Tom Gorman: Is Tiger Woods back?

Posted in Gorman Vs Geary by on February 18th, 2013

Sugar. Honey. Ice. Tea. Look close to find a message in those words. Is it true the low-intelligence golf mind of Tim Geary is at work spinning that Tiger Woods has forever lost his groove? That could be amusing or foolish: you make the call.

With three wins in 2012 and one win, so far, in 2013, how dare the zany, butterfingered Mr. Geary question the recent track record of the greatest golfer of all time?  I’ve said it before and will say it again; Tiger Woods is the best ever, because of his dominance the likes of which the game has never seen. Let’s begin the opening salvo with a reminder of Wood’s unprecedented four-consecutive professional major championship triumphs over the 2000 and 2001 seasons, to his 15-shot rout at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in 2000, his record 12-shot victory at the Masters in 1997, and his masterful eight-shot victory at St. Andrews in the British Open in 2000.

In match play, Woods’ record is unmatched winning three consecutive U.S. Junior Amateurs and three consecutive U.S. Amateurs and winning the PGA Tour’s Accenture Match Play Championship three times. Only the indomitable Jack Nicklaus has more major championships, 18 to 14. Now, at age 37, with 75 career wins and five or six twilight years remaining, the question is can Tiger win another major?

My fuzzy crystal golf ball prediction shows a Masters victory on Sunday afternoon April 14, for major No. 15, which will bolt Woods back to world No. 1 again , a thrown he has owned on and off since June 1997.  Although 2010 produced zero victories, Woods won six times in 2009; four times in 2008: and eight times in 2007.

Does being “back” mean Woods has to win four times or more? Well, that might happen this season because his ball striking is solid; he is healthy, confident and hungry; but most important his putting stroke has returned.

Since 1998, his first full year in professional golf, Tiger Woods dominated and rose to World No. 1 and 16 years later he ranks World No. 2, behind Rory McIlroy.  McIlroy, an immature 22-year old lightweight, flash-in-pan who had a lucky 2012, won four times in 2012. He earned player of the year over Woods, but he is destined to be a David Duval-type train wreck. He missed the cut in three of 16 PGA Tour events and averages 310 yards off the tee, but has no idea where it’s going, ranking 156th in driving accuracy with a 56% average. McIlroy will fall mightily from the top in April because his scrambling statistics are unimpressive showing Greens in Regulation only 66% and Save Percentage a weak 56%. (More on McIlroy’s career free-fall in another debate.)

The case can be made that Tiger Woods off-course marital problems in fall of 2009 resulted in a slump, causing a 107-week winless streak, and no majors since.  He fell to world No. 58 in November 2011, but the resume shows that after Woods’ signed the final divorce check of a reported $200 million to the gold-digging, Swedish nanny, Elin Nordegren, his game got back on track. Forbes magazine estimates he is the first $1 billion athlete consistently grossing $100 million annually, even after his off-course hiccups.

It is a question that trails Tiger Woods at every turn like teeming galleries that crane for a glimpse of the world’s most iconic athlete. Is Tiger back? Yes, Tiger Woods is back. In his season debut on the PGA Tour, Woods became the first player in Tour history to win eight times at the Farmers Insurance Open on January 20 at Torrey Pines. With a record 10 player of the year titles and 16 World Golf Championships, there are many more chapters to add to his career, and put to rest any rumors that he’s lost his winning touch.

If skeptics have doubts as to whether Tiger Woods, the most important athlete in American sports history, is back, please send comments to the “Garbage man” a/k/a Tim Geary! He is full of Sugar Honey Ice Tea!

(Tom Gorman, a Boston-based golf aficionado, shows signs of rust with the keyboard, his confidence is so-so, but his hunger to crunch his opponent in future debates is unwavering. His email is teetalk@aol.com)


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