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Rub of the Green

May 31, 2008

Don’t hold your breath on player challenging Woods’ dominance



A bear Nicklaus was, during his prime. Not to say there weren’t outstanding players around during Jack’s days as the game’ s most dominant, but his burning tee shots and his deadly putting usually kept him well in front of the pack. If there was a player on the PGA Tour who showed enough moxie to deprive Nicklaus of additional wins, it was Lee Trevino. The Merry Mex, himself, was an outstanding competitor.

Later, with center stage open, it didn’t take Tiger Woods long to fist pump his way to the world’s No. 1 ranking. Those who felt that Nicklaus had been the best putter ever to roll the little white ball so consistently into the cup have had to rethink their contentions. It is obvious that Tiger has had no peers since he has taken over the world’ s No. 1 ranking, and it seems that no one ever putted better than Eldrick Woods.

There have been pretenders to his throne of course. The media thought perhaps Sergio Garcia could be a challenger, but he, as well as others such as David Duval, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Retief Goosen have all fallen by the wayside as Tiger continues to “rule the roost.”

Looking into my admittedly, foggy, crystal ball, there may be one player with the physical and mental tools to unseat Tiger. He’s 22-year-old Anthony Kim who recently ran away with the Wachovia Championship. His five-shot win over Ben Curtis was punctuated with a 16-under-par total that was three shots better than Tiger’s winning total in the same tourney in 2007. Kim definitely has all the tools, but he may require a little more seasoning before he “breaks out.”

In the meantime, I won’t be putting much money on players who will be challenging Woods. I have a sneaking suspicion his winning days are far from over, that is, of course, if he stays healthy.

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