At the end of the week in which Byron Nelson passed away, Tiger Woods extended his winning streak to six. It’s the longest of his career, but five short of Nelson’s magic 11.
There has been some discussion as to whether he is really at six, or at one, since he was bounced out of the first round of match play at Wentworth two weeks ago. But the streak he is pursuing is the PGA record for consecutive victories, for that is the one held by Lord Byron. He’s at six, and people should stop trying to take that away from him.
I really think that we have to start seriously considering the idea that Byron’s “Unbreakable record” is attainable. In a previous post, I wrote about a possible scenario for breaking the streak.
But Tiger’s overwhelming victory—for that is what an eight shot win is—makes me pause for thought. If he is so dominant this week, what happened last week during the Ryder Cup? If Tiger had turned in a performance like he did at the American Express Championship, he would have done better than 3 points. Granted, that would have made it 11.5 to 16.5, but perhaps if he had dominated others would have been inspired.
Indeed, if you judged his career on his Ryder Cup performances, he would not be considered the Greatest Player Ever, but just Another Good Player. I think it’s pretty clear that the Ryder Cup—for whatever reason—just doesn’t do it for him.
A friend of mine suggested yesterday that he had one million reasons to win the American Express, and none for the Ryder Cup. He pointed out that Tiger was one of the players who, a few years ago questioned why they should pay the Ryder Cup for free.
I don’t think it’s the money, though. I think that Tiger is inspired by PERSONAL achievement. That would explain why he’s so dominant in singles matches, but merely adequate in team efforts. And it would explain why the Captains in team events do so much hand wringing over finding the proper partner for him. If the money figures into it, it is likely just as a measure of his own personal success.
Tiger’s a solo act. And that’s ok. (I think Stevie should be prepping his resume, though). I’m not much of a “team” guy either; I’d rather succeed or fail on my own efforts. But knowing that, I try to bow out of as many group efforts as possible.
And if Tiger feels that way, maybe he should bow out of the next Cup.