Tiger Woods has no chance to win 19 major titles and surpass Jack Nicklaus’ long-standing mark of 18, according to a certain Scottish seer who promised the golf world would see Eldrick shrug into his fifth green jacket last year.
"Five more, with the standard right now, and the competition right now?" Monty asked himself during Golf Channel’s post-PGA requiem of another winless weekend at the majors for Woods, according to The National’s Steve Elling.
Picking Woods to overtake Nicklaus, with titles to spare, used to be a no-brainer in the days when Tiger was stacking up blazers, Claret Jugs, Wanamaker Cups and U.S. Open hardware like cords of wood. Now, with Tiger heading to next April’s Masters nearly six years removed from winning his 14th and most recent grand-slam event, the 2008 U.S. Open, all bets are off.
The opinionated winner of 31 European Tour contests was expressing a sentiment gaining currency with each major crown that does not end up in Tiger Woods’ trophy room. Of course, the pontificator, who spends much of his time as a Sky Sports/Golf Channel color commentator, is the same guy who, upon witnessing Woods’ final-round 62 at the 2012 Honda Classic, pronounced the Masters a done deal, and also liked Rory McIlroy to retain his top-ranked status for a good long time.
"Does yesterday suggest anything else?" asked Montgomerie, who foresaw an Augusta victory for Woods in 2012 after Tiger won the unofficial Chevron World Challenge the previous December, to PGA.com after McIlroy held Woods off at the Honda. "On a course that he loves, I haven't changed my mind."
Woods, who entered Masters week on a roll after cruising to his first official Tour win in more than two years two weeks earlier at the 2012 Arnold Palmer Invitational, finished in a tie for 40th.
Tiger similarly squandered any momentum he may have gained from his seven-shot win at Firestone when, a week later, he finished tied for 40th again -- 14 strokes off Dufner's PGA Championship-winning pace -- a result that, no doubt, factored into Montgomerie's bold prognostication.