Yeah, it always seems to be like that with Tiger Woods. He finishes 2nd, 3rd, 4th all the time, but just somehow can’t win. - my mother a few months back
People are saying he hasn’t won, he hasn’t won…I mean, so what? He’s always up there, in the top 5. It’s not like he’s dropped off the face of the earth or anything. - my mother last Thursday
Well, it’s official. Tiger Woods has his worst ever finish in a major, 39th (and it would’ve been 48th except for a couple of tremendous birdies at the very end). It’s also his worst ever cumulative score for the four majors in a calendar year, and the first time he’s ever been over par for all four rounds. One of the things that really struck me was how someone who made the impossible recovery shot his signature couldn’t handle the deep roughs to save his life. (Man, those were some awkward follow-throughs.)
After an unbelievable 2001 when he was -53 for the majors and would go on to complete the “Tiger Slam”, who would’ve guessed that he suffer such a dramatic dropoff. Simply put, he’s no longer the man…a fact that becomes simply incredible when you realize who is winning. (If I’m not mistaken, we’ve had two golfers to have a major as their first ever win this year.)
It’s clear that his knee’s been bothering him more than he lets on. And there’s evidence that, thanks to his loyalty to Nike, his equipment really is inferior (although Lefty had absolutely no business harpign on this). More than anything, though, there’s the pressure. All those incredible tournaments set the bar so high, there’s no way he can clear it now.
Looks pretty bleak, huh? Well, consider this:
He has three wins so far this year, this despite playing just 13 events.
He was 4th in the British Open and could’ve won it with a couple more breaks.
He’s owned the money title for ages and is currently #2 this year. With so many big names now struggling with consistency, there’s a good chance of winning it again.
He has a stranglehold on the #1 ranking. Again, with no one else that good from week to week, he’s not in any danger of relinquishing it for quite a while.
The question is, is this enough? No matter how good he is compared to the field, his fans expect him to win, especially the big tournaments. The pressure’s not going to get any easier. He’s been a tremendous boon for golf, but my prediction of retirement before 40 is starting to look like a possibility.
What do you all think? Can he find the motivation to keep playing after sub-par tournaments like this (especially since he obviously doesn’t need the money)? Should he soldier on to the bitter end for the league and his fans?
(Side issue: I remember how he was supposed to inspire an influx of minorities into golf. Are there any signs of a possibility of this happening on any serious level? Like the minor tours, like Hooters, or even college.)