by Jeff Skinner
This may be sacrilegious and I may be the only one that sees that the emperor has no clothes. I probably am forfeiting my invite down to Windemere for a round of golf, but Tiger’s season is a failure. There, I said it. Tiger’s season is a failure. I expect to be excommunicated from the golf world and there are probably a couple of hit men on their way right now to beat me with a three iron. But, as remarkable season as he is having, it still is a failure.
By anyone’s measure, Woods’s 2009 is stacked with unbelievable statistics. In fourteen starts he has five wins, two seconds, twelve top tens, leads the PGA Tour in scoring average, All Around Ranking, FedEx Cup points and the Money List ($8.1mil). Tiger’s 2009 season is a career for ninety nine percent of the PGA pros. He may go on and win more tournaments and win the FedEx Cup, but it does not matter. He is still a failure. He has no majors in 2009 and it is major championship that drives Woods.
Tiger wakes up in the morning and knows how many days until the next major. His entire training and practice routine are geared around the majors. This year he was shut out, the first time since 2004 he has not won a major. He started the season with fourteen majors and ended with fourteen majors. He gained no ground on Jack Nicklaus and his record eighteen wins.
Tiger is too much of a gentleman to say this year is not successful. Tossed clubs and curse laden tirades aside, Woods is a gentleman and he would not disrespect his fellow competitors and the PGA Tour by saying anything negative about his 2009 accomplishments. He has said that considering where he started this year from it is a successful year. He started this year still recovering from major knee surgery and his fractured leg. Many golfers and most athletes would have taken much longer to comeback from such a serious injury. He was not in true game shape until the US Open but he still was able to win twice before teeing it up at Bethpage. When Woods spoke of this year he always qualified his remarks with a reference to his injuries. “It’s been a great year, either way,” Woods has said. “For me to come back and play, and play as well as I’ve done and actually win golf events … to be honest with you, I don’t think any of us would have thought I could have won this many events this year.” To comeback so quickly and to win with such frequency is nothing less than astounding, but the major tally for this year is zero and that’s all that matters. Personally, I think Tiger’s season is unbelievably successful, by my standards, it is by Tiger’s standards that it is not.
For years we have listened to Tiger talk about the majors. It is all that motivates him. Regardless of what he says publicly, and he will always say the right thing in public, you can’t help but think that he is genuinely disappointed in this season. A year passing without him notching another win towards Nicklaus has to leave him frustrated. Five wins and counting, that’s a lifetime of wins for most golfers. For Woods, who is used to multiple major wins in a season it is an exercise in check cashing. Watch out for Woods next season. He has some ground to make up.