But at least one debate, per another one of the sport’s most-celebrated stars, is all but over.
On the debut episode of “Golf Live,” a 30-minute show that will stream live weekly on Golf.com, Phil Mickelson said he doesn’t think anyone currently playing the game — not 22-year old World No. 1 Jordan Spieth, four-time major winner Rory McIlory, Australian sensation Jason Day or anyone other of the game’s top young stars — is even close to how good Woods was during his prime, though he does seem to acknowledge that Woods’s prime is clearly in the rear-view.
“There is nobody in the game that I have seen that is remotely close to the level of performance Tiger was in his prime,” Mickelson said in the interview. “Mentally, short game, or ball striking, I don’t think anybody matches him in any of those areas. And Tiger put them all together in one to create a career that is mind-boggling in the game of golf.”
Mickelson is probably right. Though many of the game’s current stars have facets of the game that could come close to Tiger’s best, none have the complete package and the ability to put it on display week in and week out. Between 2000 and 2008, Woods, who didn’t necessarily compete against fields so full of world-class talents like the current crop of elite golfers, managed consecutive winning streaks of five, six and seven events in separate years.
And Michael Shamburger of the Big League agrees with Mickelson’s assessment that none of today’s golfers are as complete as package as Woods once was. But he goes on to say it’s not time to give up hope on finding the next Tiger.
“I believe it’s only a matter of time before one of them, or someone new, has a long, successful run” Shamburger writes. “Will they ever reach Tiger’s level? Probably not, but we don’t have to watch and think ‘how would these guys do against Tiger in his prime,’ when we can just watch and enjoy this group of talented young golfers battling it out every week.”
A full transcript of the Golf.com interview and video clips can be found here.