Leathersich: I absolutely consider this year a success for Tiger [Woods]. He has five wins on the Tour, and he is the money leader at $8.5 million. He finished top 10 in two of the four majors. It is not the “old Tiger” everyone wants, but that guy is gone. This is the new Tiger and he is still head and shoulders above the rest of the field. Frank: I agree it would be a success for anyone else, but this is arguably the greatest golfer to ever play the game. He didn’t perform well by any means at the PGA or The Open, and he severely underperformed in the playoffs. For him, that is a failure, no matter what he says about it.
Preller: He hasn’t won a major in five years, so until he wins another one, there will always be people doubting his ability to perform in big situations like he once did.
Rhodes: For me it is more about his upward trending than tournament wins. He has returned to a form where he is in the hunt in almost every tournament he participates in. The last few years have been a downward slope, and I finally think that he has changed his trajectory.
Eisinger: With the sheer amount of stress that Tiger’s been through, even if he did bring it on himself, the fact that he has been able to put most of it behind him and play well at all is pretty remarkable.
Frank: But now that it is behind him, he should be able to win at least one major. He is currently with Lindsey Vonn; he should be currently winning majors.
Preller: He was just awarded the Vardon Trophy, which goes to the player with the lowest stroke average on the Tour. So clearly his game is still there, and his ability to play well hasn’t gone away. That said, he looked very tired at the end of the Tour and really struggled late in rounds.
Leathersich: The whole scandal took a lot out of him, needless to say. The fact that he is back in the hunt is remarkable, as [Eisinger] said. Only the greatest in the world could do that. Another point, too, is that since he came on Tour and set the standard, the field has significantly improved, which is another reason why I don’t think we will ever see him blowing away the competition.
Eisinger: I completely agree. While perhaps the younger players aren’t quite as good yet as Phil Mickelson was, there are a lot more people who are able to challenge Tiger on any weekend.
Rhodes: Is it possible that Tiger’s career is simply winding down? His first money title came 16 years ago. That is a long time to maintain his status as the world’s best golfer.
Frank: Regardless, it is still not a success for him. Just because he’s getting older and the competition is getting better doesn’t mean that he has an excuse to not outperform himself. When you’re the best at something, you need to beat yourself to achieve success. I do agree that he may be in the twilight of his career though.
Preller: I think Tiger is in a very comfortable place right now. While there is some great young competition, there seems to be a lack of a single star emerging. Everyone thought Rory [Mcllroy] would be one a couple of years ago, but he has struggled since. Right now Tiger is still the king of golf and should be for at least a few more years.
Eisinger: And let’s not forget, arguably the greatest golfer of all time, Jack Nicklaus, won his last major title at age 46. If he can do it, Tiger definitely can.
Leathersich: He absolutely is the best of all time. I can comfortably say that I would not be into golf if it were not for Tiger. His time on Tour is deemed the “Tiger era” for what he did to the game.
Preller: General consensus seems to be that he had a great year, and we know he can do even better.
Rhodes: I would agree that after the past few Tour seasons, one can deem this a “good” year. But for a golfer of Tiger’s caliber, there will always be questions surrounding his status unless he wins another major.
Frank: I agree that Tiger had a “good” year, but I don’t think “good” is successful for Tiger. I don’t think he will be happy until he has another major win.
Eisinger: This year was a definite improvement over the past few, so I would say that it is a success. However, if the same thing happens next year, it will not be.
Leathersich: I think this year was a success for him relative to the field, his success in recent seasons among other things. I agree that he needs to build off of this year and come out to take a major next year. If he does that, I think it goes without saying that [this] year could be considered a success.