As Tiger Woods hopped in the NBC broadcast booth at the Hero World Challenge, he praised two of golf’s biggest names that are galvanizing the sport like he has done.
With Bryson DeChambeau one of the sport’s more polarizing figures, Woods has taken interest in his speed drills and scientific approach to the game and believes DeChambeau is growing golf with his long-drive abilities.
“Like I told [DeChambeau] personally, what he’s doing is historic,” Woods said. “Long-drive players aren’t players on Tour. Back when I was younger, I was the second-longest driver to John Daly, but neither one of us could have competed against the long-drive guys. The disparity was just too great. But for him to take the leap to become a U.S. Open champion and a player on Tour and to do what he’s done, the hard work that goes into it. People have no idea the lifting and the commitment it takes to transform his body and go down that rabbit hole like that and to do what he’s doing, it’s truly remarkable. … And he didn’t lose his game, he’s gotten better with it.”
Full-field scores from the Hero World Challenge
But while the 28-year-old DeChambeau shakes up the sport, Collin Morikawa, who has a five-shot, 54-hole lead in the Bahamas, is establishing himself as the game’s brightest young star in a more precise sense.
“[Morikawa’s] 24 years old, he won two major championships (2020 PGA and 2021 Open), he doesn’t really do anything wrong,” Woods said. “He doesn’t really have wild misses, he’s super, super consistent, unbelievable iron player.”
After Morikawa became the first American to ever win the Race to Dubai last month, a victory in the Bahamas would make him the second fastest-ever to world No. 1 since Woods. Woods did it after 21 starts and Morikawa, with 66 starts, could pass Jordan Spieth, who became world No. 1 after 77 starts, for the runner-up throne.
And though Morikawa is raking up accolades at a close rate to Woods and has one more major win in his first 60 events than Woods did, the 15-time major champion isn’t ready to put the two in the same class. Instead, Woods had a more modest but still impressive comparison for Morikawa, despite Woods thinking Morikawa will win a few more majors in his career.
“I don’t want to sound insulting, but in a way, [Morikawa] plays like an athletic Jim Furyk,” he said. “Don’t take that the wrong way, Jim. I’m sorry if you’re watching. [Morikawa’s] longer, but he thinks methodically around the golf course like [Furyk].”