The Unbridled Pragmatist
smart enough to know how dumb we are

They Will Miss Me When I’m Gone

When the news broke that Tiger Woods would miss the remainder of golf season after knee surgery I was sad.  Not sad for Tiger, who will rehab with his gorgeous wife on their majestic Florida estate, but sad for me.  I am selfish, and I wanted more incredible golf from the world’s most famous athlete.


Could anyone with a pulse who watched Tiger’s one legged US Open triumph last month not want more?  I could only imagine the theatrics of Tiger wearing a red sweater on Sunday at Royal Birkdale; stalking the world’s oldest golf championship.  Instead we will watch the British Open without the best player on the planet.  Imagine the Godfather without Brando, Wimbledon without Federer, the jungle with no lion.


Missing the unbelievable feats Tiger serves up to the world — from last months win at Torrey Pines to his field obliterating first major victory at Augusta — undoubtedly creates a void in the golf world.  An argument exists that Tiger’s dominance is actually bad for golf; his conquests so exulting that his absence is unbearable.  The critics will point to the coming months as golf television ratings decline.  However, television ratings do not tell the story.


Statistics can be swayed, proving or disproving a myriad of theories.  The truth is Tiger transcends golf, like Jordan transcended hoops or Ali transcended boxing. 

I will never forget when MJ won his final championship in 1998, getting a call from my grandmother the next day.  She stayed up and watched the whole game, recalling how excited she was when MJ buried that jumper over Bryon Russell.  



A similar phone call came in 2001 after Tiger’s win at the Masters.  I never knew my grandma watched golf, now she knew the phrase Tiger Slam.  No matter how animated Sergio gets or how long a putt Lee Westwood buries, they will inspire no calls from my grandmother.


I am not the only one who will miss Tiger.  Of course the networks will miss Tiger, ratings will drop.  Advertising for the majors is already locked in; the networks will get their money.  The Fed Ex Cup will take a hit, but Tiger only played in three of the tournaments last year. 



The Ryder Cup?  Tiger doesn’t play his best in the Ryder Cup.  You don’t send a Green Beret to a diplomatic meet and greet; Tiger isn’t ingrained to be a team player.  He wants to win by beating everyone else on the course.


Those who should be most thankful for Tiger?  Those with the most to lose?  His fellow players.  Purses at golf tournaments have ballooned to over $270 million this year.  In 1997, Tiger’s first year as a pro, there were nine players earning over $1 million on tour; today that number has soared to 99.  The players don’t have each other to thank, or the internet, or the Golf Channel; they should all address thank you notes to one Eldrick “Tiger” Woods.


There are two people who should be happy Tiger is gone for a while; whoever wins the next two majors.  The guy holding the Claret Jug and later the Wannamaker Trophy will be on Tiger’s list, and he will be coming for them in ’09.


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