Tiger Woods has missed another cut after winning a tournament on his previous outing. This always leads to the questions posed by the media and fans alike, “Is Tiger Woods Back, Or Not?” I even read some blogs that put him in the category of the second coming because he has won three tournaments on the year, and is now the FedEx Cup points leader. Come on folks, he will never be back to what he was at the turn of the new millenia.
Take a minute, and watch the final two rounds, and the Monday playoff, of the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines. That was the end of the Tiger Woods we watched in the previous decade. The Tiger Woods we see today will never get to where he was prior to that tournament. I don’t know about you, but I remember a Tiger who grimaced in pain after each and every tee shot, used his driver as a crutch to limp around the golf course to find his wayward tee shots that originated from the worn out knee.
I also propose to you, that had we seen the Monster that ruled the links in the prior ten years, there would have been no Monday playoff that year with a little heard of, Rocco Mediate.
There has never been an athlete in history that has come back from that type of knee problem(especially at his age), and was ever able to be the athlete they were prior to the injury. I remember seeing great quarterbacks that could no longer escape the pass rush like they could prior to knee surgery, and I doubt if Tiger Woods can ever return to master he was.
With that being said, the folks who are trying to determine if he is back or not, need to really spend some time defining what the definition of back is. I wouldn’t get too excited about the three wins he has had this year, they were all against a less than stellar field of competition. Yes, even a 60% Tiger Woods is a lot better than most of the people we see teeing it up every weekend, so he is going to win some more tournaments in his career, and probably even surpass Sam Snead’s 82 total wins.
Tiger hasn’t won a tournament this year where he had to face all of the best players in the world such as at the Masters, the US Open and the like. Can he compete on that stage again and win tournaments against the best players in the world that he used to dominate? I don’t think so. I think those days are long gone, and probably will never return for him. I think he can win another Major Championship or two, but I don’t think he will catch and surpass Jack Nicklaus, as once was his goal.
The young golfers who may never be what Tiger was, are still very good, and have proven in Majors this year, that if he doesn’t bring his A Game to these tournaments, he wont intimidate them the way he did a decade ago, and he won’t win those tournaments. The fear factor of playing with Tiger Woods in the final round of a Major Championship for a win was dispelled in 2009 at the PGA in Hazeltine when YE Yang beat him on Sunday.
So let’s get off the subject of is he back or not. Let’s treat him like any other 37 year old athelete who has had knee surgery. Let’s remember what he was, and let’s give him the space to be whatever he is going to be. He still possesses a game most of us would take in a heart beat if we could have it, and he still possess the game, to compete week to week, just not the game to win every week.
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