Eldrick Tont Woods has withdrawn from the tournament at Pebble Beach citing "back spasms". Again.
That could raise a few questions to an inquisitive and, hopefully, objective mind.
First, were they real or faked? In other words, did he actually experience an involuntary physical contraction of his back muscles which kept him from playing on -- or -- was it just a convenient method of saving face when he continues to play so poorly?
Only Tiger knows for sure. Thing is, like your garden variety headache, back spasms (particularly after they've abated) are undetectable to the finest of medical technology. No X-Ray or MRI is going to discover whether they ever existed in the first place. So we are left with his word only. Most wish to believe him, but this certainly wouldn't be the first time the good Mr. Woods has, shall we say, stretched the truth a tad. Ask Elin.
Another question would be thus: Why is it that Tiger could "gut it out" on a "broken leg" back in the day to win a major championship, but now something as minor as back spasms totally incapacitates him? And hey, nobody walks mile after mile on a truly broken leg, so that was a fishy story even back then.
It's hard to dispute the preferential treatment Woods continues to receive. No other professional athlete in any other sport would be afforded the same. For background, consider Woods hasn't won a tournament in about 3 years, nor a major in roughly a decade. Further, he can't even seem to make a cut these days. Not even close.
In an NFL player turned in the same performance, he would long have been cut from the team.
The same goes for an NHL player. Non-productive for too long means outta here.
In the NBA, such a woeful player, for whatever reasons, would either be dismissed or find himself in the development league or overseas hoping to catch on.
Major league baseball would send him down to the minors to hopefully get his act together.
But in all cases, such an athlete, regardless of how good he once was, would no longer be allowed to play with the "big boys", at least temporarily. So how and why is it that Woods gets to keep on competing in PGA tournaments? Shouldn't he be delegated to the lesser Nationwide Tour (minor leagues) until he can prove he's worthy of competing with the best players in the world?
For that matter, if this horrible slump he's in doesn't improve some time soon, it would seem reasonable to question his very credentials as a PGA player. Only so many are allowed "cards" which enable them to compete. The question then becomes -- how bad does he have to get before they yank his ticket and make him go back through qualifying school? Oh, that's right. He never had to slog his way through it in the first place. Unlike other American players, he was given a pass.
Being ranked so low, not even in the top 500, if Eldrick was a pro tennis player, he'd find himself served up as cannon fodder to a top seed in an early round of a tennis major.
Only Tiger, and only in golf, is allowed to keep getting away with this sham.
The truly amazing thing is his legions of loyal fans (the media) continue to bombard golf fans with every and any Tiger "update" they can dig up. See Tiger drive. See Tiger chip. See Tiger putt. See Tiger 15 strokes behind. And of course, there will inevitably be a Tiger interview. Reporters hang on his every word after yet another disastrous day on the course. Nowadays, pitifully, a cast of thousands consider a "tweet" from Tiger as having the same impact and importance as if Moses just came down from the mountain with another set of tablets. They can't wait for this stuff, no matter how trivial it is. Does anybody with a lick of self respect really care what he ate for breakfast or how his practice rounds went? If that's how dumb-downed and hero-worshiping so many people have become, mankind is in bigger trouble than we thought.
But I'll just bet you a nickel that, roughly a month from now, as the Masters approaches, the media will be circling their wagons to build the hype of Woods playing again at Augusta. Never mind he not only won't be a favorite, and the longest of long shots to win. Also never mind it would be miraculous if he even survived the cut after two rounds of play -- if he can even make it THAT far, without those pesky back spasms or some other mysterious malady forcing him off the course prematurely -- real or fabricated.
The trumpets will sound and the media will swarm all over Eldrick Tont Woods with their cameras and microphones.
Given his atrocious play (and what else should matter?) of late, it is absolutely confounding why so much attention continues to be payed to what appears to be a hopelessly washed up former great.
In that respect, he is one of a kind indeed.
But that doesn't make it right.......