I discovered a story on Golf.com by the AP which featured this headline:
“Woods leaves Masters empty-handed one more time.”
I disagree, and I think Woods does to. Consider this from Woods: “I thought I really played well. … So overall it was a pretty good week.” So, while he didn’t win, Woods probably learned this week that he still can win majors, and that he believes he would have won this one were it not for the three or four shots that he lost on the 15th hole on Friday when his ball hit the pin and rebounded back into the lake.
Sure, Woods has won 14 majors, and common wisdom has it that he can draw on those experiences to win again. Yes he can, but he’s never won a major with the Sean Foley swing, and he’s got to have lost some of his major’s winning magic considering that it’s been 58 months since he’s won one. Still, it feels like he can draw on this disaster much like Adam Scott did in recovering from his meltdown at the 2012 Open to win the Green Jacket.
Now for my reason why Woods did not leave the Masters “empty-handed:” Woods kept on trucking after the triple on 15 while so many pretenders fired and fell back and, as a result, scored a hard earned 4t, which is another strong addition to his body of work in the majors. While not the W he was after, this high-on-the-leaderboard finishes do count when his record is compared to the Jack Nicklaus, the man he is chasing.
For the record, Woods still trails Nicklaus in wins (18-14), seconds (19-6), and thirds (9-4). But he has closed to within two in fourths as he now trails Nicklaus, 8-6. Woods’ 2013 Masters also contributed to his record of consistently finishing in the top four in the majors with 30 in 61 starts as a pro, a gaudy 49.2%!
Nicklaus, in comparison, recorded 36 top fours in his first 61 starts as a pro, an average of 59.0%!! And he continued to consistently win and contend through age 40 while racking up eight more top fours in his next 15 starts. This gave him 44 of 76 from 1962-1980, an average of 57.9% – a record of consistency that Woods will be hard pressed to match despite leaving Augusta with a 4t tucked under his belt.