Does Tiger Woods Deserve the Golf Hall of Fame? cover

Does Tiger Woods Deserve the Golf Hall of Fame?

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Of course he does. I was just seeing if you were paying attention. Tiger’s unusual openness this week regarding his personal life, while questioning his future ability to complete sent shock waves through the golf world. Woods’ belated admission of what any objective observer could see was noteworthy only in that it came from someone who has fiercely guarded his privacy in the past, and has desperately clung to the notion that he is relevant on the golf course. I, for one, disagree with Jack Nicklaus when he says Tiger could still catch him for Major Championships, however, I fully expect to see Woods back on the tour at some future date.


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Does Tiger Woods Deserve the Golf Hall of Fame?

Does He Deserve It?

Of course he does. I was just seeing if you were paying attention.

Tiger’s unusual openness this week regarding his personal life, while questioning his future ability to complete sent shock waves through the golf world. Woods’ belated admission of what any objective observer could see was noteworthy only in that it came from someone who has fiercely guarded his privacy in the past, and has desperately clung to the notion that he is relevant on the golf course.

I, for one, disagree with Jack Nicklaus when he says Tiger could still catch him for Major Championships, however, I fully expect to see Woods back on the tour at some future date.

Better Days

Better Days

Image by gomattolson, (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Tough Days

Further, it would not surprise me if he could occasionally challenge in a tournament a la Phil Mickelson, and could post some good scores at the Masters.

As for domination, that ship has sailed. It seems unlikely he will ever crack the World Top 10 again.

It has been a tough couple months for many of the sports world’s superstars. Peyton Manning (age 39) looks to be just about finished. After 17 years of professional football and several major surgeries, it is not surprising the body is giving out. It remains to be seen if his amazing understanding of the game can compensate for the physical issues in the post season.

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant (age 37) is now in his 20th, and last, NBA season.

Excessive minutes on the court resulted in too much wear and tear, leading to several significant injuries.

This brings us back to Tiger (age 40 at the end of the month). Golf is not nearly as physically demanding as football or basketball, however, Tiger took it upon himself to adapt a comparable training program. This fanatical regimen, coupled with a driving personality that saw him “playing” with the Navy Seals, did not help. Years of torque from a violent swing yielded unusual stress on his knees and back.

Violent Swing

Violent Swing

Image by James Phelps, (CC BY 2.0)

Young Guns

Tiger will never be able to overpower the field as he once did.

To win again, he will have to draw upon the mental strength that carried him for two decades. Let’s not fool ourselves, however, the last 12 months have shown a huge crack in the mental toughness, with a mediocre (by his standards) short game and poor results under pressure (check out his scores on Saturday and Sunday) suggesting the end is near.

The good news is that Tiger, and to some extent Phil, kept golf interesting long enough to usher in the era of the “Young Guns”. This group is comprised of Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day; major winners all.

July 11, 2015 John Deere Classic:

There are plenty of other exciting young players as well, such as Ricky Fowler. Each of these golfers has the charisma to attract a new audience and new players to the game. How can you not like to watch Jordan Spieth? Check out these highlights over the last few months.

Video

Video Highlights

September 17, 2015 BMW Championship Spieth makes an ace at No. 2

November 28, 2015 Australian Open

Spieth holes out for Eagle from 181 yards

December 3, 2015 Hero World Challenge

Spieth makes hole-in-one

Moving On

Those four shots would be a great career for most of us hackers.

It is time to thank Tiger for his contributions to the game, but it is also time to move on.

Weekly Observation: The rumor this morning is that Rory McIlroy is engaged. The last time this happened his golf game tanked. Let’s hope he can stay focused…and no more soccer.

Paul Laubach is completely unqualified to provide expertise with respect to golf course rankings and design, however, he is a highly opinionated golf addict who believes everyone should be entitled to his thoughts. He has recently released Confessions of a Golfaholic: A Guide to Playing America’s Top 100 Public Golf Courses; now available in hardcover edition. Please visit tophundredgolf.com regularly for more (im)practical information.