Tiger May Never Be Another One Like Him

By Associated PressSeptember 5, 2006, 4:00 pm
2005 Deutsche Bank ChampionshipVijay Singh had a smile on his face when it was over, the kind of dazed smile we should be accustomed to by now because it's been on the faces of a lot of guys who have teed it up in recent weeks against Tiger Woods.
Singh didn't have much to say. There wasn't much he could say.
Really, there's not much left to be said.
If you're counting, Woods has now won five tournaments in a row. Watch him shoot a 63 in the final round of the Deutsche Bank Classic and you wonder how he can possibly lose again.
He will, of course, because golf can be a maddening game, even if your first name is Tiger. Someone may even come from behind some day and beat him at a major championship, as improbable as that might seem.
For now, though, be content to watch greatness. Savor the moment so you can tell your grandchildren you were there during the day when one man was so mentally tough and physically gifted that he could seemingly will his way to victory.
Enjoy him, because golf may never see the likes of a Tiger Woods again.
He's already the greatest player of his time. Barring injury, he'll become the greatest player of all time sooner than anyone ever thought.
What has to frighten his fellow players is that the best may still be coming.
'Everything can always be better,' Woods said. 'This game is fluid. It's always changing, it's always evolving and you can always get better. That's the great thing about it. You can get better tomorrow than you are today.'
The words might sound arrogant, coming as they do from someone who has won five tournaments, including two major championships, in a row. But the best always have a touch of arrogance in them, and Woods is no exception.
Besides, he really believes it.
He overhauled his swing once even after winning big early in his career. He did it again after winning seven of 11 majors at one stretch, presumably because he figured he should have won them all.
Woods is close to becoming a billionaire but, in an era of pampered pros who are content just to earn a nice living, he plays as though he doesn't have two nickels to rub together.
If possible, he's more obsessive about remaining the best than he was at becoming the best.
'I could always hit the ball better, chip better, put better, think better,' Woods said.
There wasn't much Woods could have done better on the front nine Monday when he caught Singh with an eagle and birdie in the first three holes and was never really threatened the rest of the way. Give Singh some credit because he tried when others would have given up, but the result never seemed in doubt.
It didn't on the back nine at the PGA Championship either. Or, for that matter, the final round of the British Open.
So now it's five in a row, though you get the feeling that Woods isn't as impressed with the winning streak as his fellow competitors might be. It's a career to them, but to the game's best player it's merely a summer fling.
That's partly because Woods has already won six in a row once, the last four he played in 1999 and the first two the next year. And even he considers the record of 11 straight during the final year of World War II by Byron Nelson almost unapproachable.
The only thing that really matters to Woods is major championships, and almost lost in the talk about his streak is that he owns trophies from the last two. He'll go into next year's Masters as a prohibitive favorite to win his fifth green jacket, and a win at the U.S. Open at Oakmont would give him the Tiger Slam for the second time in his career.
Assuming he wins those -- and it's hard to assume against Woods the way his game looks right now -- he would have a chance to win the real Grand Slam and edge tantalizingly close to the record of 18 major championships now held by Jack Nicklaus.
Nicklaus, of course, is generally regarded as the best player ever. But he never won tournaments in bunches like Woods is doing, and he never held all four major titles at once like Woods has a chance of doing for the second time next year.
Woods needs only 21 PGA Tour wins to pass Nicklaus for second place in overall wins, and seven major championships to overtake him in the category that means the most. He'll get those, and by the time he's in his mid-30s he will likely break the record held by Sam Snead of 82 tour wins.
By then, Woods won't have anybody left to chase. He will have to motivate himself by trying to set the bar so high that no one will ever break his records.
Knowing Woods, he will do just that.
The great ones usually do.
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    After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

    Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

    Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

    Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

    It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard

    On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

    There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

    He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

    His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

    Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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    Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

    With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

    He picked up one more No. 2, too.

    The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

    In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

    Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

    “It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

    Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

    Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

    He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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    Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

    Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

    Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

    His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

    “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

    Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

    Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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    Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

    Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

    Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

    What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

    Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

    Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

    Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

    Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

    Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

    Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry