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Any Given Sunday

Tiger Woods is in a slump. He’s starting to fade. He’s past his prime.

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That’s what a lot of commentators are chirping after a heartbreaking loss at last week’s Barclays Golf Tournament. In a crowded and talented field, Woods tied for second place. That’s good enough for a silver medal in the Olympics, but in the world of golf, it’s strangely forgettable.

But before we dismiss the world’s Number 1 player as washed up, let’s take a look at the stats.

Although Tiger finished with zero major titles this year (for the first time since 2004) he still managed to win five tournaments, one less than Sergio Garcia has won in his entire career. Let’s also not forget that Tiger just came off season-ending knee surgery last summer.

Also, Woods has a firm lead on the FedEx Cup (golf’s version of the playoffs) and if he wins that, he takes home $10 million, If you add that to all the money he’s won from tournaments this year, it would be his most profitable year ever.

Finally, this season, Woods leads in the category of total money won by roughly $3.5 million, leads in scoring average by more than a stroke, and is the only player with double-digit Top 10 finishes. If that’s the definition of a slump, Woods should have one every year.

So let’s all take a deep breath for a moment, and put Tiger and the game of golf in perspective. An Olympic champion will probably have one good Olympics in them, a star running back might have 10-plus seasons, and a Hall of Fame pitcher might last for 15. Tiger is already in his 15th season, and he shows no signs in slowing down.

In golf, it’s all about pacing yourself. Woods could potentially play 17 more seasons until he’s 50. Once that day comes, Woods becomes eligible for the Champions Tour. To put it simply, Tiger could dominate the PGA for 30 years, then move to the Champions Tour and dominate that for at least 10 more seasons. We’re talking golf domination for 40 years.

There’s a generational aspect to all of this. While we’re watching the Babe Ruth of golf run roughshod over the field, our kids will still be watching Tiger sink ’em on Sunday. By the time Tiger calls it quits, his daughter Sam could be moping up the LPGA Tour.

So let’s all take a deep breath and calm down. Maybe his drives have shortened a bit and a six-footer lips out in a final round now and then. But a slump? Please. The only thing that will last longer than Tiger Woods’s career is the Rolling Stones.

So if you “Can’t Get no Satisfaction” when Tiger misses a putt, just wait ’til next week.