For the last year I have fought relentlessly against my own common sense. Today I raise the white flag, I am ready to say goodbye to Tiger Woods. I grew up during Tiger’s rise to power. As I began to tolerate watching golf every single god-forsaken weekend with my father, I started to appreciate what I was watching. By the time I was in braces I knew that I was watching something that likely will not happen again. His dominance was absolute. Most weeks felt like the field was playing for second place, and that no matter where he stood on Saturday, it would take an act of God to keep him from contention on Sunday afternoon.
After so many years of complete dominance I can see how easy it is for fans of golf to cling to what once was, and will never be again. We have reached a point where a 17th place finish in the Masters feels like a Neil Armstrong sized step in the right direction. The only thing that Tiger has going for him is he still drives ridiculous ratings. When the PGA prays enough Hail Mary’s to bestow Tiger with a made cut, weekend ratings soar. Even if he isn’t anywhere near contention, people watch.
These days it’s a miracle that Tiger plays at all, forget about making cuts. In the latest rehab report we learn that not only is Tiger not close to playing, he can hardly walk! Tiger’s agent has since denied this, but believing that Tiger feels anywhere north of broken is getting harder and harder to believe. The most frustrating thing about this is that golf needs Tiger Woods to be relevant. Golf ratings have become a dumpster fire without Tiger in the mix, and I fear the fire will only grow without a miracle.
For so long I have thought that the only thing stopping Tiger from a return to form was his mind, a switch that just needed flipping. Now it is clear to me that even when “healthy”, Tiger is too worried about re-injury to regain any meaningful part of his former self. The never-ending merry-go-round of rehab, setbacks, hope, and missed cuts is not one that I am willing to stick my neck out for anymore. Though I hope more than anything that I am wrong, today I accept that Tiger Woods will never be Tiger Woods again, and you should too.