Whether you like him or not, Tiger is demanding of our respect and attention. Very few other sports figures in history have been able to single-handedly propel a sport to such great heights. People that have no interest in golf, are interested in watching Tiger do his thing. I couldn’t care less about the 100 meter dash, but Usain Bolt has my undivided attention when he sprints. He may have broken the rules, but Lance Armstrong sure could ride a bike. I think we (myself included) just have a fascination with winners. People that are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to completely dominate a sport. So how do our opinions change when the winning stops? Can Tiger win again? Sure. Another major? Maybe. But it’s certainly time to accept that the Tiger we see today isn’t the imposing figure that once captured the eyes of a nation.
Watching Tiger play this year has been fun, but it reminds me of when Michael Jordan came back to the NBA to play for the Wizards. He played pretty impressively, and even had moments of the Jordan-of-old, but it was almost as if we watched him play simply for the nostalgia. It gave us a chance to reminisce. Sure, Tiger has hit some really good golf shots during his comeback tour this year, and has even competed to win a few tournaments, but the media has blown it way out of proportion. TV coverage shows just about every shot that he hits, which is fine. Generally, I think we are all a bit curious to see how he will play. But, they even had the audacity to give Tiger the best odds to win the Masters out of anyone playing that week (10-1), even though he had only played a few competitive rounds beforehand. Even Tiger admitted the ridiculousness of this.
Jordan Spieth (PGA Tour player) www.wqad.com
Going along with this, I think its also important that we limit our expectations of some of these new players on Tour. Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, Rory Mcilroy, Dustin Johnson. They have all drawn comparisons to Tiger as soon as they won a couple of big golf tournaments. Let’s just ease back a little bit. There’s a reason we consider Tiger to be one of the greatest players of all time. There was only one Tiger, just like there was only one Nicklaus. Let’s just enjoy the great golf being played this year by the newcomers, let Rickie be Rickie, and look forward to the next young phenom that comes along to reinvigorates the sport. My guess is – it won’t be too long of a wait.