seems like professional athletes have such a short shelf life these days. In most sports, once an athlete creeps into their 30s, many fans assume he or she is on their last leg.
For Tiger Woods, it was more than just a case of getting old. He also had to deal with the distractions that came with nagging injuries and the extramarital affair debacle that captured tabloid headlines for months, if not years.
Now, at the ripe old age of 37, some might have assumed that Woods was winding down his career, getting ready to fade into history as the sport’s second best player (only to Jack Nicklaus).
Then, just over a week ago, Woods captured The Players Championship, by shooting a 13-under. Sure, you could chalk this up to a fluke victory — not much of a surprise, especially considering Woods’ past brilliance. However, this win marked a far greater accomplishment.
Tiger’s Hottest Start Ever
The Tigers Woods of yesteryear has stormed back early in the season. Woods’ victory at The Players Championship marked his fourth stroke victory in his first six attempts of the season. Believe it or not, this is an unprecedented feat for Woods, which begs the question: “If he has mounted the best start of his career, will it amount to his best season?”
Yes, Woods has been dominant so far this season, but his victories just seem to lack the brilliance that came with his previous dominating seasons. Maybe it’s the bad PR, maybe he’s just not doing it in prolific enough fashion. But when you shed the biasness surrounding this now-controversial golfer, you can tell he’s certainly on par for his best year yet.
While Woods pieced together a number of brilliant seasons, nothing matches his 2000 campaign when he piled up nine PGA tournament victories. These included:
- U.S. Open
- British Open
- PGA Championship
- Mercedes Championship
- Bay Hill Invitational
- Memorial Invitational
- Bell Canadian Open
- AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-AM
- World Golf Championships – NEC Invitational
While this might seem like a magical season (and it is) that Woods simply does not have the energy to trump, the numbers would suggest otherwise. Woods is off to a better start this year than he was in 2000 in terms of victories.
What many fans fail to account for when looking at Woods’ body of work now is that he does not compete as much as he did when he was a young buck. When you do not compete as much, your chances of winning go down (right, match majors?). So, this suggests that not only is Woods winning, but he is also being incredibly efficient in the process.
You can negatively spin Tiger’s success all you want (if you’re not a fan), but at the end of the day, the numbers don’t lie — he is the best in the business.
Where Is The Major Win?
The one piece of ammunition detractors do have over Woods is the fact that he is in desperate need of a Major win. In 2008, Tiger won the U.S. Open. Ever since then…crickets. Does Woods melt down on the big stage, or is this simply the law of averages in effect?
If this year’s hot start isn’t enough to shut up Tiger Woods critics, then snagging a Major this season certainly would.