Woods can snap major skid at British Open

Tiger Woods hasn’t won a major tournament in more than six years, yet he remains the biggest draw in golf because, well, he’s Tiger Woods. But, make no mistake, the clock is ticking on his window to win four more majors and tie the great Jack Nicklaus for the most all-time at 18.

This weekend’s British Open, which tees off today at Royal Liverpool, presents a prime opportunity — at least on paper — to break his drought, given that Tiger captured the Claret Jug the last time the course hosted The Open Championship in 2006.

However, expectations must be tempered by both Woods’ recovery from back surgery in March, and his advancing age.

Woods will turn 39 just before the end of 2014, so he’s already well into the back nine of his career. Historically, the peak ages for major-winning golfers range from 29 to 35. Tiger’s last major crown, at the U.S. Open in 2008, came at age 32.

By age 40, winning the big ones in golf has proved to be even tougher. According to golfmajorchampion ships.com, just 37 majors have been won by quadragenarians, and only five of those were 45 or older. Woods is a rare talent on the links, but Father Time always wins, eventually.

For what it’s worth, Nicklaus won his final four majors at age 38 or later. If Tiger can win the British this weekend at the same age as “The Golden Bear” did, that should breathe new life into his quest.

Looking ahead, Tiger’s immediate major future sets up pretty well for him to potentially succeed. The PGA Championship next month is at Valhalla, where Woods won the tournament the last time it hosted the PGA in 2000.

As for next year and beyond, Tiger always has a chance at the Masters, where he has conquered Augusta National four times. The 2015 British Open heads to St. Andrews, where Tiger has won twice. In 2019, when Woods will be 43, the U.S. Open returns to a Pebble Beach course where Tiger won in 2000.

That tournament could represent the last, best chance for Woods to claim a major. But that’s also five years off. For now, Tiger has some work to do this weekend in England.