The Tiger Thread

How many majors will Tiger finish his career with and will he ever return to #1 ranked golfer?

  • 15 - Doesn't win anymore

    Votes: 3 6.3%
  • 16

    Votes: 13 27.1%
  • 17

    Votes: 15 31.3%
  • 18 - Ties Jack Nicklaus

    Votes: 7 14.6%
  • 19 - Passes Jack

    Votes: 10 20.8%
  • 20

    Votes: 1 2.1%
  • 21+

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Yes - He will become the #1 ranked golfer

    Votes: 22 45.8%
  • No - He'll never reach #1 again

    Votes: 11 22.9%

  • Total voters
    48

Dernells Casket n Flagon

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Rather than making the Masters Thread the all encompassing Tiger Woods thread, I thought it would be interesting to break on the discussion on where does Tiger go from here.

His last three majors he's been Tied 6th, 2nd and now 1st. He won the Tour Championship last year. He's up to 6th place in the World Golf Rankings behind Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Justin Thomas.

His health is everything, and it seems he may have figured out exactly what he needs to do to minimize injury risk and preparing himself for tournament play. I'm actually surprised he played in as many tournaments as he did last year (18), his most since 2005. He played in 18 - 21 tournaments from his debut in 1997 to 2005. My guess is he'll play in the Wells Fargo Championship and then skip the Byron Nelson in preparation for the PGA Championship.

Big questions:
  • Can he catch Jack?
  • Will he ever return to the World #1 spot?
 

bostonbeerbelly

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I may end up changing my answer. 19 seems awfully far away. Just from a numbers point of view.

Tiger Age - 43
Realistic window - 5 years after this year
Majors - 23 remaining in window

To win at almost a 20% clip in majors for the next 5 years is incredibly difficult and I think I have talked myself out of that he will pass Nicklaus.

Now some caveats - Tiger is like no other previous golfer when it comes to fitness, there are off chances he could compete and win a random major in years 48-55...if he can swing a golf club.

I am amending my answer and going with 17. I think he gets one more random one at the Master's and picks up another along the way, with that other one being maybe his best shot this year at Pebble.
 

LoweTek

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We can't underestimate the power of the confidence boost this win must have given him. Doubtless he was a confident guy before but he proved a lot last weekend both to golf and to himself. He was among the best the PGA could offer, some of the most accomplished golfers in recent years and he schooled them all. It's got take him higher.

BTW, if you don't frequent the media forum, Joe Posnanski wrote a terrific column about Tiger and the power of the 12th hole. A great read.

I think he wins at least one more Major this year. Catching Jack still has too many variables. If he does, I hope Jack is alive and there to see it. It will make a great moment.
 

steveluck7

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I think its more likely that he catches Jack than returning to number 1. I just don't think he'll play enough.
He said as much in the press conference after the Masters. Said he’d definitely play less than last year as last year he was focused on qualifying for WGC events again. Now that he’s ranked high enough to get into those and he knows that his game plan to prep (at least for Augusta) works, he’ll definitely be choosy with his events.
I don’t get the sense that the Fed Ex cup means much to him.
I also hope his only flights overseas are for the Open and one more Ryder Cup. No more UAE or Dubai please
 

RIFan

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A lot needs to go right for him to catch Jack and the competition right now is as tough as it ever has. If I had to place a bet on a long shot scenario it would be that Tiger is the 1st to win a regular major and a senior major in the same year. I can definitely see him pulling it all together for a magical post-50 run in a major.
 

CantKeepmedown

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I think he could win another Masters or 2 to be honest. I know that it wasn't until Molinari and Co made their mistakes on Sunday that he took command. But he left a few strokes out there during the week (especially on Thurs and Fri) and he could have had a lead going into Sunday if things were different. Of course, you could say that about other players as well.

I think he'll contend at Augusta for the next 3-4 years at least. And mix in another one along the way.
 

Dernells Casket n Flagon

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After the last three majors, I think he'll win a major a year for the next three years, and then he'll eventually get one to get to 19 between 46-50.
 

gtg807y

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I think its more likely that he catches Jack than returning to number 1. I just don't think he'll play enough.
I think he'll get to #1 and relatively soon, because the vast majority of the events he plays now are the ones that give out the most world ranking points - majors, Players, WGC's, and the playoff events.* He's exempt for life for three of the four majors, and for all practical purposes will be for the US Open for the rest of his competitive career. He's going to be fully exempt in the WGC's for a long time - once you get this high in the rankings you have to play really poorly/stop playing altogether for a long time to far fall - Spieth has not had a lot of bright spots since his Open win and is still in the 30s.

Tiger doesn't miss cuts, so he's getting some world ranking points every time he tees it up. And the WGCs are no cut events where everyone gets points just for showing up.

And on top of all that, he has his own limited field tournament, which again is no cut and everyone gets points along with their vacation in the Bahamas. Tiger finished one spot above DFL in last year's Hero and got points commensurate to a t-32 finish at the Masters this past weekend.

*assuming they give out OWGR points in the revamped Tour Championship. Apparently that hasn't been confirmed yet.
 

cshea

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Jack’s record is tough from a numbers perspective, but I wouldn’t count him out. Most of the tour players interviewed (Koepka, JT, Fowler, Reed, etc.) after Sunday basically think he’s closer to that then you might think which I found interesting, it seem daunting to me but whey would know best. The guy did have his back fused and then contend and win almost right away which is insane. He’s been back what 16 months and won one and almost won 2 others.

I think he will have the most chances at the Masters and Open Championship. He knows Augusta inside and out, and the Open will set up well. He loves the style of play and the conditions and courses can neutralize the bombers which will help as he loses length. It has been kind to older dudes. Els, Mickelson, Clarke are all recent winners in their 40’s and of course Watson almost won it at age 59.

The US Open will probably get away from him the quickest, but he’s got Pebble in June and Torrey in 2021 combining up.
 

gtg807y

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If he has misses like he did on 11 and 14 at Augusta at a US Open, he's not converting those into birdies and pars, he'll be dead. The US Open is the major he's least likely to win again.
 

johnmd20

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If he has misses like he did on 11 and 14 at Augusta at a US Open, he's not converting those into birdies and pars, he'll be dead. The US Open is the major he's least likely to win again.
Spieth and Tiger both.
 

Number45forever

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He'd be #1 right now if he'd played enough events. They divide world ranking points (accumulated over two years) by tournaments played with 40 as the minimum divisor. He's not played close to 40 events the last two years, but they still use 40 as the divisor. If he'd accumulated points at the same rate but for 40 events instead of the 26 or whatever he's played, he'd be #1 right now...and by a comfy margin.

Basically, Tiger is back. If he stays healthy, he'll be #1 by year end, I'd bet. I think he wins another major this year and finishes at around 20-21 majors.

IF...IF...the back holds.

Disclaimer: I'm the biggest Tiger fanboy in the world.
 

EvilEmpire

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I just can't see his back holding up for that many tournaments in a given year. I honestly hope he doesn't try and keeps focusing on majors and the tournaments that help prepare him for them.
 

cshea

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I think he’s already there. He ended up making 20 starts last season and said that was too much. He cut 1 event early in the season. Then WD’d from Bay Hill with a minor neck problem which is something he never would’ve done in the past. I think those weeks might pop up more now that he is being smart about his health. He’ll avoid playing back to back weeks if he can. He’ll end up with 15-17 starts this season, and probably stay around there for the seasons to come.
 

The Needler

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He'd be #1 right now if he'd played enough events. They divide world ranking points (accumulated over two years) by tournaments played with 40 as the minimum divisor. He's not played close to 40 events the last two years, but they still use 40 as the divisor. If he'd accumulated points at the same rate but for 40 events instead of the 26 or whatever he's played, he'd be #1 right now...and by a comfy margin.

Basically, Tiger is back. If he stays healthy, he'll be #1 by year end, I'd bet. I think he wins another major this year and finishes at around 20-21 majors.
This is correct. It's kind of funny that the "expert" golf sports writers still have no clue how the OWGR works. ESPN just did a piece where basically all of them said they expect Tiger to win another major this year, but none of them thought he'd ever get back to #1 in the world. He basically only needs to pick up ~150 points by the end of the year to get there, and a major win is worth 100. If you exclude what he just did, he still gained about 150 points over his last 10 or 11 tournaments. If I could find a sportsbook willing to give anywhere near even odds on him regaining the #1 spot, I'd be all over it.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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A few random thoughts:

- I’ve no idea why one would limit his window to five years. It’s about his back, the guy is still an amazing athlete in tip top shape. He’ll be competitive into his mid 50s if his back holds up. Phil isn’t half the athlete he is and he’s still in the mix at almost 49; still hits the ball long. He’s fine as long as his back holds up.

- I do think he cares about FedEx. He’s too competitive not to. I do also think he cuts back to 20 or so tournaments but he will play the big ones. He needs competitive rounds to stay sharp and it’s something he’s said himself many times.

- to that point; he got his mojo back Sunday. He had the tiger strut and steel going for the first time since...when? It’s probably ten years since he’s been healthy and had that back. Yes, there’s more talent on tour now but they hadn’t seen it before. They folded. Yes, he’s still got some rust on his putter, but if he made a few Thursday he’d have blown that away.

- he’s driving the ball perhaps as well or better than he ever has; it’s always been his weak point. He’s found a swing and equipment to bomb accurately.

- as someone noted he will be in the mix at Augusta or any Open course until he dies. His knowledge of Augusta and his versatility in UK events to adapt to the style of play are beyond anyone most likely. DJ or someone in that group isn’t leaving the driver in clubhouse and hitting 3W all day like Tiger will. There’s a ton of talent to be sure, but it’s bomb and gouge mostly. And inconsistent.

- his putting will be fine and get back; he showed Sunday that his game has almost always been ‘get a lead Sunday and then let the pack chase you’. Nobody grinds pars like Tiger.

Sunday was huge for him on so many levels. When I think of Tiger’s most emotional or biggest wins, I think of his emergence at Augusta and his dad; his Open win right after his dad died; and Sunday. I don’t think he could grasp the first, the second was personal and emotional, Sunday was redemption.

He’s going to go on a tear. I think he ends up passing jack and as someone noted, I hope jack is alive to see it - he’s basically golf’s version of the old bitter Dolphins players that pop champagne when last undefeated team loses.
 

Average Reds

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A few random thoughts:

- I’ve no idea why one would limit his window to five years. It’s about his back, the guy is still an amazing athlete in tip top shape. He’ll be competitive into his mid 50s if his back holds up. Phil isn’t half the athlete he is and he’s still in the mix at almost 49; still hits the ball long. He’s fine as long as his back holds up.
I'm fairly certain that most who are looking at his window being five years are primarily thinking of his back.

Putting that aside, there's no denying that it gets harder when you approach fifty. There was once a time when I would have argued strongly that Tiger would render that norm irrelevant. Given his back, I no longer believe this.

- I do think he cares about FedEx. He’s too competitive not to. I do also think he cuts back to 20 or so tournaments but he will play the big ones. He needs competitive rounds to stay sharp and it’s something he’s said himself many times.
In his prime, he played 18-20 tournaments a year. I think he'll do a Nicklaus and focus in on majors now, which means he's looking at 16 a year, including FedEx Cup playoffs. (It's worth remembering that Tiger used to skip one of the FedEx Cup playoff events every year.)

- to that point; he got his mojo back Sunday. He had the tiger strut and steel going for the first time since...when? It’s probably ten years since he’s been healthy and had that back. Yes, there’s more talent on tour now but they hadn’t seen it before. They folded. Yes, he’s still got some rust on his putter, but if he made a few Thursday he’d have blown that away.

- he’s driving the ball perhaps as well or better than he ever has; it’s always been his weak point. He’s found a swing and equipment to bomb accurately.

- as someone noted he will be in the mix at Augusta or any Open course until he dies. His knowledge of Augusta and his versatility in UK events to adapt to the style of play are beyond anyone most likely. DJ or someone in that group isn’t leaving the driver in clubhouse and hitting 3W all day like Tiger will. There’s a ton of talent to be sure, but it’s bomb and gouge mostly. And inconsistent.

- his putting will be fine and get back; he showed Sunday that his game has almost always been ‘get a lead Sunday and then let the pack chase you’. Nobody grinds pars like Tiger.

Sunday was huge for him on so many levels. When I think of Tiger’s most emotional or biggest wins, I think of his emergence at Augusta and his dad; his Open win right after his dad died; and Sunday. I don’t think he could grasp the first, the second was personal and emotional, Sunday was redemption.

He’s going to go on a tear. I think he ends up passing jack and as someone noted, I hope jack is alive to see it - he’s basically golf’s version of the old bitter Dolphins players that pop champagne when last undefeated team loses.
Don't necessarily disagree with your general perspective here, but maybe not as vehement.

Tiger may have the swagger back, and his persona will only become more intimidating as players now see him as a real threat. But his game is not the intimidating factor it once was.

What made him untouchable in his prime was the fact that he was the longest hitter, the best chipper, the best pressure putter, and the smartest player. And the reality is that he has maybe one of those characteristics now. (He's the smartest player in terms of managing the course.) He's still Tiger, and I hope that will bring him another four majors to pass Jack. And if he plays consistently, there's no doubt in my mind that he'll get to #1 later this year.
 

steveluck7

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I think the “test” about the Fed Ex could come. It’s unlikely he won’t qualify but it’ll be interesting to see if he has a few bad showings and is falling behind in the standings, will he add events just to accumulate points? That balance between his competitive juices and sticking to his maintenance plan would be interesting.
 

Average Reds

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I think the “test” about the Fed Ex could come. It’s unlikely he won’t qualify but it’ll be interesting to see if he has a few bad showings and is falling behind in the standings, will he add events just to accumulate points? That balance between his competitive juices and sticking to his maintenance plan would be interesting.
He's essentially qualified already. The only question is how high up the standings he finishes. So I don't think he'll need to do anything beyond timing his events to give himself a break.

Also, the FedEx Cup playoffs are now three events down from four. So it's far less of a grind than previous years. And with the President's Cup in December, there is no "burnout" factor to worry about like last year. (Although the long layoff will be an oddity.)
 

TFisNEXT

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The key is obviously the back as others have said. Tiger has found his swing again, there is zero doubt about that. For anyone who has watched him since the British Open last year and onward, he's the best iron player in the world. He seems to have found his driver more too over the past 8 months, wayward tee shots on 11 and 14 aside. He was spraying it a lot more last summer even when he was contending in the British Open and PGA Championship....he even kept it almost totally in the bag a few rounds.

If he was 43 years old and it was 2005, I'd say he would def catch Jack. Competition is stiffer now though...and it's already cost him one major (last year's PGA Championship). I think he will win 2 more, with at least one of them another Masters. Like others, I could see him in contention at the Masters when he's in his 50s as long as his back holds up. He just knows the course too well. So maybe there's more magic left than I think. If he can get his putter hot, then I'll admit I'm underestimating his chances. He won this week while putting pretty poorly inside of 12 feet.
 

Bergs

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If he can get his putter hot, then I'll admit I'm underestimating his chances. He won this week while putting pretty poorly inside of 12 feet.
This is an underrated aspect of Tiger's performance in this tournament. He was awful. And won.
 

ernieshore

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I’m one of the few that voted “no more.” I will admit that is somewhat of a “hot take” vote, but I am still skeptical of him maintaining his health and the outcome of this spinal fusion surgery lasting a long time. Combine that with all the talent on tour, Tiger is not the putter he was and likely won’t get better with age, and how hard it is to win a major (See Tiger’s seasons in 2009, 2012, and 13), and I could see him not winning another one.

Saying all that, I agree with everyone above who says he can contend at Augusta for a long time if he is healthy. He won on Sunday because he was the smartest player on the course, and Bernhard, Freddy, Watson, Jack, even Larry Mize have shown you can be relevant there for a long time because of experience.

----
Kind of a side note – has anyone else heard the speculation that Tiger, Phil, and other players are chewing CBD gum? I heard it first on the No Laying Up podcast. But it makes sense to me - I wondered what the hell was going on with them smacking on gum early in the round, but not later in the round. It sounds like CBD is not unusual on the Tour and you could see Phil and Tiger sharing their experiences over the last few months.

https://thegolfnewsnet.com/ryan_ballengee/2019/04/14/why-is-tiger-woods-chewing-gum-at-the-2019-masters-112992/
 

TFP

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What benefit would CBD have during the round? Anti-inflamation? Calm nerves?
Both, to be honest. Pain relief and general anti-anxiety.

And that was my first guess on all the gum chewing even before the podcasts brought it up. I'm guessing it's big around tour for those reasons.
 

cshea

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On the schedule questions with Tiger- he is skipping the Wells Fargo next week which is one of his usual stops in healthy years. So he’s going to roll straight from the Masters into the PGA.
 

Dernells Casket n Flagon

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On the schedule questions with Tiger- he is skipping the Wells Fargo next week which is one of his usual stops in healthy years. So he’s going to roll straight from the Masters into the PGA.
Anyone else extremely surprised by this? Almost makes me nervous about an injury given Tiger's specific pattern of a tourney two weeks before a major. I wonder if Tiger is just spending a month at Bethpage.
 

cshea

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I think he is just dialing it back like he said he would. He was playing yesterday for that new GolfTV thing he is a part of. My guess is that going forward a season for him will look like:

Hero
Farmers
Genesis
WGC Mexico
API
WGC Match play
Players
Masters
PGA
Memorial
US Open
Open
WGC
Playoff*
Playoff*
Playoff*

* not sure he’ll play all 3 playoff events. He floated skipping one last year. If he’s comfortably in the top 30, he could skip the first or second.

That’s the 4 majors, Players, 3 of 4 WGC’s, the 3 elevated status tour stops (Arnie’s, Jack’s and his own), a playoff or two, and his little hit and giggle in the Bahamas where they do award OWGR points. The only regular stop would be the Farmers at Torrey where he’s won a bunch and there is an Open coming up relatively soon.

He also just did announce he is playing in the inaugural PGA Tour event in Japan in the fall, but there was probably some arm pulling and green handshakes of some kind from the Tour to get him to do that and I’m not sure that’ll be a regular stop going forward.