Brandel Chamblee has never been someone who’s hid what he’s actually thinking. If anything, Chamblee is someone who prefers to stir the pot and drum up some controversy (and then block people on Twitter). As a result, Chamblee was overdue to burn some bridges after he started to fall back into some peoples’ good graces after qualifying for the Senior Open Championship at the Old Course at St. Andrews.
While earlier statements have already demonstrated that Chamblee flip-flops more than the average politician, he recently drew a line in the sand when he stated, “I would argue [Tiger Woods] got the least out of his talent of any player, maybe in history.”
While Chamblee later conceded that Tiger might be the best to have ever played the game, it’s still very hard to accept (*tolerate*) Chamblee’s commentary. I mean, nobody plans on getting injured, and that shouldn’t be held against them, because if we’re going to start accepting that premise, then we might as well start accepting that Ken Griffey Jr. also got the least out of his talent.
And while baseball fans would probably burn you alive at the stake for even suggesting that, arguably, Tiger has had a significantly more successful as a professional athlete than Jr. (although I’d love to see how Tiger handles himself on a baseball field, because Jr’s swing looks almost as smooth with a driver as it did with a bat).
I mean, let’s just quickly recap what Tiger’s accomplished over the years:
- August 1996 — Tiger wins his third straight U.S. Amateur and turns professional the following week, and is the only player to do so
- October 1996 — Tiger wins the Las Vegas Invitational for his first PGA Tour victory in his fifth professional start
- April 1997 — Woods wins the Masters at age 21 with a record score (270) and a record margin of victory (12 shots) to become its youngest champion
- June 2000 — Woods wins the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach by 15 shots, the largest margin in major championship history
- April 2001 — Woods wins the Masters to become the only player to hold all four professional majors at the same time
- June 2008 — Woods wins the U.S. Open in a playoff at Torrey Pines for his 14th major, four short of the record held by Jack Nicklaus
And the accomplishments become even more impressive when you review some of his career stats to date:
- 79 official PGA Tour event wins, second only to Sam Snead (82)
- 14 majors, second behind Jack Nicklaus (18)
- Tiger’s 2000 scoring average is the lowest in PGA Tour history, both adjusted, 67.79, and unadjusted, 68.17. Unsurprisingly, Tiger also had the highest Green in Regulation percentage for a season (75.2%) that same year.
- Most weeks at No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings (683), which includes the longest streaks of 281 and 264 consecutive weeks. No. 2 is Greg Norman at 331 weeks.
- Most wins by a player in their 20s (46)
- Woods is one of five players (along with Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, and Jack Nicklaus) to have won the Career Grand Slam, and was the youngest to do so.
- From the 1999 PGA Championship through the 2002 U.S. Open, Woods won 7 of the 11 majors contested, and was a cumulative 94 under par in those tournaments (60 shots better than any other player)
- Tiger is the only player in PGA Tour history to win eight or more times on a single course. He has done it on three different courses
- Despite never playing a full season on the European Tear, Tiger has 40 career wins on the European Tour, which is the third-most all-time.
You’re probably starting to see the full picture, but only adding insult to injury is the fact that Tiger’s career isn’t over. In contrast, Tiger has demonstrated that, while he hasn’t secured a victory yet in 2018, he’s still got a lot left in the tank.
Yes, Tiger hasn’t (and probably won’t) reclaim his former dominance. But you shouldn’t hold that against him. He’s playing with a completely different breed of golfers from when he started a career which, ironically enough, he created. Guys like DJ, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, and Rory McIlroy are as powerful and dominant as they are because Tiger demonstrated that physical fitness is what separates the really good guy guys on the Tour from the elite.
Personally, I expect we’re going to see Tiger his Sunday red a lot more frequently and, hopefully very soon, a fist-pump when he seals a victory. And to say Tiger didn’t maximize his potential and got the least out of his talent effectively diminishes everything Tiger has achieved up to this point.
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