Thursday, April 20, 2017

Cutting to the Tiger chase

To some, it's big news that Tiger Woods has had yet another back operation. It shouldn't be. The proverbial fork had already been stuck in his pro golfing career. He was as done as your typical Thanksgiving day turkey.

This time he's out for at least another six months, as in the rest of the 2017 PGA season, but it doesn't matter. At his age, Woods has about as much chance of making a miraculous comeback on tour as Bill O'Reilly does of winning a Senate seat in blue states like New York or California. Forget that. Ain't gonna happen.

Here's what nobody seems to have noticed. This is the FOURTH such procedure to fix a disc problem in Eldrick's back. Well then. He just might want to consider getting himself a new surgical team. Good grief, if they've already had three whacks at it and couldn't get it right -- something's obviously wrong with this picture. And hey, we're talking about a golfer, not a mixed martial arts cage fighter. All Tiger has to do is swing golf clubs and stroll on magnificent golf courses while a caddy carries his bag, not get body slammed by an opponent in the Octagon. There's getting in shape, and then there's getting in SHAPE. Quite a difference.

Once upon a time, before he crashed and burned, few would doubt that Woods had the greatest decade in pro golf of all time. He was winning seemingly everything and appeared a lock to pass Jack Nicklaus's all-time major mark of 18. But crash and burn he did. Woods hasn't been even remotely competitive in recent years. Win a major? Pshaw. He was lucky to make a cut.

Though he was certainly a terrific golfer from, say, the late 90s to about the time Obama first won the Presidency in 2008, an argument can certainly be made that he came along at just the right time when the competition wasn't so ferocious. Consider....

The "old guard" of the previous generation was either gone or rapidly approaching seniordom. This would include such players as Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Jack, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson, Raymond Floyd, Tom Kite, and a few others.

The "next generation" of young guns was yet to appear on the world stage. They currently include such players as Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Rory McElroy, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, and a few others as well.

Through no fault of his own, Woods came into his heyday in the "tweener" years between great generations of linksters.

Had he been born earlier, could he have been as dominant when the old guard was in their prime? Maybe.

Had he been born later, could he keep up with all the young guns currently on tour? Maybe.

Or maybe not in both cases. Granted, it's a moot argument that has no definite answer, and people can debate it forever after, but it's worth noting the timing of his ascension to greatness, and the players that were no longer there, or hadn't yet grown up to become what they are.

The competition out there these days, especially in major tournaments, is absolutely brutal. So many phenomenal players going at it.

So while it's fair to acknowledge Tiger Woods for what he once was, it's also fair to say fate smiled on him a bit regarding timing.

Idle thought --- Dustin Johnson is currently the #1 ranked golfer in the world. He's certainly earned it. He's also married to Paulina (nee) Gretzky, daughter of Wayne, arguably the greatest hockey player of all time.

So here's the deal. That's some pretty serious thoroughbred blood lines going on for whatever kids they might have.

Nobody knows which sports their young-uns may pursue several years hence, if any.

But if they do, the guess here is they'll be REALLY good at it.

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