Another major season has passed, and for the third successive year Tiger Woods failed to add to his collection of majors.
What once was commonplace is no longer and six-time major champion Nick Faldo, now a CBS Sports golf analyst, believes the days of Woods winning majors in bulk have passed.
In a recent interview with the Montreal Gazette, Faldo said Woods’ window of opportunity to break Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 professional majors has closed.
Faldo believes Woods’ ability to focus has been broken as a result of his salacious dalliances becoming public in November 2009.
Faldo can empathize with Woods, as he went through his own sordid off-the-course odyssey during the tail end of his career.
“I know what it’s like,” Faldo said. “The phone is always going; people are texting, emailing. I can’t concentrate like that.” The first thing I thought: “his concentration will be shattered.” He had this amazing ability to go away from a tournament and then go on to practice as close to tournament-mode as anybody could do.
A lack of concentration is “one of the simplest things that can affect you, whether it happens for business reasons or personal reasons. Once you break that concentration, it really does affect you.”
Woods, who has won 14 majors in his career, was sidelined most of the 2011 season due to his left knee injury, has not won a major since the U.S. Open in 2008.
Woods would likely disagree with Faldo’s assessment. Woods is only 35 and needs five more majors to eclipse the Golden Bear. But this marked the third straight season in which he did not win a major, and Nicklaus won only one more major after a drought as long as Woods’ – his memorable Masters win in 1986.
Walter Hagen, who has won the third most majors with 11, won the U.S. Open in 1914 and went winless until 1919. Hagen, though, had a reasonable excuse as the Masters had not been founded and both the U.S. Open and British Open took hiatuses due to World War I.
Faldo won five majors in a six-year window, then went three years without a major until he won his final major at the 1996 Masters, the year before Woods’ first.
In the end Faldo does not see Woods returning to his old form — physically or mentally.
“The stress injuries to your body are also related to that,” When you’re under stress, physically you will break down somewhere, whether it’s a physical thing or emotional thing. All of this (is) linked.”
And it’s doubtful that Woods will be linked with Nicklaus in terms of majors won.
Stuart Hall is editor of the Golf Press Association.