Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Golden Bear Speaks of Golden Boy
You might have caught this from Bob Harig's column on ESPN.com but Jack Nicklaus thinks Tiger Woods is as good as we think he is.
"I got over that because I knew there were a lot more tournaments to be played. And more realistically, the Grand Slam was possible but not likely. And yet it was my goal to start every year. I started preparing in January for the Masters, and that's what I looked at. I think Tiger looks at in much the same way, but Tiger is probably more attuned to it because he's held all four of them at one time.
"That's a pretty lofty goal, but for a guy like Tiger, I wouldn't put it past him."
In a weird way, I see Tiger shooting for the Grand Slam similar to a football team trying to go undefeated with the '72 Dolphins sweating out every game. I think Jack would love to see Tiger do it, but every year he "fails" is another year Jack can breathe easy. Extremely competitive people never actually cheer for someone, even if they like the person because they wish they were doing it instead.
For some reason it is interesting to think of all these people thinking that this could actually be the "Perfect Storm" year for Tiger in the majors. If he can get through Augusta National, with his four green jackets, he has some familiar tracks to prepare for. First, he'd get Torrey Pines in the U.S. Open, a place he's won at six times since 1999.
After that he'd land at Royal Birkdale for the British, a venue that has some interesting advantages for Mr. Woods. First, his only Claret Jug chase here was in 1998 where he finished third, one shot out of a playoff with Mark O'Meara and Brian Watts. Incidentally, O'Meara is Tiger's best friend on tour and they always do a long trip over to the UK for the British Open, and who better to give you advice on a course than the guy that won the last time the Tour teed it up?
The final leg would be Oakland Hills Country Club, a course that Tiger really has only seen during the Murder at the Ryder Cup, 2004 edition. Woods didn't play particularly poor during the week, but did finish 2-3 after the infamous Mickelson pairing the first two rounds. Hopefully he won't hire Hal Sutton to be his caddy come August.
So, there it is. An extremely wordy preview of the major championships Tiger has to prepare for and what Jack says about it.