Anyone following the weekend’s golfing action and the subsequent media coverage could be forgiven for thinking they had stepped into a time warp taking them back a few years.
The Buick Invitational in San Diego saw Tiger Woods continue to dominate the sport, leaving others trailing in his wake and scratching their heads trying to come up with a plan to at least keep pace with the one-man birdie-machine. Nothing new there then.
While over on the European Tour in the Qatar Masters we were tantalised once again that Adam Scott, a man with the undoubted ability to challenge Woods, might now be ready to make the move from precocious talent to genuine golfing greatness. His final round of 61 was nothing short of magical and rivals anything I can remember seeing Woods accomplish in a final round (third rounds not inlcuded!)
But we have been here before. Since Scott burst onto the scene by winning the Dunhill Championship in South Africa in 2001, people have been touting him as the natural successor – or at least challenger - to Woods’crown.
His promise has, however, failed to fully materialise as yet and he has shown what he is capable of only in fleeting glimpses. That talent has brought him 13 professional tour wins and a regular place in the world’s top 10. However, his best year in the ‘Majors’ came in 2006 when he finished third, eighth and 21st in the US Open, The Open and the USPGA respectively. That, for Woods, would constitute an extremely poor year.
Scott is not alone. Others have threatened to move out of golf’s second tier and drag themselves closer to Woods but it has always been a short-lived affair. Justin Rose and, perhaps ludicrously, Rory McIlroy are the latest to be touted as having the ability to challenge Woods and the former should be considered as one of the main contenders.
Certainly Scott and Rose are two of the ones you would look at with both ability and age on their side to look to close that gap but they now have to step up to the plate and fulfil that potential. Scott’s final round in Qatar shows what he can do, even under pressure while Rose’s performances last year indicates that he has the mental strength needed to continually perform at a high level.
Whether they can dominate consistently when Woods’ is not in the field and challenge him when he is remains to be seen.
As they say, form is temporary, class is permanent. Woods oozes class.