“I think it’s deeper now than it ever has been,” Woods said. “There is more young talent. There are more guys winning golf tournaments for the first time. If you look at the major championships, how long did we go from basically Phil winning and Phil winning?”
He was referring to the 13 majors played between Mickelson winning the 2010 Masters and the British Open this year. Eleven of those champions had never won a major, the exceptions being Els and Rory McIlroy.
Of those 11 first-time major champions, only Darren Clarke has fallen lower than No. 40 in the world.
“It’s more difficult to win events now,” Woods said.
He pointed to advancements in equipment, particularly from wood drivers and wound golf balls. Woods says the younger players who hit the ball high “are shocked to see the ball get moved by the wind.”
“For a lot of us who grew up playing balata balls, you wanted to get that thing down. You didn’t want it up in that wind because it got pushed around like you wouldn’t believe,” he said. “It’s a totally different game. Guys have evolved, and I think they’ve become much more aggressive now than they ever used to be because of equipment.”
Separating the best players is getting more difficult.
McDowell set a target to get back into the top five in the world at the start of the season. He wanted a certain amount of world ranking points that he figured would do the trick, and he about reached that level. Little did he know that so many other players also raised the level of their games.
“It’s fun to be part of it,” McDowell said.