With a T40th finish on Sunday Tiger Woods finished his 70th major tournament, without a win. Whilst he would likely be the first to remind you he has won five times in 2013, the pressure of not winning a major in his last 18 attempts is clearly mounting.
More and more the answer to the question “Will he break Jack’s record of 18 majors?” is changing.
When he won the 2000 PGA Championship Tiger jumped ahead of Jack Nicklaus in terms of major-pace for the first time. He had won 5 of his first 22 majors. After his first 22 majors, Jack had only four.
Tiger would win his next major at the 2001 Masters to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time, whilst also pulling further ahead of the pace needed to break (or tie) Jack’s long-standing record.
Tiger remained ahead of pace until last year’s US Open at Olympic Club. Following his T21st finish there, both Jack and Tiger had played 64 majors, and both won 14 times.
Here’s a comparison of both men through their first 70 majors:
Wins: Jack 14, Tiger 14
Runner-up: Jack 15, Tiger 6
Top-3s: Jack 37, Tiger 24
Top-10s: Jack 50, Tiger 38
Missed Cuts: Jack 6, Tiger 5
Average Drought Between Majors: Jack 3.57, Tiger 2.94
Jack won his 15th major at his 75th major outing, meaning that to prevent falling behind the Jack’s pace, for the first time in 13 years, Tiger will need to win a major before the 2015 Open Championship (St. Andrews).
But what about age I hear you cry?
I hear you, and for your information Jack was 35 years 6 months old when he won the his 14th major (1975 PGA Championship), and 38 years and 5 months old when he took home number 15 (1978 Open Championship).
Tiger won his 14th major at the 2008 US Open, aged 32 years and 5 months old, three years ahead of Jack’s pace. However, his 18-major/5-year drought will have him teeing it up at the 2014 Masters in 238 days aged 38 years and 3 months old.
Quick maths tells you that to keep up with Jack, based on age, Tiger needs to take home one of the next two majors. If he were to win the 2014 US Open at Pinehurst, he would have won his 15th major eight days ahead of Jack’s pace.
Will he do it?
Only one other time, since 2000, has Tiger had to wait more than a year to win a major (2002 US Open until the 2005 Masters, a total of 10 majors). He seems sure to end his 18-major slump at some point, but will it come ahead of Jack’s record pace?
Currently, Tiger is 13/8 to win at least one major next year. Specifically, he’s 6/1 favourite to win the 2014 Masters and 7/1 favourite to win the 2014 US Open.