It’s about time we get something straight. Tiger Woods isn’t hitting 18 majors. Sure, he might win another someday, but that day isn’t soon. The Tiger Woods we all knew, the most dominant player in the history of golf is gone. These past few days only solidified that fact. Hopefully this major, and every other major of the last six years has proven this fact.
For all of you living under rocks the past few days, Tiger Woods shot two consecutive 74s at the PGA Championship at Valhalla. Woods finished +6, in a tie for 117th place, and missed the cut by five strokes. In fact, I don’t think it’s humanly possible for one to have turned on a TV or used the internet in any way over the last few days without finding this out. Because it’s everywhere.
I understand that Tiger Woods used to be a real big deal. He’s one of the greatest two or three golders to have ever been born. He was consistently the best player in the game for over a decade. The issue is, we’ve been waiting for about five years for the Tiger that dominated the game of golf for so long to really re-establish himself by winning his 15th major. He has come close a few times, but for a guy so historically great, close really isn’t good enough.
I recognize that Tiger Woods has done a lot for golf. I mean, he basically put it back on the map. He took a sport which really wasn’t that popular and made it something millions looked at every week. He’s kind of like Michael Phelps in a way. No one really follows every swimming race, but during World Championships, and especially the Olympics, everyone wants to watch Phelps swim. Even now, ESPN seems to follow every competitive race Phelps is in since he ended his retirement.
Tiger is a peculiar case. Much of that is due to his inconsistency of late. Following his leave of absence in late 2009 and his subsequent divorce with Elin Nordegren, Tiger struggled mightily, failing to win a tournament in 2010 or 2011, finishing 72nd and 135th in the PGA Tour Money Leaders rankings in those years, respectively. Tiger then looked like his old self, winning eight tournaments in 2012 and 2013. In those years he finished 2nd and 1st in the money. Despite strong finishes, he didn’t win a major. So despite his strongest years of the new decade, the media saw Tiger’s big years as failures.
Why? Because Tiger needs to catch Jack Nicklaus. Or at least that’s what everyone says. The most overused statistic in all of sports is probably this one. Majors: Jack Nicklaus – 18, Tiger Woods – 14.
Everyone seems so fixated on 18 majors, this magical number that Tiger must hit to become the greatest ever. Guess what? It’s not easy becoming the G.O.A.T. Through all the stress and injuries, Tiger has had a near invisible 2014. Only competing in seven events, Tiger has been cut four times, and has a top finish of 25th. He’s 217th in money this year.
So I understand Tiger has a legacy to live up to. I get the fact that he’s the most famous golfer alive and the easiest to talk about. But come on guys, there’s 155 other guys in the field! Can’t we talk about someone else?
The attention this guy draws is completely ridiculous for a guy who hasn’t done anything this year. Plus, he’s hurt. He’s falling in the rankings, and has been irrelevant this entire year. Every single SportsCenter walks you through every Tiger missed putt, every shanked drive, and then says, “By the way, Sergio Garcia leading,” or something similar.
This new Tiger isn’t someone I want to hear about. He isn’t doing anything important. When I check ESPN or PGA.com, or tune in to the tournament, I want to know how the leaders are doing, not one guy who wasn’t even supposed to be in contention this week.
I want to know about Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Jim Furyk, Phil Mickelson, and other guys who are playing great golf this week, not a guy who missed the cut by five strokes.
When Tiger Woods manages to be in contention in the weekend of a tournament, by all means show him to me. But for now, you can just briefly mention what round he shot and that he missed the cut and be done with it. Give the attention to the guys that deserve it. Right now, that’s not Tiger.
Thanks for reading,