It’s Tiger Woods’ birthday on Dec. 30, and while we’re not going to sing him “Happy Birthday” or get him a present or anything — dude didn’t invite us to his party, after all — we will take a look ahead at Woods’ options, both near- and long-term.
Woods will play in all four majors, of course, and almost surely a few associated events like his own Genesis Open, the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and the Memorial. He’ll slate in more weeks off this year than last — he’s admitted that he overextended himself in 2018 — and he’ll almost surely go for a Mickelsonesque majors-or-bust angle.
He’ll have substantial competition, far tougher across the board than any he faced at any time in the first act of his career. As Brooks Koepka showed at the PGA Championship in August, today’s players don’t quail in terror at the sight of Woods in red and black, and if Woods is going to win another major, he’ll need to yank it out of someone’s hands. Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Bryson DeChambeau … any one of these cats or half a dozen others is capable of throwing out a tournament performance that could knock Woods back on his heels.
Plus, there’s the age factor. At 43, Woods isn’t just battling the course or other players, he’s battling his own body and the inexorable, undefeated march of time. The odds are not in his favor. And while comparing players across eras doesn’t really fly thanks to differences in conditioning — plus Woods’ own history of injury — it’s worth taking a high-level look at what a few notable names did after turning 43:
So, yeah. Not a lot of precedent for Woods to win big, and no precedent for him to win in bunches. But if anyone could do it, it’s Big Cat. It’ll be interesting to see where we are this time next year.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at email@example.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.” data-reactid=”35″>____
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.