I listened to an excellent podcast this evening with Golf World writer Jaime Diaz and former PGA tour player Paul Azinger. It got me to thinking about a few things I’ve heard locally regarding golf, and specifically Tiger Woods.
Diaz and Azinger discussed numerous topics, but top of mind was Wood’s victory at the WGC Cadillac Championship this past weekend, and of course, the main questions coming out of any Wood’s victory lately are whether he will win another major, let alone match or surpass Jack Nicklaus’s record 18 major championships.
From a local perspective, what bugs me is some of the opinions heard on the airwaves regarding Woods. He’s easy to pile on, given his transgressions. I always had a good chuckle the past few years when Sportsnet the FAN 590’s Bob McCown pronounced that Woods wouldn’t win again. Woods has won 5 times since that tumultuous 2009 American Thanksgiving weekend, but I don’t recall hearing McCown ever acknowledging he was wrong in his pronouncement.
Listening to Tim and Sid on Sportsnet the FAN 590 is usually a positive, enjoyable, experience for me. They’re highly energetic, and bring much to the table. However, Sid certainly showed he was out of his element when discussing this past weekend’s tournament, let alone golf in general, and Woods more specifically. This was the typical situation when I wish radio hosts would understand they are swimming in the deep end, and would acquiesce to an expert of a specific sport to better analyze a story rather than offering an ill informed opinion.
There was much said (mostly negative) about fellow pro Steve Stricker offering Woods some putting advice prior to the WGC Cadillac Championship. What Stricker did is second nature on the tour, and any derogatory commentary regards this are mis-guided. It is ingrained in the tour amongst players, and is similar to Blue Jays pitcher R.A. Dickey getting advice from fellow new Blue Jay Mark DeRosa regarding his fellow Washington Nationals players last year knowing what Dickey was going to throw in certain situations. You may say that DeRosa and Dickey are teammates while Woods and Stricker aren’t, however, golfers on the tour are cliquey, kindred spirits, and often share information, so the comparison is valid.
Of course, until Woods wins a major once again, all opinion is conjecture. We’ve heard numerous media types suggest Woods would never win again, let alone most suggesting he’ll never win another major. I’ve never held this belief. I think Woods will not only overtake Nicklaus’s 18 majors, but he’ll also surpass Sam Snead’s record of 82 PGA tour victories. It will be difficult, as the depth of field on the tour has never been deeper. Wood’s recent record (during the past year) suggest he’s about to go on another great run, as they mirror similar numbers to when he went on a run in his past. Many will say that until Nicklaus’s records are surpassed, he is the best of all time. I have all the respect in the world for Nicklaus, but for my money, Woods is the best ever. At least until the next one…