Arguably one of the most polarizing athletes in the last two decades, Tiger Woods’ agent announced Tuesday that Woods will miss the PGA Championship next week at Baltusrol and the rest of the 2016 PGA tour season. This is sad news for Tiger fans as the golfer hasn’t played since the Wyndham Championship last August.
The question surrounding Woods this past year was when will he come back and even will he comeback at all?
Since Woods has been on tour in 1996, he has been one of the most competitive athletes out there willing to do anything to be the champion. Whether it is hitting thousands of golf balls a day or working out hours on end, Tiger has always been willing to do anything to be the best. Knowing Tiger’s attitude, I bet that he will return sometime during the 2017 season. Analysts have talked about Tiger returning at the Hero World Challenge, a low stakes tournament Tiger founded a few years back. It would create great publicity for the tournament and Tiger’s foundation would benefit greatly from this widespread press. The tournament is set to start on November 29th, which will be 13 months post-surgery.
Tiger’s return will create of a lot of buzz around the PGA Tour when it occurs, but it shouldn’t. Tiger has been the face of golf even before he reached the PGA Tour and he was deserving that title until about 2013, when he lead the PGA Tour in wins. Since then, Tiger’s golf game has been nonexistent and fans are now getting excited simply when he makes the cut, which is crazy to think about after the streak of tournaments he previously had making the cut. All those major titles and victories, the richest most recognizable athlete on the planet…and it all fell apart one weekend, 7 years ago.
Golf hasn’t forgotten Tiger, but maybe it should. He will never be what he was; he might create some stir here and there. His twilight years may get him one magical weekend where he takes home one more major title, but he is no longer the face of golf nor should he be.
It’s time to focus on the new crop of ultra-talented golfers topped with guys who can drop 300 yard bombs with ease like Dustin Johnson or no look putts like Jordan Spieth. The PGA Tour has a new crop of young individuals who have taken the torch away from Tiger and led golf to a better place. Casual fans need to realize this, the fans that used to tune in strictly to see Tiger can get the same level of entertainment, maybe even better if they just tuned in now. Critics said the game of golf would die without Tiger, well it hasn’t.
Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, and Jason Day. These are the new faces of golf; we should focus on their bright futures, instead of what’s left of Tiger’s diminishing one.