It’s been six years since Tiger Woods won a major tournament. Six years! That’s a drought to which many will point and laugh because it’s similar to the drought Jack Nicklaus experienced between his 14th and 15th major wins. That’s exactly where Tiger is now and Nicklaus, with 18 major wins, is the man he’s chasing. But after the news broke that Woods will miss the 2014 Masters Tournament, it’s unlikely he’ll ever win another major.
Now Woods is only 38 and he has the same number of major wins that Nicklaus had at the same age, but the elder player wasn’t battling injuries in his late 30s. Sure, he withdrew from the 1983 Masters due to injury, but that was after he already had 17 major trophies on his mantle…and he won his 18th three years later at Augusta.
Nicklaus fought through a left hip injury in his early 20s, but that was the only thing that really went wrong for him physically during his incredible career. Woods has been battling his body as much as his competition since his early 30s when knee problems caused him to miss several chances at adding to his major victories total. Now, on that same surgically-repaired knee, Woods is also battling back problems that caused him to withdraw from the 2014 Honda Classic, then struggle through the WGC-Cadillac Championship and finally miss the Arnold Palmer Invitational altogether.
He’s also sitting out of the Masters, which means he only has three more chances at winning a major tournament this year. It’s not like he has a ton of chances left; these only come around four times per year and it’s not like they’re easy to win. Plus, we have no idea how long these back problems, which resulted in a microdiscectomy, will linger.
Sure, Woods is in tremendous physical shape compared to the average Joe, but back problems are the worst thing for a golfer since a swing — especially one with Woods’ power — uses the back so much. Without proper rest, which could cause him to also miss The Players Championship in May. Then, assuming he’s healthy by June, he would only have two more chances at winning a major in 2014.
This is serious, people. A back injury to a golfer with a surgically-repaired knee who relies on power has little chances of contending on a regular basis at major events in his 40s and beyond. Add in the fact said golfer needs to win four more majors and Father Time is definitely not on his side. Don’t be surprised if this debate gets a lot more intense soon as it becomes more and more apparent that Wood is done competing against the world’s best.