Tiger Woods has said this week that he wants to put up 20 Major titles before he hangs up his clubs. That just happens to be six more than he currently has, and two more than Jack Nicklaus has. I had thought earlier in his career, Tiger had a good shot at catching Jack for the 18 he has, and maybe one more to beat him, but over the last five years, that lofty goal has diminished with Tigers knee, and personal problems.
What I am seeing today, however, is a very focused Tiger Woods who is coming into the first major with all of the tools. His golf swing is showing a lot of promise, his wedge problems from last year are gone, and getting Steve Stricker’s help with the putter, Tiger looks almost as good as he did back in the 2000 season. Of course, he is 13 years older, but he is 13 years wiser as well. Tiger has the one thing that most of his fellow competitors neither have, or will ever have, a fierce driving force to perfection.
In the past, Tiger has been very guarded about his goals. He only recently has come forward to share his desires to beat Jack Nicklaus’ 18 major championships, and put a 20 on the board. I wonder how much it bothers him that he wasn’t able to win the Grand Slam back in 2000, and wonder if he ever puts that goal back on the table.
As most of you already know, he held all four major championship titles after winning the Masters in 2001. He had completed the career slam, but because he didn’t win the Masters in 2000, it wasn’t the real Grand Slam. Not the official grand slam that Bobby Jones won in 1930.
The Grand Slam can never be the same as in 1930 when the four majors included the US and British Opens, and the US and British Amateur Championships. Bobby Jones was able to compete in all four, and win all four because he never officially turned professional. Today’s Grand Slam would include The Masters and the PGA Championship to go along with the two opens. No one has ever won the modern slam.
Tiger played well in the 2000 Masters, but finished at -4 under par, six shots back of winner, Vijay Singh in fifth place. Woods played well during the final two rounds, but the 75 on Thursday proved to be his undoing. He came back in 2001, shot -16 under par, and beat David Duvall by two strokes for his second Green Jacket.
With all aspects of Tiger’s game, life, and attitude in place, this may be the year of the Tiger. If he ever had thoughts about what could have been in 2000, and the grand slam, this would be the year. Think about it..a grand slam in 2013 would put a fitting exclamation point at the end of an already great career, and with the four wins, tie him, with Jack, and leave him two shy of his new goal.
In an earlier blog, I had projected that you should take the field against Tiger Woods in the 2013 Masters, but I may have been a little hasty. There is a possibility that I didn’t take his heart and soul into consideration, only his golf game when I wrote that blog. Now I’m beginning to wonder if I might have made a mistake.
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