Tiger Woods' Race Against Time: Golfers with the Most Major Wins After Age 35

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Tiger Woods' Race Against Time: Golfers with the Most Major Wins After Age 35
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Tiger Woods isn't going to do it.  He won't catch Jack Nicklaus.

I don't want to be that guy.  I don't want to be the one who will be proven right.  Then again, I'm making a call here so I don't want to be wrong:  I no longer think it's possible.  It is sinking in.

If I had to pick a side to cheer, though, I'd love to see the miracle.  Because that is what it is going to take.

I want to see him do it.  I want to have been able to watch the greatest golfer ever from the very beginning to the end.  I just don't think it will happen anymore.

Now if there is one person that can pull it off, it is Tiger, that Tiger.  Surpassing Jack, by itself, was going to be the golf feat of the game's history. Now, it will take a miracle just to be in the conversation.

You can point to the philandering, the divorce, the caddy and friend issues, the swing, the putter, the competition, the injuries, the fall from grace—more than most mere mortals could manage, mind you—but none of it really matters when asking, "Can Tiger Woods win 19 majors?"

The answer is "no" for a different reason. There's another opponent.

Time.

If Tiger Woods, who will be 36 in time for the 2012 Masters, didn't have any of that other stuff going on, and sat with 14 majors as he does now, his breaking of the record might still be in doubt.

Only one golfer in the past 57 years has won at least five majors after age 35—Nicklaus, and that last one in 1986 was totally out of the blue.  Only three golfers have ever done that: Ben Hogan and Sam Snead are the other two.

Tiger Woods belonged in that club for over a decade—from the 1997 Masters through the 2008 U.S. Open—but then he went down with ACL surgery in '08 and of course the infamous sex scandal of '09.  He still belongs in that club, but he's not the president.

Woods' domination was cut short, he was forced to take time off, make public apologies, withstand photos of his conquests splashed all over the tabloids, and while everyone was distracted by Tiger's unkempt lawn out front, age snuck in the back door.

There's no doubt Woods' infidelities and the resulting domestic complications will be recognized as the biggest factors that brought down the House of Tiger.

But what now?  What if he cleared everything up instantly—amends with and forgiveness from his ex-wife and family, a Steve Williams' handshake, a Woods-Jordan-Barkley fishing trip, the return of the swing, the game?

He would then begin the test of trying to win more majors after the age of 35 than anyone else in the modern era, other than Jack and his miracle Masters.

He no longer has the luxury of time to sit out tournaments like this year's U.S. Open and the Open Championship, nor miss any more cuts like he did Friday at the PGA Championship.

Tiger has 20 opportunities over the next five years (he will be 40 in that fifth year), to try and add five major trophies (or jackets) to his curriculum vitae.  That's 25 percent: a tough ratio for even a young man.

Still, if Tiger gets his house in order, he might yet be able to do it.  Plenty of players on this list have won majors past age 40.  By that time, perhaps Tiger will have tended his garden.

Here are the 10 golfers with the most majors won after the age of 35.

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