RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
Tiger Woods has won his 10th major golf tournament. Yesterday he won the British Open in Scotland by five strokes. Commentator John Feinstein joins me now.
Good morning, John.
JOHN FEINSTEIN reporting:
Good morning, Renee.
MONTAGNE: Just how impressive was Tiger Woods' latest performance?
FEINSTEIN: Well, this is the most dominant he has been since that period in 2000 and 2001 when he won four straight major championships over a period of two years. He got the lead on Thursday, never gave it up. When he needed to be on Sunday, he was absolutely in control on a difficult golf course, and he pulled away the last few holes for that five-stroke margin. So people have wondered, you know, when is Tiger going to come back? He's clearly back.
MONTAGNE: So what about all that talk of a slump? Overblown?
FEINSTEIN: No, I don't think it was overblown at all. Tiger Woods went 10 straight majors without winning once after winning seven out of 11. That's a slump by his standards. Every player has different standards, and for him to go two and a half years without winning a major was a slump. He was dealing with his swing, as players always do. He's now comfortable with the new swing. He's now able to put the ball in the fairway at key times, which he wasn't able to do for a long while, and now it's back--it was a big four in golf for a little while. Now it's back to Tiger and everybody else.
MONTAGNE: Yeah, even with this big win, he did have to share the spotlight, didn't he?
FEINSTEIN: Oh, absolutely. This was Jack Nicklaus' final major championship. He went to the home of golf, St. Andrews, where he's won two British Open titles himself, to do it, and Friday afternoon when he walked up the 18th fairway for the last time, it was one of the great scenes I think anybody's ever seen in golf or in sports. He was with his great old rival, Tom Watson. There wasn't a dry eye in the place. When he made that birdie, typical Jack Nicklaus to birdie his last hole and walked off into the sunset just about as dramatically as he possibly could.
MONTAGNE: And Jack Nicklaus has always been Tiger Woods' role model, hasn't he?
FEINSTEIN: He has in the sense that Tiger has always held Jack Nicklaus' 18 major titles to be the goal that he wants to reach. As you said, he's now at 10 at the age of 29, and I think there's a very good chance that he will get to that record, which is one of the great records in sports when you realize that Walter Hagen is second with 11 major titles. I just hope that Tiger will also look at Jack Nicklaus away from the golf course: the grace and dignity he always handled himself with in victory or defeat. Tiger's not there yet. He's still a bad loser, he still behaves badly on the golf course. That's part of being Jack Nicklaus and part of being a champion, too. I hope he will figure that out in the near future.
MONTAGNE: Well, you just wonder, you know--one last thing, John--if Tiger Woods will be there as long as Jack Nicklaus.
FEINSTEIN: Well, you're right. That's a good point. Jack Nicklaus is 65 when he bowed out the other day. One of the great things about golf, though, is you can keep playing it a long, long time. Tiger's made more money than he needs for 10 lifetimes, but I think he will keep playing at least till he gets Jack's record, then the question is, does he want to still be in that spotlight that he shuns so often, or does he want to continue playing into his 50s and 60s? He'll certainly be capable of it.
MONTAGNE: Thanks very much, John.
FEINSTEIN: Thank you, Renee.
MONTAGNE: The comments of John Feinstein, whose book, "Caddy for Life: The Bruce Edwards Story," is now available in paperback.
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