Martin Kaymer’s comments this week that players are “not scared anymore” of Tiger Woods comes as no shocker, but it’s notable Kaymer acknowledges there was fear.
In the modern history of the game, whose name do you think struck the most fear into the competition when it hit the leaderboard?
Here’s one man’s stab at ranking the five most intimidating:
1. Tiger Woods – At the height of his powers, who crushed spirits and confidence more than Woods did? Winning the U.S. Open by 15 shots, the Masters by 12, the British Open by eight? Winning four consecutive majors? There are no more intimidating feats in the game's history. And if Woods returns to his best form, his aura returns with it.
2. Jack Nicklaus – Tom Weiskopf said it all for his generation: “As you looked at Jack Nicklaus at the first tee, you knew that he knew that you knew that he was going to beat you.”
3. Ben Hogan – The Wee Ice Mon’s cold competitive persona is legendary. “There are three ways to beat somebody,” Hogan once told Ken Venturi. “You outwork them, you out-think them and then you intimidate them.”
4. Nick Faldo – If Greg Norman is playing with anyone other than Nick Faldo in the final round of the 1996 Masters, does Norman blow his six-shot lead? “I wasn’t the most approachable,” Faldo once said. “I wanted to be intimidating.”
5. Greg Norman – The nickname “The Great White Shark,” the confrontational persona, they combined with his ability to shoot really low scores in unsettling so many players not named Nick Faldo.