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Point/Counterpoint: Will Tiger Woods return to dominance?

BY DI SPORTS STAFF | JULY 21, 2009 7:15 AM

YES

Let the Tiger out of the cage. Tiger Woods has a knack for trying to prove people wrong, and he loves to show he is capable of doing things that haven’t been done.

So why are we to believe that any of this will stop now? The hunger is still there.

We have to remember that this is golf, and he’s still very young. Yes, a torn ACL hurts a golfer’s swing a bit, but in golf, you’re not in your prime until you dictate so.

Golfers have won majors almost as old as 50, such as Julius Boros at age 48, or Tom Watson’s near win this past weekend. Woods is only 33, and Jack Nicklaus was 46 when he claimed his 18th and final major. That gives Woods at least 13 more years to win four more major championships in the time it took “The Golden Bear.” Woods has been averaging at least one major tournament victory per year. I think it’s a safe bet to say that he will pass him.

His showing at the British Open is not a tell of things to come, as I think he may be rushing his comeback a little, but that’s just a testament to the type of competitor Woods is. Don’t forget, he also has won three events already this year. After Woods’ surgery, the doctors told him that it would be at least two years until he is 100 percent again. It hasn’t been much more than a year. Tiger hurt his knee running near his home in 2007. He then went on to win four events in 2008, including the all-time classic win against Rocco Mediate in the U.S. Open. I think he can handle an injury pretty well, as he holds himself to an extreme standard.

Woods might not be use to playing on his knee yet, but he has said recently he is stronger in his legs than ever before. If you’ve watched Woods over the past few years, you’d notice that his game has been maturing, and that he’s constantly getting better with each tournament.

Watching the type of person and competitor he is, I think it’s safe to say Woods will be the same dominant golfer again.

— by Patrick Rafferty

NO

Tiger Woods was unable to make the cut in the British Open, only the second time in his career that he missed the cut at a major championship.

Is Woods finished? Of course not. But is he the same dominant golfer who once won the Masters by a record 12 strokes? No.

Woods played with a torn ligament in his knee for 10 months last year, caused a double stress fracture in his leg while rehabbing said injury, and then underwent reconstructive ACL surgery. It would be hard for any athlete to return to form following that, but especially a golfer.

In golf, one small flaw in your swing can send you tumbling down the leaderboard. Woods was out of the game for more than eight months, and plenty of things can go wrong with your swing when you aren’t able to practice every day.

Not only have the injuries affected his play, but Woods’ window of opportunity is closing quickly. His winning span (time between first major championship win to most recent) right now is at 12 years. The man he is chasing, Jack Nicklaus, had a window of 25 years, the only golfer in the top 10 in all-time major wins to span more than two decades. If you take out Nicklaus’ last win, however, at the 1986 Masters, his winning span shrinks six years.

The great Arnold Palmer only had a window of seven years. Tom Watson, the man who almost won the British Open that Woods failed to make the cut at, has a winning span of only nine years.

Woods’ injuries have taken a toll on his body, making it feel older than it really is.

He will win more championships, that is certain. But natural age and injuries have taken away the invincibility he once possessed.

— by J.T. Bugos


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