I know it sounds ridiculous to say that Tiger Woods needs to “validate” much of anything on the golf course. He’s a 79-time PGA Tour winner, a 14-time major champion, and without a doubt one of the biggest stars the game of golf, or pretty much any other sport for that matter, has ever seen.
Still, that’s exactly the task Woods will face over the next four weeks, as he begins the run for the FedEx Cup season championship this week at The Barclays.
For all the time we spend talking about when Woods will win his next major, consider for a moment just what winning the FedEx Cup would mean. If Woods wins the season championship again this year, as he did previously in 2007 and 2009, it would give him three championships in seven years. Every week, we see young upstarts like Jordan Spieth and Billy Horschel winning tournaments, so to prolong that level of success is impressive enough. To do it again at 37 years old is out of this world.
The mark hasn’t been around long enough to be historically significant, and I’ve always felt it a bit contrived to have this type of playoff format for golf, but there’s no question that it’s popular and gives the long season meaning every week. The format isn’t going anywhere soon and will be a mark that players’ careers are measured by.
Woods knows his place in golf history, and surely must recognize that winning a third season championship would only add to his legacy. Not only would three be a difficult enough task for any other player to match or surpass, but there’s also nothing to say that Woods won’t win another two or three of these before his playing days are over.
The playoff is somewhat of a shootout, with points worth five times as much as they are during the “regular season”, meaning no lead is safe. Woods is no surefire bet to win it all at East Lake in a few weeks, but the way he’s played this year, I can’t think of anybody I’d take over him. Even without a major, 2013 becomes a huge success if Woods wins the FedEx Cup.