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Woods adds a 4t to his body of work in the majors at the 2013 Masters

April 16th, 2013 · 9 Comments

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.

Tags: The Majors · Tiger vs. Jack

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9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 BD // Apr 17, 2013 at 2:49 am

    Woods, however, is competing against much stronger fields than Jack did.

  • 2 Phil // Apr 17, 2013 at 6:07 am

    BD, The fields today are filled with money makers with no knowledge of how to close out a major. In Jack’s day, his competition could close the deal. There was more quality at the top of the leaderboard in his day where the wins and top fours are at stake.

  • 3 Michael Cambridge // Apr 17, 2013 at 8:26 am

    Quality of field argument is moot. Jack had a better stroke average and higher win % than any of his HOF rivals.He was just better. Tiger has a better SA and better win% than Jack and anyone that ever played in the 98 year history of the PGA. Tiger broke all time scoring records in all the Majors, which means he outplayed his and all of Jack’s competitors, weak or strong.

    Too bad Jack supporters have to rely on the quality of his LOSSES to embellish his career against Woods’ WINS and myriad of all time records.

    Tiger, Jack and the PGA have sold the standard of “most majors” for their own selfish reasons: Jack has the most; Tiger expects to have the most; and the PGA wanted a long drawn out journey to 19 by top ever drawing card, Tiger, to bolster its ratings.

    Now, I read that Tiger not only has to win 5 more majors to be the GOAT, but he has to LOSE or come in 2nd fourteen more times, 3rd six more times, and 4th three more times???

    Neither Tiger, Rory, Westwood, Donald, nor any aspiring great golfer wants to lose. Jack hated finishing less than 1st. Now he’s further and unnecessarily glorified because someone finally came along to win Majors and non Majors at a greater clip than Jack ever did.

  • 4 BD // Apr 17, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    I don’t see any evidence that Jack faced stiffer competition than Tiger against the top handful of golfers of their respective eras. Jack himself said he faced about 30 guys who could beat him if he wasn’t at his best, and that there were, by the mid-90s I believe, about triple that number of players at that level. So Tiger is competing against much deeper fields of guys who are good enough to win majors.

    The fact that there are so many DIFFERENT major-winners today confirms what Jack was talking about.

  • 5 BD // Apr 17, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    Also, the assertion that the competition is weak because too many players are content just to make an easy living doesn’t match reality. It’s quite obvious that players today spend vastly greater amounts of time and energy becoming better golfers than their counterparts of 50 years ago. And I see no evidence that in MAJORS guys are just phoning it in.

  • 6 Mike Cambridge // Apr 17, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    Comical circular logic in use by Nicklaus advocates:

    Jack is greater than Tiger because he beat better competition. Jack’s competition was better than Tiger’s because they didn’t fear Jack and they beat Jack more than Tiger’s competition beat Tiger. Therefore, if Tiger’s competition had beaten Tiger more, then they would be better respected. In other words, if Tiger had lost more, he would be a greater golfer because he would have beaten better competition. Unfortunately, Tiger wins too much, therefore Jack must be better.

  • 7 Philip Capelle // Apr 18, 2013 at 7:27 am

    Hi Mike,

    Could I possibly be one of those illogical Nicklaus advocates you are referring to? Since you like to quote the experts, I thought I would share this one with you from 9-time major champion Gary Player:

    From his book, World Golfer. “Like Jack and Lee, I prefer to win. If I can’t be first, I want to be second . . . I don’t want to be 70th if I can be 69th.”

    Jack won more majors, and he contended more often, therefore he is better. Furthermore, he would have won even more majors if his competitors had lacked the mental strength that any prolific major winner has – something that has been lacking in Els and Mickelson, the next two best players of the Woods Era.

    BD – If you were Tiger Woods, who would you rather be paired against in the final group on Sunday in a major? Trevino or Woods – or Els, Mickelson, or one of those no-names that make up today’s supposedly deep fields? It is no accident that Tiger won 14 majors against his 14 playing partners in the majors in the final round – on a few he had a big lead – on the others, his opponents lacked the stuffing to stay with him, head to head. This trend started with Mike Weir’s famous implosion at the PGA in 1999 and stayed with him through most of his major winning days.

  • 8 Michael Cambridge // Apr 18, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    Not referring to you Phil because you know competition in golf is the GOLF COURSE and not good, great or weak players. You also know that measuring a golfer’s efficiency in golf against golf courses is stroke average.

    Jack always played for a number and often said he never focused on what players were doing. Did you ever hear Jack say that Trevino play so well that it inflated his own scoring average? Of course not. In 1939, Sam Snead needed a par on the 18th to win the US Open, but he didn’t know his human competitor’s stoke score. Sam therefore thought he needed a birdie against the 18th hole. Byron Nelson and other playoff bound players didn’t compel Sam to triple-bogey that day because the 18th hole accomplished that.

    I do love quotes. Jack said on the Golf Channel that he preferred to be one or two shots behind in the final round of a Major because he expected the leaders would collapse, just as they did in 1986 when Jack made up 4 shots to win his last career tournament. Could it be Jack’s human competition was so weak that they let a 46 year old come from behind to win the Masters?

  • 9 Michael Cambridge // Apr 18, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    Ask Jack’s and Tiger’s competitors, if after Jack’s amazing 24 year winning career ended in 1986 with a Master’s come-from-behind win, would anybody seriously believe that a golfer could come along and outplay Jack Nicklaus across the board (except for the 18 Majors which is a function of longevity)?

    Prior to the hydrant, ALL Tiger detractors and ALL Tiger fans agreed that he would surpass Jack’s 18 as long as he stayed healthy, committed, and happily married. In other words, something extraneous from just playing golf would be the only thing that could derail Tiger from surpassing Jack’s 18. NO ONE ever said that Tiger wasn’t good enough, or that he hadn’t exhibited the talent to get to 19 and more.

    All golf observers would have denied the possibility of a post-Nicklaus golfer winning Majors at a faster clip and breaking the all-time scoring records in all 4 Majors, winning the Grand Slam, establishing the all-time lowest career stroke average in PGA history and hold the #1 ranking for a cumulative 12 years. Not to mention 6 USGA Amateur major championships in 6 years, becoming the first ever $Billion athlete and the 2012 AP Athlete of the Decade. A golfer?

    The prospect of someone accomplishing the foregoing and more would have been dismissed as IMPOSSIBLE. And yet, he’s considered by a respected minority of observers of being the second best golfer in history because his “competition” is subjectively perceived as inferior vs. the players Jack beat???

    BTW Phil, I read your book and enjoy it as an the best reference source on both Jack and Tiger.

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