Jack Nicklaus says that if Tiger doesn’t win at Pebble Beach or St. Andrews this year, he may never catch the record of 18 majors.
“He will be 36 next year and time starts to go. He has to win five majors. Phil Mickelson won his fourth at the Masters, but prior to that three was the next closest (active) guy.
“So Tiger has to win almost two careers (of a ‘regular’ player) in the next five or six years to do that and that is a pretty big chore.”
I don’t know how much of Jack’s statement is serious analysis and how much is wistful thinking. But he’s right in that five majors is a whole career’s worth of prizes.
I think that Tiger’s biggest chance was this year, with the majors at Augusta (as always), Pebble Beach and St. Andrews—three courses he loves and plays well on. Indeed, Tiger has won six of his fourteen Majors on just two courses—August and St. Andrews . Overall, by my count, Tiger has won 71 times in his U.S. PGA Tour career, yet he has trophies from only 24 tournaments. Vijay Singh has a far more diverse record, winning 31 times at 23 different tour events.
But it’s also true that in 1975, after winning his fourteenth major, Nicklaus went through a four year major winless streak. So its not all over yet.