ORLANDO, FL (January 12, 2018)
hich major championship will suit Tiger Woods best now that the 14-time major champion is on the comeback trail at age 42?
Nick Faldo, winner of six majors himself, has an educated opinion. And it’s not the Masters, the next major up and one Woods has won four times.
Rather, Faldo said Woods’ best chances over the next years figure to come on the links courses of the Open Championship. And history supports his assertion. The Open is a tournament where men in their 40s and 50s have excelled in recent years. Five of the last seven Open winners have been older than 39, and late last decade Tom Watson and Greg Norman contended into their 50s.
“Augusta is the most nerve racking golf course we play because you stand up at the hill and you’re aimed at a three-yard circle to land the darn thing to then position it, and if you miss the green, you’re chipping into a one yard circle and feed it down,” Faldo said Thursday on the eve of the 54-hole Diamond Resorts Invitational at Tranquilo Golf Club. “If you’ve got the touch, you can do it. If you haven’t, then it’s brutal. So the links course is much easier in that sense, way more options than bumbling along the ground or what have you.”
The Masters, on the other hand, generally hasn’t been kind to men beyond their thirties. No player over 40 has won at Augusta since Mark O’Meara did so at 41 in 1998 – or since Augusta National was lengthened and toughed. The only others to win there over 40 were Ben Hogan (40) in 1953, Gary Player (42) in ’78, Ben Crenshaw at 43 in ’95 and, of course, Jack Nicklaus (46) in ’86.
“I would think Augusta would be a really tough one for anybody getting older, let alone have you got the nerve to keep chipping it, keep putting it, what have you, and facing the shots, hit them in the right place,” Faldo said.
Woods has won three Open Championships. This year’s Open is at Carnoustie, where longtime touring pro turned broadcaster John Cook said he fancies Woods’ chances.
Count Faldo among those impressed by Woods’ performance in December at the World Hero Challenge, Woods’ first competition in 10 months. Faldo praised Woods’ fitness, swing, clubhead speed and overall progress. So he’s eager to see how the golfer fares in his next start at the Jan. 25-28 Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, where he has won eight PGA Tour titles.
“We’ll find out, which is great, at San Diego,” said Faldo, lead golf analyst for CBS Sports and the Golf Channel. “Sure, that was Bahamas on the links on a resorty course, 85 degrees. When he gets a 7:07 tee time at Torrey Pines at 51 degrees and the grass is damp, we’ll find out. I hope his back is strong enough.”
Faldo tees off the first round Friday at 11:46 a.m. in the final group off 1 tee with Marcus Allen and John Smoltz.
PRESS RELEASE SOURCE: Diamond Resorts International