The last time Dale Earnhardt Jr. won a race was coincidentally the exact same weekend Tiger Woods captured his last major victory (U.S. Open at Torrey Pines – San Diego, CA.) on June 15th, 2008. Since that very moment, Junior has been a on a tumultuous unlucky 114 race winless streak. Tiger did take home eight tournament victories in 2009, but none of them were majors.
Looking a Junior’s problems, it could be attributed to changing teams (DEI to Hendrick Motorsports); bad luck; media pressure; no dominant tracks; and qualifying issues. In 2004, his average starting position was 10.9. Conversely, his average starting position is 21.3 this season. All of these factors have led to Junior coming really close like at the Coca-Cola 600 in May at his home track in the Charlotte Motor Speedway, but not being able to finish. Throughout this season, he has dropped seven spots in the race for the Sprint Cup from third now down to 10th.
Since the TMZ scandal back on Thanksgiving weekend in November ’09, Woods has not won a single tournament. Since that precarious moment, his then wife Elin Nordegren filed for divorce; he left leading sports management company IMG; and recently fired his longtime caddie Stevie Williams with whom he won 13 major titles. To make things worse, Tiger fell out of the Top 10 in the world rankings for the first time since 1997. His downward spiral continued into a free fall as he dropped out of the Top 20 for the first time since he turned pro in the late 90′s. To put it in perspective, his perch at #1 reached a total of 623 weeks at the top ranking in the world which included 281 consecutive weeks. Subsequently, he relinquished the top spot last November (2010) to Lee Westwood.
Looking at the trials and tribulations of both Tiger & Junior, who will win next? Neither one has shown any signs recently over the last two months, they are ready to reclaim the glory they once had. Right now, they are unceremoniously linked for failures more than successes. They are more “Hype” than hope. If Tony Soprano held a gun to my head, my money’s on Junior to win next, but Tiger to win More in the long-term future.