Gullane - Tiger Woods is too old to ever regain the invincibility he once
enjoyed but everybody in golf should be grateful for the contribution the
14-times major champion has made to the game, highly-regarded coach Peter Cowen
Woods, who will be 40 in December, has been struggling for form heading into
next week's British Open at St Andrews, where he won the Claret Jug by eight
shots in 2000 and only a slightly less commanding five strokes in 2005.
Those days of dominance are now long gone, however, and Cowen, who has
tutored some of Europe's best golfers including Henrik Stenson and Lee
Westwood, thinks it is too late for the American to ever get them back.
"If there is one important thing that makes any sportsperson look
ordinary and that is age," Cowen told Reuters at the Scottish Open.
"You can't do anything about a person's age. That invincibility
diminishes with age and it has to. But then once you lose that invincibility
how do you get it back?
"In all my years of coaching, I have not seen one player get back that
Cowen said that the younger players no longer feared Woods and that the
generational shift in golf is taking place more quickly than it did when the
turnover at the top of the game happened every two decades or so.
The Rotherham-based Englishman said it should also not be underestimated how
much mental toll Woods's long period as the world's best player took on him.
"Everyone ages differently and I am not talking physically but
mentally," he added.
"People don't realise that you are in the mix in every single
tournament, and years back Tiger was in the mix in every tournament he contested,
that mentally is draining.
"I can see when Henrik is in the mix because at the end of the
tournament he is absolutely, totally mentally drained and exhausted, and he has
not won near as many tournaments as Tiger."
Woods shot his worst round as a professional last month, an 85 at the
Memorial tournament, and he also missed the cut at the US Open.
Cowen, however, believes the American has earned the right to a bit of
respect for his achievements and the golfing world should be grateful, not
"Don't have a go at Tiger! Do not question Tiger," he said.
"Admit he's been great for golf and say how good Tiger Woods played and
how great Tiger Woods performed in winning a particular event.
"We also should not be saying Tiger has made millions from the game but
instead everyone should be grateful they played in the Tiger Woods era.
"The great legacy Tiger has given golf is that he's brought more kids
into the game and golf, going forward, needs to recognise this and continue
introducing the game to younger people."