When Tiger Woods won last year’s PGA Championship, he tied Bobby Jones for second among all-time major winners, with 13. Now Woods finally has Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors in his sights. Based on the state of Tiger’s game and on the upcoming major venues, here’s how our stats man Sal Johnson sees Tiger’s historic march playing out.
MAJOR 14 2008 U.S. OPEN
They may as well carve Woods’ name on the trophy now. Four of the five Buick Invitational titles he’s won at Torrey Pines came after the South course was redesigned for this year’s Open.
MAJOR 15 2008 BRITISH OPEN
Royal Birkdale, where Woods finished third in 1998, will set up much like Hoylake did in 2006, when he hit driver only once. Using long irons off the tee, Tiger the master tactician will etch his name on the Claret Jug for a fourth time.
MAJOR 16 2009 MASTERS
Tiger won four of his first nine Masters as a pro (1997-2005). This mini-drought (’06-’08) ends in 2009, giving Woods his fifth green jacket at age 34 (Nicklaus was 35 when he claimed his fifth.) One year later…
MAJOR 17 2010 MASTERS
Woods wins his sixth green jacket, to equal Nicklaus’ Masters mark — and this is just the opening salvo in what will be Tiger’s most storied year yet.
MAJOR 18 2010 U.S. OPEN
Even when he was winning the 2000 Open by 15 strokes, Tiger never liked Pebble Beach’s bumpy poa-annua greens. But he has won twice at Pebble, and the stage appeals to his love of the historic. (The Bear won the 1972 U.S. Open at Pebble.)
MAJOR 19 2010 BRITISH OPEN
Virtually unbeatable at the Old Course (he’s two-for-two, in ’00 and ’05, for a combined 33-under par), Woods will eclipse Nicklaus’ majors mark, at the Home of Golf, at the tender age of 35. Talk about a major statement.