Six big Masters talking points – part four: Can Tiger set a new record?

Mark McGowan

Tiger Woods waves to the crowd on the 18th green (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Mark McGowan

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Before the PGA Championship moved to May, the wait between ‘Glory’s Last Shot’ and the ‘Tradition unlike any other’ seemed protracted, but with the additional month between the Open Championship and the Masters, it now seems interminable.

If a week is a long time in politics, nine months is a lifetime in golf, but after the sport has been in the limelight for all the wrong reasons, it’s time to focus on what really matters. That golfing temple in Augusta, Georgia, the history, the drama, the best players in the world coming together and locking horns in the quest for that iconic green jacket, and with it, sporting immortality. As the week-to-week offerings of professional golf continue to underwhelm, certain events transcend to whole new levels. This is it. This is sport. This is the hallowed turf. This is what we’ve all been waiting for. This is the Masters. Amen to that!

Six big Masters talking points

Every year, the Masters throws up more talking points than we’ve pages in this issue to cover. But we’ve narrowed it down to the six biggest as the storied Georgian venue will once again be the green battleground on which dreams are made, on which heroes are crowned, and on which hearts are broken.

Q4. Can Tiger set a new record?

Jack Nicklaus’ six Masters wins is a record unlikely to ever be troubled even though Tiger Woods sits on five and has done so since 2019.

At 48 were Woods to do the unthinkable and somehow win his sixth Green Jacket this year, not only would he tie Nicklaus at the top of the roll of honour, but he would also eclipse the Golden Bear as the tournament’s oldest ever champion.

But Woods has played 25 competitive holes in 2024, and you can get odds of around 200/1 on him joining Jon Rahm and Jim Nantz for the traditional green jacket ceremony in the Butler Cabin. And it’s reputation alone that even has him priced that short.

But there is an additional record that Woods can set this year. Should he be around for the weekend, it will be his 24th Masters start in a row without missing the cut, beating the ‘23’ mark set by Gary Player in 1982 and matched by Fred Couples in 2007.

In a career as decorated as Woods’, this would typically barely register a footnote, but given that he’d returned from a four-month layoff and under intense public scrutiny to make the cut in 2010, made his first tournament start in 18 months after almost losing his life and limbs in a car accident to somehow make the cut in 2022, and then battled through 36 holes of torture and horrific weather with plantar fasciitis to make the cut in 2023, to have kept the streak alive is astonishing.

Woods will forever be a piece of Masters lore, and like Nicklaus’ six wins, his 12-shot winning margin in 1997 will likely never be equalled, but as the curtain slowly draws on one of the most incredible careers in sporting history, this could be the last great achievement.

The above feature appeared in the 2024-3 edition or Irish Golfer. To view the full edition click below

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