Tuesday, June 17, 2008


TIGER WOODS is now only four short of Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 Major golf championships.

In many people’s eyes, he is already the greatest golfer that ever lived.

But after winning the U.S. Open on one leg, the question has to be asked: Where is his competition?

Nicklaus had to contend with Gary Player (9 Major wins), Arnold Palmer (7), Lee Trevino (6), and later Tom Watson (8).

In comparison, Woods is up against Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh and Ernie Els, who have each won three Majors.

None of these three featured at the business end of this year’s U.S. Open. In the end, it was left to journeyman professional Rocco Mediate and little-known Englishman Lee Westwood to throw down the main challenge.

That Woods was able to overcome his obvious discomfort following knee surgery is further testament to his physical condition and sheer will to win. The golf writers ran out of superlatives to describe him a long time ago.

However, right at the moment, it’s a case of Tiger first, the rest nowhere – both on the course and in the World Golf Rankings.

Mickelson miles behind Woods in World Golf Rankings

He holds a bigger lead over Mickelson than the leftie does over the rest of the top 100.

Third-placed Adam Scott has yet to win a Major; neither has sixth-placed Sergio Garcia. Els hasn’t won one of the Big Four for six years while Singh’s last success came in the 2004 PGA Championship.

There are new pretenders in Trevor Immelman and Zach Johnson, but where were they all at Torrey Pines?

The TV moguls aren’t complaining. Tiger’s a big enough story himself to guarantee great prime time ratings.

But how much better would they be if Mickelson, or someone else for that matter, could regularly go head-to-head with Tiger down the stretch?

The truth is no one is consistently good enough to give Tiger a game; no one can match his determination, desire and downright doggedness.

That’s why it’s only a matter of time before Tiger Woods passes the record held by Nicklaus and statistics confirm what we already know: that he really is the greatest.

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