November 11th, 2019
The golfing career of Tiger Woods pretty much defines the word ‘rollercoaster’. After he burst onto the scene by becoming the youngest ever Masters winner in 1997 he was unstoppable for a decade until injury and personal problems saw his form dip dramatically. He has endured a long spell in the doldrums and been written off by many in the game, but 2019 proved to be the year Tiger staged one of sport’s most spectacular career comebacks.
This year has brought two really important tournament successes for Woods: victory in the Masters back in April and the recent Zozo Championship win in Japan. The first of these is the more significant overall, as the Masters is one of golf’s four major championships and winning it for the fifth time took him that bit closer to the record held by Jack Nicklaus for the most majors won. That said, winning the Zozo Championship was still a big deal as well because it got Woods out of a short slump caused by a cartilage issue following the Masters and pulled him level with Sam Snead as the players with the highest number of PGA Tour wins.
They now have 82 of these wins apiece and on his current form, Woods has got to be confident of taking that record for himself next season. As he drew close to claiming that crucial victory in Chiba, he must have been aware of one stat very much in his favor: Snead was 52 years old by the time he set the PGA Tour wins record, whereas Woods is still only 43 – almost a decade younger. Becoming the new holder of this record is surely only a matter of time and that time is likely to be the 2020 season.
The majors’ record will be a harder proposition, as Nicklaus is still three ahead of Tiger: with 18 wins to his 15. Woods stated after winning the 2019 Masters that he was not thinking about it but acknowledged that it would be on his mind once the excitement wore off. Just equalling Nicklaus’s record next season would require him to win three majors in a single season, which is a tough ask for anyone, although certainly something he was capable of during his youthful glory days. Woods has not yet clarified his planned tournament schedule for 2020, but unless he suffers an injury he will definitely play in the Masters, US Open, PGA Championship, and Open Championship. Age is on his side to overtake Nicklaus eventually, but it will take longer than one more season unless he pulls off a miracle.
Tiger Woods is back and the 2020 season will almost certainly see him become the golfer with the most PGA Tour victories. He also has the chance to become the player with the most wins in major tournaments, a shot that he appeared to have lost forever, but that record will take a little longer.
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