Tour Pro Says Tiger Woods Would Have Won '20 Majors+' Without Injuries
Tiger Woods has had one of the most glittering careers of any golfer, with only Jack Nicklaus surpassing him for Major wins.
Woods achieved 15 victories in the showpiece tournaments between 1997 and 2019, leaving him three short of Nicklaus’ all-time record. However, DP World Tour pro Eddie Pepperell is convinced he would have comfortably overtaken the 18 Nicklaus won if only he had enjoyed a career free of injuries.
A question was posed on Twitter asking: "You can choose one player to have an injury free career. Who is it?" PGA Tour pro Hunter Mahan replied: "Tiger Woods," which drew a response from the DP World Tour player, who wrote: "Imagine! 20 Majors+."
Imagine! 20 majors +May 15, 2023
Considering the substantial list of injury setbacks Woods has faced, it is hard to disagree that he has a point. Even before Woods claimed that first Major victory in the 1997 Masters, he had received an early warning on what was to come after having a benign tumour removed from his left knee three years earlier.
While he then enjoyed a long spell without significant setbacks, another issue with his left knee and ligaments briefly slowed his dominance by December 2002. By that time, though, Woods had racked up an astonishing eight Major titles in a little over five years, including his unique Tiger Slam.
Majors nine through 12 came in 2005 and 2006, before Woods injured a muscle in his left shoulder blade in September, and he’s barely had an injury free year since.
Considering that when Woods added the last of those 2006 Majors, the PGA Championship title, to his collection, he was still just 31, it shows how much the subsequent injuries have hampered his career, with a comparatively few three more Major titles in the 17 years that have followed.
Astonishingly, he even won one of those, the 2007 PGA Championship, despite having put off surgery for a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Then, the following June, he again battled injury to win the US Open. Woods was clearly in pain at times thanks to a double stress fracture in his left tibia sustained in preparation for the event.
Even with Woods’ increasing injury problems, few would have imagined it would be almost 11 years until his next Major win. However, when you consider that in that time he suffered injuries including persistent achilles problems and back issues requiring multiple surgeries, which at one point kept him out for 16 months, it doesn’t seem so surprising.
Woods is currently recovering from yet more surgery, this time on his ankle, after he withdrew from the Masters at Augusta National during the third round. However, he has consistently stated in recent months that he is largely targeting Majors for future appearances.
At this stage of his career, it is probably a long shot that the 47-year-old will ever reach more than 20 Major wins Pepperell says he would have achieved without his injuries. However, considering how numerous those setbacks have been, few would disagree he had the potential to achieve it.