Tiger Woods was the most dominant player in golf for more than a decade, beginning in the late 1990s. When he claimed his first of three U.S. Open Championships, finishing 12-under par at Pebble Beach in 2000, he finished 15 strokes ahead of the nearest competitors (Ernie Els and Miguel Angel Jimenez). His 72-hole score of 272 tied the all-time U.S. Open record, he became the first player in history to finish a U.S. Open 10 or more strokes under par, and the 15 stroke margin remains the largest in the event's history.
His well-documented love-hate relationship with the fans has made Woods one of the most polarizing figures in PGA Tour history, but his abilities to excel in a difficult sport must be acknowledged and admired.
The following are the reasons why I want Tiger Woods to win the 2012 U.S. Open:
Getting Older: At age 36, Woods is at an age where most golfers find it difficult to win on the PGA Tour. However, he has won twice in the 2012 season and is showing he can still compete very well with the young professionals. As an older guy myself, I tend to root for the more experienced players.
The Current Best: Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy, and Lee Westwood have been jockeying with each other for the #1 world ranking. With his recent win at the Memorial Tournament, Tiger has moved into the #4 ranking, with a reminder that the "old guy" isn't done yet.
Fear The Tiger: Since Woods' last major victory, the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, there has not been anyone truly dominating the PGA Tour. Players today feel that if they just play well, they can win. During the years of his dominance, many players were resigned to playing for second whenever Tiger was in the field. A 2012 U.S. Open Championship for Tiger Woods may be good for the game, striking fear in the mere mortals, and inspiring someone among the young pretenders to step up and become a true contender.
Payoff: Watching Tiger Woods play during the 2012 season, it has become very clear that he has been working on his game, and working hard. He doesn't have the consistency he had as a younger man, and perhaps never will, but he HAS had near misses at Abu Dhabi and the Honda Classic, plus victories at the Palmer Invitational and Memorial Tournament (Arnold and Jack's events). Victory at The Olympic Club, on Sunday, June 17th, would be a just reward for the work he has put in.
The Greatest of All Time: Woods' victory at the Memorial was his 73rd PGA Tour win, tieing Nicklaus for #2 on the all-time list, behind only Sam Snead with 82. A U.S. Open victory would not only move Tiger ahead of Jack in total PGA Tour victories, but would also tie Jack's record of four U.S. Open victories. Furthermore, it would be Tiger Woods' 15th major championship, moving him closer to what has always been the record he most wants to break, Jack Nicklaus' total of 18.
Nobody Else: Records, especially those in sports, are made to be broken. Now 25 years since Jack Nicklaus' last major championship, it is time for someone to break his record of 18 wins. Tiger Woods has 14 at age 36. The next closest among active players is Phil Mickelson with four, followed by Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington and Vijay Singh with three each. Mickelson and Els are over 40 years of age, Harrington is 39, and Singh is less than a year from joining the 50-and-over club.
If Tiger Woods is not going to break Jack Nicklaus' record, then who is?
Harold Andrews has played golf (competitively and recreationally) for nearly 50 years. He considers Jack Nicklaus the greatest golfer of all time.Sources: pgatour.com
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- Tiger Woods
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- Ernie Els