The Masters: Tiger Woods Needs To Start Winning Golf Tournaments Again ASAP
We gave Tiger Woods the benefit of the doubt last year. Though we desperately wanted him to give us a reason to watch golf again, we sort of expected him to struggle while his personal life turned into a living hell. Don’t get us wrong: He deserved everything that he got—the divorce, the mistresses spilling his business to the tabloids, the negative press—but we secretly hoped that he’d bounce back and provide us with one of those magical Tiger tales at some point that would become one of the biggest sports stories of the year.
By now, you know that didn’t happen. Tiger struggled all year long, failed to register a win at any of the major tournaments, and basically provided us with more questions than answers. Not only did he perform poorly at most of the events he entered, but he performed so poorly people openly questioned whether or not he’d be able to become the best golfer in the world again. Of course, some of it was just idle banter and sports radio mumbo-jumbo. But a lot of it was legitimate concern for the future of golf without a player like Tiger Woods in it.
Entering the 2011 season, a lot of those same questions are still unanswered. In the weeks leading up to The Masters—which teed off yesterday in Augusta, Georgia—I read a number of columns theorizing why Tiger might be able to bounce back this season. More practice time! An improved personal life! A divorce that’s no longer hanging over him! A new girlfriend! A fly new crib! But few of them touched on the elephant in the room, the one thing that needs to be said right now: Tiger Woods has to start playing better and winning golf tournaments, or he might single-handedly destroy our interest in him and the game of golf.
If it wasn’t for Tiger, I personally wouldn’t be writing a blog on golf. I enjoy the game and enjoy watching it on TV from time to time, but I wouldn’t have the sort of intrigue and interest in it if Tiger Woods wasn’t participating. I’ve also started to lose interest in the “Can Tiger comeback?!” aspect of Tiger’s personal story. While it worked last year and held my attention, the answer at this point seems to be a resounding “No!” Tiger doesn’t have the masterful game he once had and, more importantly, he doesn’t have the invincibility all truly legendary athletes have. You can pretend he does and look past all the flaws that have reared their ugly head over the course of the last year, but for me, at this point, Tiger is damaged goods as an athlete.
Here’s hoping he can go on another one of those insane winning streaks to prove last year was simply a fluke. He went through a lot in his life last year, of course, but he needs to show the world that that period in his life is over. He needs to get his head back into the game of golf and make a mark on the course this year. We need less stories about how big his new house is, how pretty the new girl he’s been spotted with is, and how rich his ex-wife is now—and more stories about how great Tiger looked on the back 9 and how incredible he’s been playing as of late.
As they say, winning cures everything. It can make a dysfunctional team have chemistry. It can make a manager or coach look like a genius. It can restore the faith of fans and give them a renewed sense of hope moving forward. But in Tiger’s case, winning is really the only thing he can do to show us that he’s every bit as good as we used to think he was. If he wants to be mentioned in the same breath as the Jordans, Alis, and Ruths of the world, he needs to start #winning and he needs to start winning now.
Otherwise, he’s just another athlete trying to find his way in his sport. And we won’t put down everything and stop our lives to watch, will we? Here’s to hoping The Masters is the start of something special again for the guy we used to think was a golf god.