Saying goodbye to Tiger Woods

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.

Photo credit: Keith Allison via Visual Hunt / CC BY-SA

  1. TigersArmy

    As a monster Tiger fan it’s hard to accept this reality, but that’s exactly what this is: reality. Tiger’s body is simply breaking down on him, and it feels like he’s rehabbing from surgery every six months. Not only does it get harder to come back from injury as he gets older, but he also has other things in his life that matter now. Instead of spending 8-10 hours a day working to get back, he’s playing soccer with his kids (he jokes about it all the time in his press conferences). He’s at the point in his life where family comes first, doing things like playing in the Masters Par-3 Contest for the first time last year. That being said, I think Tiger still has the natural talent to string together a couple magical weeks and win (probably not majors, the fields are too strong).

    I do have to disagree with the idea that golf is screwed without Tiger. No doubt he brought astronomical ratings, but golf is in good hands with the next generation. You see kids dressed in orange Puma gear at every tournament cheering for Rickie (who is only getting better and is extremely marketable). Rory is 26 and has 4 majors. Golf has their new American Golden Child in Jordan Spieth. Guys like Bubba and Dustin Johnson hit the ball a mile and are fun to watch. We’re not stuck in the Tiger/Phil era where only like 5 guys had a chance to win this week. Going into Augusta this year you can make a legitimate case for 20-30 guys to put on the Green Jacket on Sunday evening. As much fun as it was watching Tiger lapping the field and shattering records, deeper fields make for better, more exciting tournaments on a week to week basis.

    1. Condor

      Hey pal thanks for the comment! I do agree that golf is in good hands for golf fans. For fans of the sport like us there is an embarrassment of wealth around as far as talent goes. Unfortunately we need casual fans to boost those ratings to keep our tournaments on TV. I don’t think golf is in any danger of going away soon, but I also believe that over the long run no sport is immune to fading public eye, and I just hope our game is not the next one to fall!

  2. TigersArmy

    Agreed with the fair weather comment, you won’t get those ratings without Tiger. There’s two big things we have going for us as a golf fans. First is that Jordan Spieth is a rockstar and he’s American. He got a This Is SportsCenter commercial last week, and I believe he’s only the fourth golfer to get one of those (Tiger, Phil, Rickie off of the top of my head. Could be missing someone). All of those guys are Americans. Guys like Rory don’t get quite the same reaction out of the casual fans and American media because, and I’m convinced it’s because of the USA bias. Golf needs an American superstar to get media coverage here, and they have one teed up for the next twenty years.

    The second is that golf is on major networks now. ESPN gets the first two days of the Masters and The Open, although that is going to NBC starting this year (Feherty!). Fox just paid a fortune to get the US Open, with a package deal so they air the US Am too now (which is underrated and a blast to watch). The only major TV situation I don’t like is the PGA getting air on TNT. The average sports fan will never turn to that channel in August. But the big networks that didn’t do much golf coverage before (looking at you, Worldwide Leader) got drawn in by Tiger ratings and that gives the game more exposure in the long run.

    Keep up the good work, really like the site!

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