You do not need to be a world class litigator to generate a convincing case that Tiger Woods is already the best player of all time.
The man is golf’s version of Keanu Reeves blowing beyond a onslaught of enforcers from the John Wick films. He will have Snead supporting him along with his next title, which doesn’t seem such a daunting task using the form Woods showed tying Snead’s success mark in Japan.
All those titles Woods bettered do not include the most fearsome foes he faced along the way.
“Shame” and”Guilt” might top the list of these vanquished in the wake of his very public sex scandal. Nobody ever overcame greater challenges than people on a public stage.
“Embarrassmentin golf, is emotional cancer,” sports psychologist Gio Valiante said. “It’s like a throw button in the brain. Anytime someone is humiliated at a public discussion, the game becomes so much harder. For him to come back from the humiliation he suffered, it’s really inexplicable.”
Yes, Woods did not get hit by a bus such as Hogan failed, but there were actual physical harms to conquer, also, all those knee and back surgeries that might have put Woods down for good.
And then there were the challenges pain medications presented. We may never know the character of that challenge and the effort required to overcome it.
We might never know what reserves Woods mined to take care of the cumulative weight of one possibly career-ending hazard after another.
“A single, minor injury can derail an expert’s career,” Valiante said. Or problems with a new house construction. It is a pretty low bar for getting into players’ heads.
“Small things can affect players at the maximum level, things that they can not absorb. Tiger consumed multiple physical injuries, psychological trauma, solitude, pills, drinking and shame.”
Apart from the essence of this foes Woods whipped, there is the unprecedented domination in his prime. There is the unheard of separation in his triumphs.
There are the four big championship victories in a row across the 2000 and ’01 seasons, his 12-shot victory at the Masters in 1997, his 15-shot victory at the U.S. Open in 2000 along with his eight-shot victory at The Open Championship in 2000. He didn’t simply show how much better he was than anyone in his own creation, but how much more dominant he was anyone ever.
It is no stretch declaring Woods is already the toughest, most resilient and many glorious player who ever lived, but…
Does that make him the greatest player of all time?
Naturally, you knew where this was going… To Jack along with his 18 big championship titles.
Surewe could channel the spirits of all-time fantastic litigators Joe Jamail, Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Darrow in presenting a strong case that Tiger is already the greatest player ever, but he can’t definitively be anointed as such until he has won three majors to at least equal Jack’s complete. No matter how convincing your argument is now, there’ll always be Nicklaus.
However…
That’s our good luck, the miracle of this time we are blessed to be following the match. It looks like we are seeing Woods restart his quest in earnest with his intensity and match returning again. It looks like we are seeing a golf Hercules back to handle his 18″Labors” in what could have read like mythology before we watched it with our own eyes.
Whether Woods liberally reaches the peak or not, we could definitively say we’re watching the best pursuit that the game has ever seen.
We can enjoy the thrill of this.