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Olympic slot aside, Tiger Woods has more to win

Tiger Woods
Mr Tiger Woods. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Many golfers today may not have heard of the legendary American golfer Sam Snead but many pundits in the game widely regard him as the greatest player of all time. Snead joined the paid ranks in 1934 and retired in 1987 having won 82 PGA Tour events including seven Majors.

His records include - only player to win an event over five different decades, first player to win an event eight times (Greater Greensboro Open) and oldest player to win a PGA Tour event at the age of 52 and 10 months. In total, Snead bagged 141 professional wins and it was thought of as highly unlikely for anyone to get to his record 82 PGA Tour victories.

Woods met Snead as a six-year old in 1982, they played two holes of golf together, but that was a long time ago. Snead won his 82nd PGA Tour event at the age of 52, Woods achieved the same number this past week at the age of 43 proving that “No Human is Limited”.

Throughout his golf career, Woods has continued to rewrite the history books; he won three US Amateur golf titles in a row, he was the youngest winner of the US Masters, he has the most victories in a single PGA Tour event - eight wins each at the Arnold Palmer Invitation and WGC-Bridgestone Invitations, seven victories each at the WGC-Cadillac Championship and Farmers Insurance Open and five wins each at the BMW Championship and Memorial Championship. (www.tigerwoods.com).

From 1998 to 2005 Woods made the cut in 142 consecutive events and was the top ranked golfer for a total of 683 weeks. Woods won the 2000 US Open with a record 15-strokes, the 1997 Masters with 12 strokes and the 2003 Arnold Palmer Invitational and 2000 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will 11-strokes each. (www.pgatrou.com/statsreport/).

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If Woods, currently ranked 6th on the Official World Golf Ranking, climbs to the top of the world rankings, he will become the oldest player to hold that top spot. Greg Norman was world number one for 331 weeks and was the oldest number one at the age of 42.

Victory by Woods at the Zozo Championship in Japan this past week, the first time that a PGA Tour event was being staged there, has given hope to the golfing world that Woods is not done yet. Woods has won 22.8 percent of his PGA Tour starts, finishing in the top-10 in more than 50 percent of the starts.

Analysts of the golf ranking system estimate that Woods will make it to the top sooner rather than later and we can be certain that organisers of Tokyo 2020 are praying that Woods makes Team USA to the Olympics.

Speaking after his victory at the Zozo Championship, Woods said he was hoping to play in Tokyo. "I hope to qualify for the team and represent my country," he said. "I know some of my friends have made Olympic teams before in the past, and they said it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I have never played for a gold medal before and certainly it would be an honour to do it. And especially at the age I'll be, I'll be 44, and I don't know if I have many more chances after that.” (www.golfchannel.com).

The golfing and Olympic world will be rooting for Woods to qualify for Tokyo 2020 where he will hopefully meet marathoner Eliud Kipchoge and discuss which “limits” to conquer next. That Woods will get to number 83 is a matter of “when” not “if”, what remains in question is the 18 major victories record currently held by Jack Nicklaus.

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