Record too long for Tiger
MATCHING or breaking the record for career major titles might just be a bridge too far for Tiger Woods, said his former mentor Mark O’Meara.
With 15 major championships, Woods is three short of the mark held by Jack Nicklaus, and at age 43 is battling ‘Father Time’ in his quest to catch the Golden Bear.
A decade ago it seemed a formality that Woods would overtake Nicklaus, but injuries and scandal were followed by a decade-long drought that only ended when he won the Masters in April.
“Do I think he’s going to catch Jack’s record? Personally, I don’t, but I’d love to see it happen. But three more majors, with the competition as stiff and as good as these players are, it’s going to be very difficult,” O’Meara said.
O’Meara, 19 years Woods’ senior, took him under his wing when Woods turned pro in 1996 at the age of 20, and still calls him a “kid”.
It was a fruitful relationship for both. Woods quickly learned the ropes, while O’Meara took his own game to another level, winning two majors at age 41, the 1998 Masters and British Open. He remains the oldest to have won two majors in the same year.
O’Meara, whose career overlapped with that of both Nicklaus and Woods, said the two had several traits in common, not least that they hit the ball further in their prime than pretty much all of their rivals.
These days, however, Woods is giving up distance to the likes of the world’s three top-ranked players — Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson.
“When Jack dominated the game, the qualities (he) had that made him the greatest player ... those are three elements that Tiger Woods has,” O’Meara said.