Age another obstacle for Woods in pursuit of majors record

Fri Apr 3, 2015 4:37pm EDT
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By Andrew Both

(Reuters) - Tiger Woods resumes his quest to catch Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 major titles with his announcement on Friday that he will play in next week's Masters.

The 39-year-old Woods has won 14 majors with his last coming at the 2008 U.S. Open, and his struggles to regain top form led him to take time off the tour to hone his game.

But the former world number one is not only battling injuries and another swing change as he strives to return to the majors' winner circle, but also the clock.

Even if Woods was still at the top of his game, his chances of winning five more majors and overtaking Nicklaus are waning by the year and may already be gone.

That is the verdict emerging from an analysis of the age of major champions. As the saying goes, Father Time is undefeated.

Factor in the apparent loss of confidence and long list of surgeries that Woods has had, and it seems the time has come to acknowledge that Nicklaus’s record total is probably safe for at least another decade, if not forever.

An analysis of winners of all 200 majors played over the past 50 years reveals a bell curve with a vast majority won by players aged between 25 and 39, with a handful of outliers younger and older.


Jan 27, 2015; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Tiger Woods on the driving range prior to a practice round at TPC Scottsdale. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports