Once upon a time, there was this young golfing phenom that burst onto the scene and was winning everything in sight. It wasn't a matter of if, but when he would break Jack Nicklaus' all-time record of 18 major victories. Not only was he #1 in the world, he was so good that in many tournaments betting on him against the entire field was a common wager.
And then his wheels fell off. After being exposed as a serial adulterer, along with the messy and expensive divorce that quickly followed, our hero's golf game started fading fast. Throw in a few injuries, real or "convenient" to explain horrible play, switching caddies, swing coaches, while desperately trying to recapture the old magic -- and things only got worse. Sadly, or comically, take your pick, our shining knight even had a tooth knocked out when he hovered too close to a cameraman while watching his latest beloved skiing down a slope in Europe. They've since split too. Ouch, on both fronts.
All the talk of Jack's record has long since disappeared. These days the same people that once took Tiger Woods against the field to win are now saying his chances of missing the cut are greater than winning any given tournament. My, how far the mighty has fallen.
How bad has it gotten? His last time out on tour at Jack's Memorial tournament, Woods closed with a a mega-duffer 85 to finish dead last. Tiger needed to work on his game to prepare for this year's U.S. Open.
Now it is upon us. During the first round, Woods made an impressive birdie on the 17th hole to shoot --- 80? He's 15 shots back of the leaders after 18 holes. Out of the entire 156 man field, Eldrick finds himself tied for 152nd, with only two golfers shooting worse. Including the amateurs.
After his long reign as the #1 golfer in the world, Tiger isn't in the top ten anymore. Or the top 20. Or the top 50, or even the top 100. He's currently ranked 195th. That means there's likely at least 125 guys you never heard of that are considered better players than Tiger these days. Forget about making the cut at the Open -- if he goes out and shoots another 80 in the second round, or worse, entirely possible, where will he be ranked next week? 225? 250? How far down do these rankings go anyway? And how terrible does Tiger have to get before they yank his PGA card and make him go through qualifying school to re-earn it -- something he never had to do in the first place?
Woods still has his die-hard supporters on the courses and amongst the media and fans watching on TV. They want him to win. They NEED him to win. They expect him to make a miraculous comeback any day or week now and become the dominant player he once was.
Well, it's not going to happen. Woods is 39. Lately, he can't even shoot his age anymore for 9 holes. Yes, other golfers have experienced great moments in their 40s, but they never "lost it" the way Woods has in recent years.
In today's politically correct world, and especially amongst the staid announcers at a golf tournament, they dare not say anything that could be interpreted as being critical of a player, even if he's stinking it up. During the first round of the Open one finally went "out on a limb" while watching Tiger butcher his way around the course and said -- this is getting ugly.
Ugly? When's the last time you saw a professional golfer hit a "worm burner" from a perfect lie in the fairway? Or spend more time thrashing around in the sand than pre-schoolers at a beach party? The only thing that saved Tiger from a 90 or 100 was this golf course is wide open with no water hazards and, ahem, woods. He was hitting it all over the place both with his tee shots and irons, and appeared to be clueless with his putter to boot. Fore right. Fore left. Maybe Tiger should go back to the good old days of foreplay because his golf game is in a shambles.
From the late 1990s through perhaps 2008, Tiger Woods gave the world a decade of golf mastery never seen before. He was the MAN.
But in the last 7 years, he's been slowly but surely going downhill. Recently, it appears the bottom has fallen out. 195th? Really?
Finally, at this year's U.S. Open at Chambers Bay golf course just outside of Spokane, Washington, something happened I dare say nobody would have ever thought possible not long ago.
While walking up to the 18th green to finish off his latest pitiful round of golf, the gallery didn't give Tiger Woods his usual applause and encouragement. They laughed at him instead. Can there possibly be a bigger insult than that? Ouch indeed.
Nobody knows what Eldrick Tont Woods future plans are when it comes to golf. Of late, he's been cherry-picking the tournaments he plays in, but the fact remains he's nowhere near being competitive. For sure Tiger will play in the British Open, PGA tournament, and likely a few others along the way this year.
But if he keeps stinking it up like he has been -- how much embarrassment is enough? Has the man no shame? Doesn't he know people are mocking him? Or does he even get that or care?
Woods might want to consider retiring at the ripe old age of 40. Yeah, the endorsements will fade away but c'mon, he's already got enough dough to live in the lap of luxury forever after.
And just think. No more practicing golf all day long and having to deal with that pesky media. That frees up a lot of bimbo time. Between the private jet and the limo -- take them to putt-putt courses all over the world. They won't know the difference anyway.
And Tiger might even be able to win a round here and there......