Saturday, July 21, 2012

Tiger Woods and the British Open

Well, let's see. Tiger shot a 3-under 67 on Thursday. 3 strokes back. Not bad. He followed that up with another 67 on Friday. 4 strokes back. Respectable. Today, he carded an even par 70, 5 strokes back. Losing ground.

The big question becomes -- which Tiger will show up on Sunday? Will it be the Eldrick of old that might light it up with a 63 or 64, storming past the field on the way to the championship? Or will it be the Tiger that folds like he did in the US Open a while back, perhaps balooning to a 74 or 75 as the young guns steadily pass him by?

Nobody knows. Yet, there are 2 things that we can be reasonably sure about.

First, Tiger may be "back", but his days of intimidating the rest of the field are likely over. Many players no longer fear him because they know he's beatable. The red shirt and black pants on Sunday no longer carry the aura of invincibility they once did. As younger hot-shot players continue to emerge from all over the globe, they're developing the same cold-hearted mentality that Woods once had. They're good, and they know it. All they have to do is play up to their abilities, and they'll be in the hunt. It's not about beating Tiger, it's about conquering the golf course.

Secondly, no matter what happens with Eldrick on Sunday, be it a 63 or a 75, one thing is a virtual certainty. We will be force-fed Tiger highlights over and over and over again. This I can understand if he goes out, overcomes his current 5 stroke deficit, and storms his way to the championship. No doubt, the conversation would again return to Tiger inevitably passing Jack Nicklaus' record of winning 18 "majors".

But if he goes out and bumbles his way around into a tie for, say, 20th, then just why, pray tell, should we be force-fed the same highlights, or perhaps low-lights, of Woods' performance?

We shouldn't, but we will, while the networks and scribes continue to fawn all over him, in the meantime giving minimal coverage to the golfers that were superior to him in this particular tournament.

The conversation will become whether Woods will EVER win another major, and perhaps justifiably so. It's been a few years already.

Yes, Tiger is a black man in a predominantly white man's sport that has done extremely well over the years, perhaps a rarity like a white man being an Olympic champion in the 100 meter dash. Colors shouldn't matter. May the best man win.

Again, hard telling how Woods will perform in the final round of the British Open. If he wins -- by all means, bring on the highlights. If he crashes and burns, is it too much to ask to keep those same highlights down to 2 or 3 replays instead of a few hundred?

Replays of highlights are supposed to be about winners -- not who has the most fans.


  1. Once a Tiger hater, always a Tiger hater, huh John? Well another major has eluded Tiger. He was in position again but couldn't get it done. A funny thing happened. He shot 73 but I missed the part where the young guns steadily passed him by.

    Tiger is slowly but surely rebuilding his swing and game, and will again be the number one player in the world, he is already knocking on the door. I expect that he will break through and win another major at this year's PGA.

    There are a lot of young guns as you called them John, but I don't see one who can be characterized as a threat to Tiger. He will reclaim number one and hold onto it for years again. There has been a two year window for one of the youngsters to stake his claim as the heir apparent but nobody has. And nobody will. Because Tiger will not let it happen.

    1. I don't know how many times and different ways I have to say it -- but this will be the last. I don't hate Tiger Woods like some, nor am I infatuated with him like others. I neither root for nor against him. As a professional athlete and public figure, Eldrick is fair game when it comes to talking heads, scribes, and even bloggers. Some will praise, and others have the same right to lampoon. What Woods is doing with his game and whether he returns to dominanance is of no concern to me. Golf will be just fine with or without him, as it was with Nicklaus, Jones, Hogan, Palmer, etc. As for the above article -- perhaps you should reread it. I did not predict young guns passing him by at Lytham. I merely through out a bunch of "what-ifs", that being one of them, with a scoring range from 63 to 75. Tiger fans such as yourself hope he returns to the mountaintop. Those that truly hate him want to see him rappel without a rope. Personally, I wish him well, like I would anybody else, in sports or in life. That's it. No more and no less.