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Nick Faldo: The Tiger Woods era is over

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods did not make the cut at the PGA Championship at Valhalla this week yet he still was a popular topic of discussion Saturday.

CBS golf commentator Nick Faldo stated the obvious about Woods’ play of late and said Tiger’s era of dominance is over.

“Tiger may win again. And we would love to see him win again, wouldn’t we? But the period — the Tiger era — I have to say is over,” Faldo said early during CBS’ coverage Saturday.

If Tiger’s era of dominance is over, does that mean we’re in a new era — perhaps the Rory McIlroy era?

“We are in a new era now. Whether it becomes Rory McIlroy’s era, we don’t quite know yet. He’s sure making a damn good case for it. But there’s such great quality — the quality left and right of Tiger I think is amazing.

“The era of his dominance is over. We’re definitely on a new era now.”

Eldrick’s last major win came in 2008. He’s had 9 top-10 finishes in majors since then, but he’s also been cut three times including this weekend. Between injuries and simply not winning, it’s been obvious that Tiger is no longer the dominant golfer he was. At 25 and already with three majors, it looks like McIlroy is the new world leader.

Rory McIlroy fires back at Nick Faldo

rory-mcilroyGolf legend Nick Faldo was recently critical of Rory McIlroy, saying that he thinks the 24-year-old is spending too much time worrying about non-golf activities and not enough time on the course.

“You have a window of opportunity, that’s my only words of wisdom to Rory,” Faldo said on Monday. “You have say a 20-year window as an athlete — concentrate on golf, nothing else. Hopefully you have another 40 years to enjoy it so just concentrate on your golf.”

Faldo also said that golf is a full-time job and that McIlroy needs to focus on being on the course from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. like any other profession. On Wednesday, McIlroy fired back at Faldo.

“He said I should be at the course nine to five,” McIlroy said, via IBN Live. “I actually was on the range at 6.15 (yesterday) and got out of the gym at 6:15, a 12-hour day compared to his eight-hour day.

“Nick should know how hard this game is at times and he’s been in our position before. He should know how much work that we all put into it.”

McIlroy is struggling. There’s no question about that. He finished tied for 25th at the Masters in April, tied for 8th at The Players Championship in May and tied for 41st at the US Open last month. He has met with Nike multiple times to make adjustments to his equipment, and Faldo is not the first person to speculate that his personal life has negatively impacted his golf game.

[Related: Johnny Miller thinks Rory McIlroy is struggling because of his love life]

“I know how these things go, I know he wasn’t trying to get on my case at all,” McIlroy said of Faldo. “He was just offering words of advice in some way. (But) I think he has to remember how hard this game can be at times. I think the game’s like life, you’re going to go through highs and you’re going to go through lows. It’s just about trying to work your way out of the lows.”

Personally, I feel that the “blame Caroline Wozniacki” talk has gone way too far. The second a golfer starts struggling — especially one in his mid-20s — people want to point the finger at a lack of focus. McIlroy won three of the final six tournaments on the PGA Tour down the stretch next season. Let’s at least give him until the end of the season.

Nick Faldo: Rory McIlroy’s switch to Nike is dangerous

Nike has made Rory McIlroy an offer he can’t refuse, and the world’s No. 1 golfer is reportedly going to announce that he has accepted it in the coming weeks. In addition to guaranteeing him $250 million in the coming years, the endorsement deal will also make McIlroy the next Tiger Woods — the face of golf. But will it affect his play?

Nick Faldo is concerned that McIlroy is underestimating how big of a change it will be to go from Titleist to Nike clubs.

“The bottom line is he’s doing it for money,” Faldo said according to The Telegraph. “When he looks at a 20-year career it’s not necessary. If he carries on and wins more majors he’ll be worth hundreds of millions anyway. Sure this is a wonderful guarantee but Rory knows the biggest thing is winning golf tournaments. If he believes that’s still going to happen, fine. But if it holds him back for a split second in his mind then you will question it.

“As professional golfers we get a millisecond of feedback from impact. And if you get that lovely feedback and the ball goes where you want it, that’s a tick in the confidence box. But if you think ‘oh, that felt different’ and the ball doesn’t go where you want it to go, it starts to eat away at your confidence.”

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Nick Faldo: Sex scandal damaged Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods is still one of the better golfers in the world, but he hasn’t won a major since enduring his public sex scandal three years ago. Before his scandal and injuries, it looked like a lock that he would beat Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 career majors. Now it would be a stretch to say that Tiger, who has 14 career majors, will break the record.

Commentator Nick Faldo, who won six majors, doesn’t think Tiger will reach Nicklaus’ mark.

“I think it’s slim. I would lean towards no,” Faldo said when asked on BBC Radio Five Live’s Sportsweek. “It has been four years since he last won at the US Open.”

Faldo specifically mentioned the sex scandal and how he thinks it hurt Woods psychologically.

“(The revelations) have done more damage than people would give them credit for,” Faldo said.

“It’s wrecked that wonderful tranquility you get of going to a golf course, tipping out a bag of balls and hitting them from 9-5 and just thinking of golf.

“When you’re a golfer that is great. But now… He has shattered that peace. He won’t get that back. Once you lose that concentration and that ability to become completely engrossed in your golf… then slowly things have changed for him. His swing… physically, technically, mentally, karma… it’s a harder climb right now. Sure, he could come back and do things, but he won’t be dominant like he was.”

Woods has won three tournaments this year, and he finished third at the British Open. He’s nowhere near a lost cause, he’s just not what he was.

Faldo also believes that age has caught up with the 36-year-old.

“As you get older in this game, the little demons start to sit on your shoulders because you have seen one too many bad shots at the wrong time and it starts to eat away at you and I think he has a little bit of that going on.”

Nike likely saw the same thing, which is why they spent millions to bring Rory McIlroy aboard as their new central figure.

Here is everything you need to know about the Tiger Woods sex scandal in case you forgot about it.

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Nick Faldo Does Not Think Tiger Woods Can Catch Jack Nicklaus

On paper, Tiger Woods is within striking distance of Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major tournament victories. At age 35, Woods is young by golf standards. We have seen a number of golfers remain successful and contend for major championship titles well into their 50s. Considering Woods has already won 14 majors, it would stand to reason that he could easily capture five more over the next 15-plus years.

As we all know, there is much more to the equation with the highest-paid athlete in the world.  Tiger is no longer cold-blooded Tiger — the machine who was unfazed by cameras, tough questions, and pressure.  The new Tiger no longer intimidates opponents and is no longer a lock to qualify for his own tournament.  The major scandal we have all become so familiar with has thrown him out of rhythm, and Nick Faldo believes it will result in Woods never reaching 18 major victories.

“I do, personally,” Faldo told the Montreal Gazette when asked if he thought Woods’ window of opportunity had closed. “I was one of the few guys that said it right after this all happened and he was trying to get back to the Masters last year.

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