Tiger Woods – 14 is great, only 19 is greatest

Tiger Woods’ outstanding and remarkable hobble around Torrey Pines has raised the debate once again about his status relative to 18 major winner Jack Nicklaus.

The debate will be settled when he hits 19 and not before.

The delay in the coronation is necessary as we think back on who Nicklaus competed with in his pomp. In roughly chronological order we can count Palmer, Player, Trevino, Miller, Irwin,Watson and a few others who (no offence) shine brighter than Woods’ regular vapor trail.

Singh, Mickelson, Garcia and Furyk don’t have the same lustre as their forebears and perhaps only Ernie Els would have had the game and the brain to have dominated had Tiger had decided to play tennis.

It’s interesting to cross sports and place Tiger as Borg, Els as Ivan Lendl and Mickelson as Mcenroe. The first two feel like a perfect fit but golf’s lefty just can’t convert talent to trophies like Supermac did. This year’s Open felt rather like Borg vs. Tanner at Wimbledon in 1979.

All said and done we are probably watching the sportsman of the century in the making and the legend is of significant value in a sports world most often characterized by the unsavoury. The legend is complete at 19.

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