Golf Central Special, “Tiger Turns 40,” Features Industry Roundtable Assessing Woods’ Ascent and Current Standing in Golf, Airing Dec. 30 at 6 p.m.
Brandel Chamblee on Woods vs. Nicklaus – “You’d Have to Give the Edge to Tiger Woods as the Greatest Player of All Time”
(ORLANDO, Fla.) – In celebration of 14-time major champion and former World No. 1 Tiger Woods’ 40th birthday (on Dec. 30), Golf Channel is dedicating a collection of video and editorial content scheduled to appear on-air, online and across the network’s social media platforms.
ON-AIR: On Wednesday, Dec. 30 at 6 p.m. ET, Golf Channel will air a special hour-long Golf Central special titled, “Tiger Turns 40,” examining the impact Woods has made on the game. Golf Channel’s Rich Lerner will moderate the discussion, with a panel that includes Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, Golf Digest editor-in-chief Jaime Diaz, and Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte. During the course of the show, the panel debates the merits of Jack Nicklaus vs. Woods as the “best golfer of all time.” Chamblee favors Woods over Nicklaus due to his dominance over his competition, while Diaz favors Nicklaus and his record 18 major championships. Golf Channel’s Kelly Tilghman and Notah Begay also sit down for a segment on Begay’s relationship with Tiger (his college teammate at Stanford University), and the impact Earl Woods (Tiger’s father) had on molding the younger Woods into an eventual icon of the sport.
“I think it really does come down to two players in the history of this game,” Chamblee said. “And I think that’s pretty clear between Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. And it should be said that longevity sanctifies an idea, a career, a relationship, a government. In that regard, Jack Nicklaus’ career was so long. [He] won major championships over 24 years, spanned three generations. But Tiger Woods dominated in a way that had never been done before, and will never be done again. So at least in my estimation, you’d have to give the edge to Tiger Woods as the greatest player of all time.”
EDITORIAL: The editorial team for GolfChannel.com is adding perspective to Woods’ 40th birthday through several columns focusing on the overall impact he’s left on the game, as well as an in-depth discussion on Woods’ career for a “Tiger Woods Turns 40” special podcast on GolfChannel.com.
Mercer Baggs, managing editor of GolfChannel.com, pens a column trying to answer the question, “Who is Tiger Woods?” Baggs asserts, There aren’t five people who’ve meant more to the game than he has. Arguably no one. Someone of that import elicits great emotion from the public, beyond the boundaries of the game. Who he is, not just what he’s done, matters to a populous base. Maybe some can separate the man from the sport, and say that they don’t care what this person does in his personal life as long as he entertains. But there are others who cannot differentiate between the two.
Ryan Lavner, staff writer for GolfChannel.com, makes a case for why Woods remains one of the game’s most relevant figures, Even as his game becomes more curiosity than cultural obsession, even as the next generation of stars dominates the way he used to, Tiger Woods has remained the focal point of the sport by almost any metric. The Tiger Effect is alive and well as he approaches his 40th birthday – it just looks, sounds and feels different.
In a second column, Lavner details the impression Woods has made on golf’s young stars, In many ways, Woods made golf like other sports. He showed emotion. He electrified the crowd. He brought a new level of athleticism and intensity. The marketing team at Nike played an important role as well, transforming Woods from a nerdy, socially awkward college kid into a national icon. Without Woods’ influence, it’s fair to wonder whether Jordan Spieth would have played baseball like his father … or PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Daniel Berger would have played tennis like his dad … or Tony Finau would have played basketball like his cousin. Brooks Koepka, Hideki Matsuyama, Billy Horschel and Patrick Rodgers all likely could have pursued another sport besides golf, but they didn’t.
Rex Hoggard, senior writer for GolfChanel.com, predicts what the next phase of Woods’ career will look like, Woods’ 40th birthday has become a much more nuanced milestone. While there is no shortage of players who enjoyed success well into their 40s, few if any began the final decade of their careers with so many unanswered questions. Whatever comes next for Woods depends entirely on how his back responds to three surgeries in two years, but there is a litany of examples of players who were competitive at the highest levels well into their fourth decade.
SOCIAL MEDIA: GolfChannel.com and the network’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram handles will highlight a number of videos centered around the former World No.1, including the “Tiger Woods Turns 40” podcast, along with several videos from Golf Channel’s archives dating back to 1996 at the early onset of a Hall-of-Fame career. A Woods “through the years” photo gallery will be featured on Dec. 30 on Woods’ birthday, and the @GCTigerTracker handle also will be live tweeting with a special “Tiger 40” graphic.
The network’s coverage of Woods’ 40th will contribute to Golf Channel’s overall year-end programming, which began this week with a collection of Golf Central and Morning Drive specials dedicated to golf’s most memorable moments of 2015. The lineup of programming also will include Rickie Fowler’s unforgettable final round and playoff victory at THE PLAYERS (airing Saturday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. ET), Jordan Spieth’s run at a Grand Slam, and the heroic comeback by the United States amidst controversy at the Solheim Cup (Saturday, Jan. 2 at 1 p.m. ET).
“SHELL’S WONDERFUL WORLD OF GOLF” SCHEDULE (Eastern)
Thursday, Dec. 24 Nicklaus vs. Palmer (Pinehurst No. 2 – 1994) 6 p.m.
Couples vs. Els (Nicklaus North – 1998) 7:30 p.m.
Nicklaus vs. Player (Sunningdale – 2000) 9 p.m.
Azinger vs. Ballesteros (St. Andrews – 1995) 10:30 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 25 Els vs. Price (Leopard Creek – 1999) Midnight
Player vs. Trevino (World Golf Village – 1998) 1:30 a.m.
Duval vs. Els (Cherokee Plantation – 2000) 3 a.m.
Nicklaus vs. Trevino (Cabo del Sol – 1996) 4:30 a.m.
DeVicenzo vs. Snead (Congressional – 1968) 6 a.m.
Palmer vs. Boros (Cotton Bay Club – 1968) 7 a.m.
Palmer/Rodriguez/ Brewer (El Conquistador – 1969) 8 a.m.
Player vs. Thomson (Royal Melbourne – 1962) 9 a.m.
Sarazen vs. Cotton (St. Andrews – 1962) 10 a.m.
Nelson vs. Littler (Pine Valley – 1962) 11 a.m.
Mickelson vs. Montgomerie (Cordillera – 1997) Noon
Nicklaus vs. Watson (Pebble Beach – 1995) 1:30 p.m.
Couples vs. Mickelson (Gaillardia – 2000) 3 p.m.
Palmer vs. Player (Manele – 1996) 4:30 p.m.
Faldo vs. Norman (Sunningdale – 1994) 6 p.m.
Couples vs. Daly (Crosswater Club – 1999) 7:30 p.m.
Garcia vs. Mickelson (Querencia – 2001) 9 p.m.
Couples vs. Watson (Mount Juliet – 1997) 10:30 p.m.