One record that will never be broken
By JIM O'SHEA
College Contributor Network
With Peyton Manning breaking Brett Favre's record for most career passing touchdowns last week, it brought to mind another record being chased by another one of sports greats. Jack Nicklaus has held the title for most career majors since 1973, when he won his 12th and overtook Walter Hagen before going on to finish his career with a total of 18.
It has lasted more than 40 years now and Tiger Woods was seen as a likely challenger with 14 of his own. Yet, the 38-year-old has not won one in over six years now. Woods was 32 at the time of his last one in 2008 and still in his prime dominating the sport. Now, he is an aging veteran who has dealt with more off-the-course issues and nagging injuries than victories over the past few years.
A new potential challenger is Rory McIlroy. The 25-year-old Northern Irishman has become what some people have called the "new face" of golf and he captured the final two majors in 2014 to bring his career total to four.
But one thing that Nicklaus and Woods had that McIlroy still needs to show is consistency. McIlroy went almost two years without a single win on the PGA Tour before his Open Championship victory in July. Woods won at least one tournament for 14 straight years between 1996-2009 and in all but two of those seasons he won multiple events. Nicklaus went on an even better stretch, as the Golden Bear won on Tour in 17 straight seasons from 1962-1978.
Further, the stats back up that Nicklaus can feel safe with his title of "career majors holder."
The time when players win majors is centered between ages 23-40, with nine or more majors all-time won at each of those ages. That would mean that a player would have to win one major every year in that span. Since Nicklaus won one in four straight years from '70-73, only two have been able to do the same -- Tom Watson and Tiger Woods -- and no other golfer has even done it in more than two consecutive years.
Also, since there are only four of them every year, and beating 89 to 155 other professionals is not exactly the easiest thing to do, if someone wants to become the greatest champion in golf, he will most likely have to win multiple tournaments in a single year, and do it multiple times. Nicklaus did it an outstanding five times in his career. Since he last pulled it off in 1980, only one other has done it in just multiple seasons and his name is Tiger Woods.
The sport has also become so much more competitive, with more parity than ever before. There was a span of 17 straight majors between 2008-12 with 17 different winners.
Also, since Woods last won the PGA and PGA Tour Players of the Year in consecutive years from '05-07, no one has been able to accomplish the feat. There just seems to be a new player that takes the sport by storm each season. From Harrington's two majors in 2008 to McIlroy's dominant end of the year in 2012, the days of a one-man show may be gone.
Nicklaus has said in the past that he believes Woods will eclipse his record. Well, he is wrong and not just about Woods -- he'd be wrong to say it about anyone. The Golden Bear should be called The Golden Record-holder because just as gold is not easy to break, neither is Nicklaus' record.
Jim O'Shea is a junior at Syracuse University studying Broadcast and Digital Journalism. Born and raised in Houston, TX. He's an avid Texans and Texas Rangers fan. Also golf is his favorite sport. Follow him on Twitter: @JimOShea4