From the Rough

Golf without discretion

Tiger adds his name to the greatest major championship runner-up list of all-time

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When the 2009 season began way back in January on the lush fairways of the Hawaiian Islands, nobody, and I mean nobody, expected we’d have a list of major champions that didn’t include the name Tiger Woods.

The last time Tiger went major-less was way back in 2004, when Phil Mickelson won his first major championship at The Masters, and the golfing world for a split second believed Lefty had the game to overtake Woods in the World Golf Rankings.

Well that never happened. What did happen was Tiger reeled off at least one major championship over the next four years. So when the tour arrived at Augusta in April, it only seemed right to pick Tiger as the prohibitive favorite — even though he was just returning from knee surgery.

Fast forward past The Masters, the U.S. Open, a blustery British Open and the PGA Championship, and what do you have? A season without Tiger’s name on a single major championship trophy, and a group of major winners, only one of which is currently in the top 10 in the World Golf Rankings.

Stewart Cink (currently ranked 10th in the WGR) was the only “high profile” name to win a major championship this year; and I use that term “high profile” lightly. Yang, currently ranked 34th, Glover (15th), and Cabrera (28th) round out what I consider to be one of the weakest group of major championship winner in the history of golf.

None of the names on the list would be considered movers and shakers. But if you want a list of players with staying power, you might want to take a look at the runner-up list for the four major championship. The list includes the names Kenny Perry, Phil Mickelson, Tom Watson, and Tiger Woods. Three of the four names on that list are currently ranked in the top four in the world. Watson’s name and major championship pedigree alone make his world ranking irrelevant.

To put it plainly, this was the year of the have-nots. That’s not to say Yang, Cink or Glover will contend for a major again (Cabrera already has two). It’s just meant to convey the fact that the winners of the majors this year were beyond light. And when you’re in a tough economy, you really need to have your top gun’s on the winners’ podium.

Maybe they play the opposite game this year and send the four runners-up to the PGA Grand Slam of Golf event. I’d imagine Perry, Tiger, Mickelson and Watson would be a great ratings draw for prime time television.

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Written by Jonathan Wall

08/17/2009 at 3:57 pm

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