with Robert Bicknell
It's kind of pitiful how golf writers stop being journalists and start being unpaid marketers for certain golfers, simply because that particular player automatically assures the item will be read by equally vapid fans who simply cannot get enough of that particular player.
If you visit almost any website devoted to professional golf, you will see at least one story on the guy and probably more before the day is out. It doesn't matter if the guy is winning, losing or injured and not competing.
Yes, I am, unfortunately, referring to Tiger Woods.
Before I get bashed by those who adore the guy and would happily erect shrines and statues to him in their backyards, providing their wives didn't whack them in the head with frying pans, yes, I admire his achievements in golf and his talent.
Of course, I still believe that most of his wins came from the other pros out there trembling in their boots because they have bought into the Tiger myth, which was created long before he ever hit a professional shot. (Hmm, I can hear the Tiger fans gnashing their teeth and starting to chew through coffee cups now.)
Tiger launched his professional career at the end of a season, when most of the big names were home enjoying some family time and only those who needed a few extra bucks to remain on the bottom of the money list and keep their Tour cards were playing the last few events of the season.
The "silly season" (ie, skins games and celebrity endorsed charity events where the big names receive a ridiculous amount of money in appearance fees) hadn't launched yet.
Tiger took those events by storm and got everyone talking. By the time the new season kicked off, everyone had bought into the legend and stood around watching the boy wonder in action. They completely psyched themselves out and were content playing for second place after that.
If you notice, the Europeans didn't buy into the hype and regarded Tiger Woods as a heck of a talented kid, but not a demi-god and certainly were not going to roll over and play dead for him like the guys on the US Tour. Need proof? Look at Tiger's Ryder Cup record. Case closed.
The US players had many reasons to sit back and convince themselves of how good he was, but mostly it came down to money. Tons of it. Because of Woods, attendance at events was skyrocketing, TV viewership was through the roof and everyone made a lot of money.
Nobody wants to kill the golden goose.
Unfortunately, Tiger bought into his own hype and believed himself untouchable until that fateful night where he crashed his SUV into a tree, most likely because his wife was bashing him with a five-iron after tale after tale of his unfaithfulness reached her ears. Later, there would be two to three times the original amount and, again, Tiger's legend grew.
When you have someone who surrounds himself with a cloak of darkness and only what he wants published gets out, the revelations were shocking to most and devastating to his sense of invulnerability. The kid was mortal after all.
Tiger never really recovered from that humiliation, but give him credit for trying. Such a pity those inconvenient injuries popped up to plague him at the worst time and, as with the infidelity, he did it to himself due to his style of swing. By trying to out-do everyone, he did himself in. The human body can only take so much punishment before it breaks.
Now, news sources are linking Tiger to the infamous Dr Anthony Galea, who got busted trying to smuggle HGH into the US and injected many baseball players with anabolic steroids, claiming Tiger paid US$76,000 for 14 visits during which he received legal platelet-rich plasma therapy. OK, sure. Innocent until proven guilty. Right.
The problem that I have with all of this is that, in my opinion, Tiger Woods was great for the golf business, but those days are over. He isn't going to regain his demi-god status and having writers pen stories about him simply because it's easier, instead of other worthier players is a shame.
Tiger isn't coming back, he will not break Jack's record and that's that.
Time to move on. — VNS