Five years ago, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that two great records in sports were going to fall. Tiger Woods was a near-cinch to break Jack Nicklaus’ record for major championships and Alex Rodriguez was going to topple Barry Bonds’ all-time home run record of 762. If the past five years have taught us anything, however, it is that nothing in sports should be taken for granted. A look at the dual pursuits that have cooled off considerably:
The high point
Tiger: Won the U.S. Open in 2008, his sixth major championship in a four-year span. He turned 33 at the end of that year and already had 14 majors — only four shy of tying Nicklaus and five from passing him.
A-Rod: He finished the 2008 season with 553 career home runs, including eight seasons with at least 40 (three of which were over 50). He was 33 years old, in great shape and only 209 shy of Bonds.
Tiger: Has suffered through injuries and well-publicized marital infidelity, which culminated in a divorce and a hit to his off-the-course reputation. On the course, Tiger has nine top-10 finishes in majors since his last victory, but he remains stuck on 14. He will have one more shot this year at the PGA Championship, which begins a week from Thursday.
A-Rod: Rodriguez battled injuries from 2009 to ’12, hitting only 94 home runs in that span. He has yet to play in 2013 after undergoing hip surgery and also faces a lengthy ban for his role in the Biogenesis scandal.
Tiger: Woods will turn 38 at the end of the year. At this stage in his career, Nicklaus also had won 14 majors — adding four more from age 38 forward. It has gone from a strong bet to a decent bet, but Woods still could tie and/or pass Nicklaus.
A-Rod: He turned 38 Saturday and has 647 homers, 115 shy of catching Bonds. Between his injury and impending suspension, reaching 762 is a long shot at best.