Six reasons why Tiger Woods will never win another Major

Simply put, Tiger Woods revolutionized the game of golf. He was like no one the game had ever seen, and the masses flocked to watch him play- no, change- the game of golf.

Woods was on television playing golf as a toddler, became the first man ever to win the US Junior amateur multiple times, won the US amateur at a younger age than anyone previously, and stormed onto the PGA Tour in a cyclone.

Woods’ fist-pumping, energetic, aggressive style sent PGA Tour veterans cowering in the corner, and Woods told the world he was here to stay right off the bat with a record-shattering 12-stroke victory in the 1997 Masters.

Woods, then 21, came onto the pro circuit and absolutely embarrassed the field in golf’s most prestigious tournament. Almost immediately thereafter, Augusta National, the host course, began making drastic changes in an effort to “Tiger-proof” the golf course, so such a beatdown wouldn’t happen again.

Spoiler alert: it did. Woods has won there three times since.

And did I mention that Woods is black? In a game where rich white men historically trotted around the course with blacks allowed only to caddie, Woods rocked their world by not only making it on tour, but by owning it.

That same course that implemented structural changes to prevent Tiger from winning didn’t allow black members until 1990, just six years before Tiger made it on tour. It refused women until 2012.

There will never be another player like Tiger Woods. He was so different, so revolutionary, so dominant, so intense; he’s a once-in-a-lifetime player that the world has never seen before and may never see again. Personally, there will never be another player that I idolize more or root for harder. No golfer in my lifetime has ever captured audiences more thoroughly than Eldrick Woods, and for me, none ever will.

Which is why it hurts me so much to realize that it’s all over.

Tiger Woods will not win another major championship. He’s won 14 of them, and ten years ago, it wasn’t a question of if, but rather when, Tiger would break Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors.

Too much has changed, too much has gone down for Tiger to be the player and the man he once was, and there are six specific reasons why.

I hope I'm wrong, but I don't see Tiger winning at Augusta again.

I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t see Tiger winning at Augusta again.

1. Age

This one is obvious: Tiger isn’t getting any younger. Now 38 years old, he’s entering the end of his prime as a golfer. Can he be competitive for several more years? Of course. Jack won at Augusta when he was 46, and Phil Mickelson continues to play at a high level into his 40s.

But with that said, the list of current 40+ players winning regularly is very, very short, if it exists at all.

2. Health

This is closely tied to age, and is much more detrimental to Tiger’s ability. While age is just a number, a bad back is anything but, and that is what ails Woods right now. The knee seems to be fine, but now the back is giving Tiger fits. This type of injury can linger, and derail anyone’s career.

3. Confidence

Did Tiger Woods have the best golf swing when he arrived on tour? Maybe. Did he have the best mental game? Without a shadow of a doubt.

Woods’ advantage was between his ears, as well as between the ears of his competitors. In the early 2000s, when Tiger was plowing through the world’s best players with ease, everyone in the field believed it was Tiger Woods’ championship to win. He had a killer instinct and a will to win that was unparalleled, making him a terrifying competitor with ferocious intensity.

Now, he lacks that same confidence. I’m not sure anyone believes Tiger can win on a weekly basis anymore, and his own failures have allowed doubt to creep in. No golfer can win unless he believes he can.

4. Putting

When Tiger was at his best, he never missed clutch putts. Every putt that had to go in did just that, and at one point he had a streak of something like 1,000 straight putts made inside three feet.

That was before he changed putters. I can’t fault Woods for doing so- the money thrown at him for going to the Nike Method he now uses must have been ridiculous. But since switching from the Scotty Cameron putter he won 13 majors with, he hasn’t won another.

I think the Indian, and not the arrow, is at fault here, but the switch had to rattle Tiger’s confidence even further.

5. New swing

First of all, I think that Tiger’s swing is just as good now as it was when he was winning. However, it isn’t his swing.

Tiger grew up on tour taking wild lashes at the ball, playing a draw on nearly every shot. Now, he’s toned it down for more control, opting for a fade instead.

I like his new swing- it’s more fundamentally sound and will produce more consistently- for most players. But this is Tiger Woods we’re talking about- I’m not sure firing Butch Harmon and switching to Sean Foley as his swing coach was the best move for him.

6. Strength of competition

The PGA Tour has evolved since Tiger got on tour- a great example of this is the purse size, or earnings for players who make the cut in a tournament. Tiger’s first major win- the 1997 Masters- had a purse of $2.7 million, with $486,000 going to the champion.

In 2013, Adam Scott made just shy of $1.5 million for winning, with the total purse being $8 million.

Now, not all of this can be attributed to Woods, but he’s certainly had a hand in popularizing the game throughout the last 20 years. His own doing may be his undoing- as popularity and money have increased, so has his competition. The players are better, parity is at an all-time high, and anyone can win on any given week making it harder for Tiger to do so.

 

Tiger Woods hasn’t won a major since 2008, when he topped Rocco Mediate and the rest of the US Open field on one leg, limping around Torrey Pines in a stoic manner, determined to get it done at all costs.

Since that day, we haven’t seen that same Tiger- only glimpses of what he once was.

There have been so many moments in Tiger’s career that have left is in shock and awe, that gave us no option but to rise to our feet in amazement. From the ace at 16 in the Arizona desert to the gutty US Open win at Torrey, and everything in between (a certain Augusta chip-in comes to mind), Tiger has been nothing short of unbelievable.

Until he prowls down the 18th fairway, wearing red, tied for the lead once again, I’ll be left with no more than memories of what it was once like to watch the man they call Tiger.

  • http://isportsweb.com/ Joe White

    agreed

    • clouseau31

      I was a volunteer at Firestone for years and saw a lot of great golfers and none were as arrogant or overbearing as Woods and I never heard another golfer say a good word about this phenom nor any volunteer for that matter!! His arrogance was too much for anyone to take and I hope he never wins spit but I am afraid he will..He still shows flashes of the game that brought him to this point in his game and life but to those that
      really know him or volunteered he will always be an arrogant male!!!!

  • dwight

    time will tell but i think you are wrong!!!!!!!!

    • ScottPeceny

      I certainly hope so Dwight. Nobody is more fun to watch. Thanks for the comment

  • Hallesy

    Jack is my favorite golfer of all time as I grew up watching and rooting
    for him. Tiger used to be my second favorite golfer but because I put a
    premium on how a person behaves both on and off the course I just have
    trouble supporting Tiger anymore. I always wanted him to win but now I
    find myself rooting for someone to beat him or actually cheering when he
    does poorly. From what I have seen he is a decent human but not
    someone who I can really root for anymore. It is disappointing as so
    many young kids looked up to him. Also with the way the company that
    just won the lawsuit against him says he treated them gives me more
    reason to root against him. I feel cheated somehow that one of the
    greatest athletes of all time has lost my respect to a degree. I must
    say however that I root for him more than any non American golfer and I
    love nothing more than when he wins a tournament for America. So I
    guess I am still a Tiger fan but not as big as I once was!

    • James Mase

      Tigers a very generous person ans especially nice to kids. Always handing out balls and signed gloves every tournament. So what if some company is trying to get rich off of him. We really dont know the full story to be judging.

  • Sharon Benson

    Don’t count him out just yet.

  • Kommissar Alexei

    He won 14 majors with that putter, not 13. And he fired Haney to go to Foley. He left Harmon ages ago.

    • ScottPeceny

      Not true. He won 13 with the Newport 2 and one (97 Masters) with a Scotty Cameron Terrylium. I referenced Harmon because I felt he had the most success with him. I should have probably worded that differently though. Thanks for reading.

      • Kommissar Alexei

        It was an enjoyable read. Thanks for writing.

  • Andy

    Golf is a mental game, although it involves physical fitness to support it. It’s all about things inside player’s mind. As it happens with any known sports played, there will be winner or loser. If it is said that Tiger will not win any major again, that’s is not entirely true. Everyone has equal chances of winning or losing

  • troy

    If he does not win anymore he will still be recognized as the greatest golfer ever.

    • ScottPeceny

      Quite possibly so. If not, certainly the most influential

    • troy

      I believe the game of golf will love to see tiger when another major anf if possible 5

  • Geezus Khrist

    I had always thought about what Jack had said along time ago, “He went around, doing what he could to Tiger-proof the courses”, and he has mentioned this more then once. That record that they speak of, he would have already surpassed it, it would have fell along time ago if they hadn’t made a lot changes in trying to thwart his raw-power of owning this game like no other before him. And, most likely we’ll never see another person of this caliber again.

  • scott plum

    “the masses flocked to see him play” Yeah ,unlike arnies army.When jones won the grand slam ,they had a ticker tape parade in nyc for him,but nobody cared about golf until tiger came along.”energetic ,aggressive style” Yeah Arnold was never like that . Hogan and Nelsen were dirt poor and had to start as caddies. Tiger was never poor.As far as prize money going up compare the contracts in basketball and baseball fron 1997 to today, Everything goes up.Tiger without question is one of the alltime greats but all these conclusions are not based on fact.Like everything else in the modern world the only question is which is greater the ignorance or the stupidity? and they wonder why journalism is dead.

    • ScottPeceny

      Easy now. I didn’t say that “nobody cared about golf until Tiger came around.” I said that he increased the game’s popularity. If you don’t think that’s true, then you are entitled to your opinion. I do happen to believe that he had a huge impact on the game, like Arnold and Jack had. He can’t be credited entirely with the increase in purse, but he definitely deserves some credit. Have you been to a tournament with Tiger in the field? His following is rivaled only by Phil, and TV coverage is basically a broadcast of Tiger’s shots with a few other guys sprinkled in while Tiger walks to his next shot.

      Thanks for reading and commenting- I’m always open for a good debate.

      • Mike_Trail

        He totally increased the games popularity, there is no denying that, what I don’t understand is the media’s obsession with him. He hasn’t done anything in YEARS…They need to shine the light on someone else, like Rory and the rest of the awesome young players. Tiger can re-take the spotlight when he does something, but until then, Im tired of listening to stuff about him because he has become irrelevant IMO…he’s not a force to contend with anymore, yet there are a LOT of guys who have become exactly that.

    • crocodileteeth

      Nicklaus, Young Tom Morris, Vardon and Hogan/Snead were the REAL greats.

    • Mike_Trail

      Hogan would sleep in a sand trap before the course would open so he could be the first one to get a Caddie gig for the day…..and then he became Ben Hogan. Tiger is standing on the shoulders of Giants.

  • Ronald Branch

    I hope Tiger shuts the world up and get it done. Too many haters out there! He will win more majors and yes The Masters too! If not this year, for sure in the future. Win this Masters Tiger! I believe!

    • crocodileteeth

      Your ‘;belief’ is ill founded.
      I’m not a ‘hater’, but his club-throwing, spitting and swearing is disgusting, and we can do without such coarse behaviour, thanks very much.

    • lasiter

      Why do you call them haters? I would call it more like , “he is disliked”. Part of it is because he is “in your face” every time he excels. A fist pump that says “up yours” ! The cursing! The womanizing. The cruel way he treated his wife, Elin – one of the nicest persons you ever want to know or to meet.
      I wouldn’t say that he is “hated” – How can you really like a person who has “no personality to really like”. Nothing like Ernie Els, or Arnie, or Gary, or Jack, or Steve Stricker, or Tom Watson, or Mickelson . That’s why I don’t “hope” for anything. “Hope” is for losers!
      Think about that!

  • Deuce Pilsner

    Scott Peceny. To say Tiger Woods will never win another major…you sir…are an idiot.

    • crocodileteeth

      Care to bet your house on it?
      It is almost certain he never will again, not least because of the lumbar disc surgery, which is the death knell to successful golf.
      In short, you, sir, are an idiot who knows nothing of medicine or the effect of lumbar spinal surgery.

      • Kmac

        I was a D2 college player. Two years after I graduated I had a portion of the L5-S1 disk removed (September of 2012). In 2013, I had the best golf year of my life. Felt reinvigorated, lucky that I could be out there, and played to a +1.5 handicap. Certainly not a death sentence to golf.

        • ScottPeceny

          That is very interesting Kmac. I played collegiately myself and know many guys who have had careers derailed by back issues. I have my own back problems, although it’s nothing that affects me too much. Good to hear a story about a very successful surgery- certainly Tiger will hope for similar results to you.

    • Lasiter

      You Deuce are the idiot. Scott gave you 6 plus reasons why. He left out #7 which is o.k. but is probably the most important. Hormone drugs. This stuff will give an athlete increased energy, stamina, and strength/power in the short term – but it will be the downfall as that athlete ages.
      Everyone is different. Tiger may last longer than any other – but with his knee and back, esp his back I also believe he is faltering and the drugs are beginning to take it’s toll.
      Also, too many extremely good golfers now out there and coming up – the new generation – a whole new group of Tigers that he has to defeat every week or every few wekks – or months.
      No, I believe he gave us a peek at what is to come – where did he finish? 60th plus ! Holy Moly
      how many times can he mentally finish way back? He will try too hard and like Lee Triveno and his back problems – I shall say no more – but the bottom line is, I agree with Scott.

  • Clyde

    I can’t believe no one but me thinks the steroids are breaking his body down. The bad behavior on the course that TV cameras try to hide turned me off liking Tiger, throwing clubs and cussing was never done by other greats, Jack, Arnie, Sam, Phil.

    I would add firing Steve Williams was his biggest mistake after his personal disgraces.

    • crocodileteeth

      It has long been obvious that he took Human Growth Hormone, provided by the Canadian doctor renowned for giving it to athletes, and who was a house guest of Woods’ in Florida.. Why the PGA has not banned him is clearly because of money—he doubles TV audiences—but it does nothing for drug-free sport and is to be deprecated. Indeed, he has been tested, but the PGA refuses to release the result for obvious reasons. This frankly STINKS.

  • African

    Hahaha…trying to find one reason why you will win a major….mmm cant find any

  • Samuele

    I think, sadly, that he is right. Tiger is now getting older, And I don’t see him winning again. I’m not a hater, I would like tiger to win again a major, I, just like him don’t see him winning a major

  • Mike_Trail

    Anyone who knows anything about Golf and specifically golf swings knew that his back was going to go out sooner rather than later. I had heard about Tiger before I ever watched him swing a club….and when I did finally see him swing I said “There is no way his back is going to hold up with that violent of a swing…” Jack’s hips went out, but Tigers Knee has gone out and now his back….what’s next..His Neck? His Hips?….only a matter of time. I think Tiger will win another Major, but he is definitely fighting his health vs time.

    • troystewart69

      “No way his back is going to hold up”. Sure at 38yo you can pat yourself on the back on how you predicted his decline, but guess what he’s already won 14 Majors and holds countless records! And do not forget he won a Career Slam in consecutive majors…YOU TELL ME WHO WILL BE THE NEXT TO DO IT!?!?!?!?!?!? So the part about his back, kind of makes your point seem….well, tardy!?

      It will be some time before another one like him comes along and until then the popularity of golf and the Pro Tour is fading! Many discussions around Wood’s playing career have mostly been negative…looking for a weakness, a flaw, a misstep. Instead I would rather think of all the great moments he gave THIS generation. Many people today do not remember the play of Nicklaus, Palmer, Player, Trevino, etc.either because they were too young or were not interested. Wood’s made people who did not care about golf, watch!!! Granted this is the Era of HDTV, but no one has had such an impact with the public and sports as Woods, except for Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Wayne Gretsky, etc…all icons, did they decline in their later years? Yes, but we revel them today and forever!

      People can talk smack about him all they want, but give the man his due. The golfing industry and the PGA knows his value…its about time everyone else does also!!!

      • TAW

        Hey, Troy
        Is mickelson older than woods ? Yes
        How about Tom Watson who has been competitive in a major since tigers last win. Yes
        So, I ask where was their automatic back problems when they hit 38? comment makes you sound kind of Tardy (nice grammar)
        just like cut and paste

        • troystewart69

          Your idiot response is exactly why there should be a law preventing mentally challenged individuals from owning a computer. First of all IDIOT…look at Wood’s swing and compare that to Mickelson & Watson…notice any difference!?!?!?!?!?!? Secondly IDIOT, I get the point Peceny is making, but if you read my response, processed it through the 3 brain cells you have left from the botched abortion, you would see the point I was making…IT’S CALLED RESPECT!!! Any jackhole like Peceny or IDIOT like you can beat a person down when they are struggling, but if Woods did not do one more thing in his career, guess what…HE ACCOMPLISHMENT A UNIVERSE MORE THAN PECENY OR YOU!!! IDIOT!!!

          • ScottPeceny

            Man I’m not sure how I got dragged into this one…

      • Mike_Trail

        Wait what???? I didn’t say he wasn’t good, I said his swing was too violent to sustain over the course of a long career. A career that will have to be quite long in order to Catch Jacks record, a record that has been his goal from the get go. Even Jack thought he was going to catch him. The problem is that Tiger’s body is starting to fall apart before he reached the goal. Like I said, its Health vs Time….and now the rest of the field has caught up to Tiger, they are younger, longer, healthier, and just as good if not better…Tiger needs 5 more majors to pass Jack. He is 38 years old. I just don’t see how it is going to happen. That knee is in MUCH worse shape than I think you realize also. The thing about golf, which is different than most sports, is that ANY small injury can become nagging because your swing utilizes your ENTIRE body, and if you can’t use your entire body, your golf shots show it. It’s not like football or soccer where you can play with a broken hand, or finger, or a sprained ankle or whatever. These injuries to Tiger are Real, and they are debilitating, and they aren’t really ever going to go away.

  • Real Golfer

    Tiger’s temper pales in comparison to at least 10 other modern golfers, Pat Perez, John Daly, Stenson, Stadler, Sergio, Kevin Na, Rori Sabertinni just to name a few. Tom Weisckopf probably had the worst temper ever. It is fairly well known that Arnold Palmer routinely cheated on his wife during his day. (Google it). But the press was different then. You should aso read Ken Venturi’s book. He claims that Arnie heated in the ’58 Masters. Maybe I am just old, but I enjoy watching Tiger play whether he is playing great or struggling. It’s a tough game and getting frustrated is part of it. Anyone who plays golf knows it.

    • TAW

      that’s all good and fine but what do your mis- guided jab at other golfers have to do with tigers decline?
      FYI, if everything you read in a book is true (venturi’s) then… Go and read hank haney’s “the big miss” then come back and comment.

      • Mike_Trail

        That book was crazy. Good insight, even if some people were mad at Hank for writing it.

  • troystewart69

    Six reasons why Scott Peceny is wrong about Woods: 1. Peceny is an idiot. 2. Peceny is a hack. 3. Peceny knows diddly about golf. 4. Peceny is a 36 handicapper! 5. Peceny is an Alum of MSU…GO BLUE!!! & 6. Peceny will never be TW!!!

    • ScottPeceny

      $20 a hole. Name the course!

  • troystewart69

    Sure at 38yo you can pat yourself on the back about predicting his decline, kind of makes you a Golf Genius, right Peceny!?!?!?!? But guess what smart guy, he’s already won 14 Majors and holds countless records! And do not forget he won a Career Slam in consecutive majors…kind of forgot that didn’t you genius!?!?!?!?!?!? So Peceny, YOU TELL ME WHO WILL BE THE NEXT TO PULL OFF THAT FEAT!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

    It will be some time before another one like him comes along and until then the popularity of golf and the Pro Tour is fading! Many discussions around Wood’s playing career have mostly
    been negative…looking for a weakness, a flaw, a misstep. Instead I
    would rather think of all the great moments he gave THIS generation.
    Many people today do not remember the play of Nicklaus, Palmer, Player,
    Trevino, etc.either because they were too young or were not interested.
    Wood’s made people who did not care about golf, watch!!! Granted this
    is the Era of HDTV, but no one has had such an impact with the public
    and sports as Woods, except for Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Wayne
    Gretsky, etc…all icons, did they decline in their later years? Yes,
    but we revel them today and forever!

    People can talk smack about
    him all they want, but give the man his due. The golfing industry and
    the PGA knows his value…its about time everyone else does too!!!

    • ScottieND

      Excellent Comment to a failed article.

    • Well Duh

      Lol. Did you even read the first half of the article? Were you sobbing uncontrollably when you wrote this?

  • robert

    If Tiger wants to go back to winning he and Butch Harmon need to kiss and make up. Butch developed his swing that had him winning and knows his game and his mind. All the swing changes have been his downfall. If he goes back to Butch that train will get back on track

    • Pingman 2.0

      It is more complicated than that. First it appears that Phil has some say in the matter, as he had to approve the addition of Fowler to Butch’s stable. Unlikely he would welcome Tiger back into the fold.

      Although Butch is enjoying his work, especially with the new young players like Fowler, I doubt he wants to get into the Tiger circus once again. Currently if Tiger wins it is all Tiger and when he loses it is his swing coach’s fault. Ask Sean Foley or Hank Haney. At 70 he doesn’t need that pressure.

      Finally, Butch can be very proud of his body of work with Tiger. He moulded him into the greatest winning machine in golf from a kid of 18. That time is past.

  • Daniel

    I’d very much like too see him contend at the pga championship, then the discussion will certainly change! It’s ok to say that he can’t catch Jack, but that he will never win again its a bit stretched. And I’ll tell you more, if he does win one of the next 5 he might even get the chance to win 18+ again…

  • Bart

    I totally agree w/ reasons for Tiger’s demise especially the Butch & Scotty Cameron – you might add Pro V 1

  • JB

    With the change in putter and coach, you could even throw in the firing of Stevie? Not a big factor in the big picture, I know, but his old caddy is still winning majors. And honestly, I truly believe PEDs being front and center in the world of sports has had an effect on his “preparation”.

    • ScottPeceny

      If I were to add reasons 7 and 8, those would be the two. Had to cut the list at some point though. Thanks for the comment!

  • Pingman 2.0

    I shake my head when I read articles like this. The man had brutal back issues early this season. Then he had back surgery. Then he had to leave the clubs in the garage for 3 months. He has had 6 rounds of competitive golf, and every golf pundit out there is writing off Tiger.

    BTW what does your game look like after the first 6 rounds of your season ? I can tell you, I am usually 10 strokes above my Index. So just relax.

    Are Tiger’s best years behind him ? Yes, and so what. He will be 39 and healthy in 2015, and I see no reason why he can’t win a bunch of tournaments. Don’t change anything. Keep the same coach, and equipment. The rest of it will look after itself.

    • ScottPeceny

      Was there to watch him win last year- fun tournament. He certainly has the talent to win, but he must stay healthy and get his mental edge back.

  • Patrick John McHugh

    Tiger has not been truly healthy since 2008. If his back is fixed and if he can play his normal schedule starting in 2015 (which also means he can practice the way he wants to), then counting him down and out in the majors might be a very poor bet. He won 3 times in 2012 and 5 times in 2013. Check the record books, no other golfer in history has ever won 5 PGA Tour events (and they were big events with deep fields) in the year they turned 37 years old – only Tiger. Yes, yes, I know, The Players is not a “major” … but it does draw a deeper field than any of the majors. And two WGC event wins is no small potatoes either. So as much as some pundits want to dismiss Tiger as being over the hill and past his prime, just last year, with a back that was not healthy, he was still setting new records. In my opinion, it all depends on his health. He still has the drive and the desire, which far surpasses all other professional golfers. And he still has Sam Snead’s record to break for most PGA Tour wins ever (he only needs 3 more to tie Snead at 82). I do not think we have seen the end of Tiger Woods’ winning ways … nor the end of his winning majors … just as long as he gets his body fixed.

  • Keith Panco

    You can’t present objective facts to Tiger worshippers. They will burn you at the stake for heresy.

  • brekko

    I agree with almost all your points, save for opening argument point about age? Golf is notorious for being a game in which people well into there middle age and beyond compete at the highest level. You didn’t make any mentions of the older players who’ve won tournaments that all the top level pros play, and they did it well into their 40′s. Greg Norman, Fred Couples, Jim Furyk (who’s name we see in the top ten about every week) and that’s just to cite a few. I would have maybe left this point off entirely or at least saved it for last.

    • ScottPeceny

      Only 35 of the 430 major champions have been 40+. That’s only 12%, so while it has been done, it isn’t regular. I would also say that winning and contending are not one and the same. Sure, Freddy is always on the Augusta leaderboard, but has he been close on Sunday in recent years? He hasn’t broken 70 on Sunday since 2001