So No Tiger Woods at The Masters? Who Cares!
You look at the title and you’re thinking I’m an old fuddy duddy or the title is trying to grab your attention (Correct on both!). But hear me out fellow Stoopers! I didn’t make up the title just to get your attention but to understand why we don’t care Tiger Woods doesn’t show up at The Masters.
He’s arguably one of the top five golfers of all time, that’s undeniable. It’s more about the Woods mystique and the lure of the name that to me has withered away with each tournament he entered and each injury or quirk he encounters that has led to his declining performance. That’s ok because that’s natural and he’s human. Obviously, social media is contributing to his rampant exposure watching his every move on the golf course, press conferences, and hoping he’ll return healthy for an entire tournament.
Twenty years ago this month Woods convincingly won his first major title at Augusta, Georgia. This started one of the greatest individual professional sports runs of this era. That is why Woods’ status is so high demand and so important to the game when in reality this is the past and it doesn’t carry weight as it usually would.
All golfers take a step back in talent as the years go by. He’s mentioned on sports programs to garner ratings but he’s not needed right now to keep the game going. The great thing about professional golf is the crop of talented men coming and going vying for the green jacket. The new breed of golfers intimidated by Woods whom ironically likely idolized Woods growing up.
Since Woods can’t play like he used to or at all there is one thing Woods can do going forward regardless of his health. Two words: Broadcast Booth. I say that because a similar thing happened to a golf legend back in the 80’s. His name is Jack Nicklaus.
Nicklaus was one of my all-time favorite golfers growing up. I wanted him to win all the time but realistically that would never happen. Back around the mid-80’s through early 90’s watching a Grand Slam golf tournament on ABC Jack Nicklaus would make an appearance in the broadcast booth. Except for the 1986 Masters in which he won, most of the time Nicklaus would miss the cut or be so far down on the leader board that his day ended early.
But rather than pack his things and bolt Nicklaus stuck around Saturdays and sometimes Sundays in the booth as an analyst. His delivery was so smooth and with ease; likeable just like Jack himself. I remember discussing the greens and which club to use as if he was your caddy going hole by hole. Can you picture Woods doing the same thing? Not only would it keep him relevant he would be a ratings grabber.
Don’t feel bad if Woods won’t be at the Masters. Players come and go. The Masters remains. Memories are accumulated over time. Watching players emerge or breakout making a name for themselves is what’s great about a long-standing tradition-laden tournament.
So as you watch the Masters this weekend, you’ll remember Woods’ big moments at Augusta but welcome in the current generation of golfers that strive to be as good as but never close to Tiger Woods’ aura. This is why Tiger Woods won’t be missed at the Masters.