Tiger Woods hasn’t won a major since the 2008 U.S. Open and he is making a return to the sport of golf after a very lengthy layoff, but that doesn’t mean people don’t believe he can win again.
Four-time major champion Ernie Els is one of those guys.
“I am in my late 40s and he is just getting into them. There have been a few cases where we have won majors in our 40s, it doesn’t happen that often but it does happen,” Els, who was 42 when he won the 2012 British Open, told reporters on Wednesday.
“If players like myself, Darren Clarke and Mark O’Meara won (majors) in our 40s, surely Tiger thinks he can do it to. I am sure it’s on his agenda,” the South African added as he prepares for this week’s Singapore Open.
“Mentally, he is as strong as anybody but he needs to find some momentum at his favorite events and if he gets that, he can start believing again. I would love to see him play like he did back in the 90s, but I am not sure that is going to happen.”
Els has a point, a point I’ve been trying to make all along. Tiger Woods has the talent to win again on the PGA Tour. He has the experience, and even though physically he isn’t what he used to be, if he plays smart and doesn’t try to out-drive the big boys with every swing, there is no reason to think that he is incapable of winning again.
Els forgot to mention that Henrik Stenson won a major last season at the age of 40, and that Phil Mickelson was right there with him at the age of 46. He also didn’t mention that Tom Watson almost won a major at the age of 59.
Els did commend Tiger for what he’s done for the game.
“It’s been 20 years since he won his first major at the Masters and it’s quite amazing what he has achieved,” Els added.
“He has won 14 majors in that span and he was injured for at least three or four of those seasons, so it’s really a major for every year he has been healthy as a professional. That’s incredible.
“We would not be playing for the money we play for if it wasn’t for Tiger, so we have to thank him for that, for what he has done for the game and it can only be good if he plays well.”
I know we’re all excited for Tiger’s return for one reason or another and I think we can all agree that golf is pretty interesting with him in the field, but we need to remember that he has only played in one competitive event since August of 2015. So when Tiger doesn’t make a cut, or stumbles during a round just remember that he’s been out of the game for a while.