Coming into the event, every golfer, non-golfer and wannabe-golfer in the country wondered how Tiger’s game would be in his first match since having knee surgery last April. And without fail, the Tiger show was back on the greens complete with hard fist-pumping (you know he really wanted this win) after long, difficult puts.
His impeccable golf game won over the cocky male-golfer viewers across the nation and it was the gentile Woods cringing in pain while reaching for victory that won over the hearts of every woman who just happened to be watching the match. Yes, last weekend’s Tiger Woods U.S. Open win had a little something in it for everyone – the unfolding drama of watching the wonderboy was as good as it gets.
Sitting in the shadow of Woods last weekend were all the other healthy golfers who couldn’t keep up with their everyday, so-called top of the line play. Last weekend’s performance begs the question: Is Tiger really that good? Or are his competitors not that good? The man came directly off the bench and into one of the largest, if not, second largest tournament of the year, and won it. Is he really that good?
Part of me wants to think that other golfers on the tour have been taking it easy since April because Tiger wasn’t in the game. Hell, why play up to the best, if the best is not in the tournament? Since Tiger’s success in the PGA, everybody, and I mean everybody, has had to play up to what some would call the greatest athlete of our time. With the competition bar raised, PGA ratings have gone through the roof.
But now, unfortunately for the PGA, Tiger is out once again – this time for up to eight months.
After taking his 14th victory on Tuesday, Tiger announced on his website that he would have more surgery to repair the ACL in his left knee and would be missing the rest of the season.
For avid golf fans and, of course, PGA top dogs, the world has come crashing down. Tiger, even before his dramatic win earlier this week, was the reason to watch golf. Golf hasn’t been this fun since fat man John Daly played without his shirt. PGA viewer ratings are about to drop through the floor.
According to The Denver Post, when Tiger is in contention, TV audiences are about 30 percent larger than when he wasn’t playing. Basically Tiger’s absence turns the PGA into B league golf (with exception of Phil Mickelson). So for the rest of the season, I guess it will be like watching AAA baseball. No, it will be worse. AAA ball is actually good.
How will Tiger’s opponents handle his absence? Will it be a time to strive for a championship now that there is a chance? Or is it time to relax and get back to the boring, booty style of golf of the pre-Tiger days?
As with anything successful, there are boom and bust cycles. Tiger brought the boom. Now its bust for the PGA until Tiger returns. But when he does, the excitement will be as great as ever.
There are other implications of Tiger’s absence you might not be aware of. During last weekend’s tournament, couples (husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends, dogs and cats) were watching TV together in happy matrimony. The short-lived golden age of couples enjoying a round of golf on TV is now over.
“I’m not sure my wife will watch much golf with Tiger out,” a Boulder attorney told The Post. “Tiger seems to be all she’s interested in.”
For me, golf has now returned to the thing it was really good for – restful naps on Sunday afternoon after a Saturday of late night fun.