Archive for Monday, April 9, 2007

Tiger lost, and that’s what golf needs

PGA’s megastar needs to be brought back to Earth every so often to make things interesting

April 9, 2007


— It's good that Tiger Woods lost because golf is a game that has nothing in common with perfection.

The man was automatic on Sunday with the lead, fully expecting the concession from his challengers, and they happily obliged.

Their primary responsibility, in accordance with CBS network policy, became showering him with rose pedals as another Masters championship parade made its way up the 18th fairway.

But complacency proved the biggest loser Sunday, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

It's good for the game that Woods didn't steal a green jacket-and it would have been larceny, considering he would have been the first Masters champion without a single round below par.

It's good for the game that a modest Midwesterner didn't recoil into the fetal position after Woods closed to within two shots of the lead after an impressive eagle at No. 13 shook Augusta National down to its foundation.

Contrary to Tiger's self-admonishment, he didn't lose this Masters. Zach Johnson won it.

"I basically threw this tournament away on two rounds when I went bogey-bogey on the last two holes," Woods said. "This course was playing very difficult, and all you could do was give yourself as many good chances as possible."

He's human. Well, welcome to the club. We've been waiting.

Johnson's win slammed the door on the prospect of another "Tiger Slam" and I, for one, will not mourn the loss.

The splendor of greatness is its infrequency.

One of my most cherished memories as a columnist was chronicling Woods' incredible run through the majors, beginning with the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in the summer of 2000 and climaxing with his second Masters championship in 2001. Although it wasn't officially a Grand Slam because it didn't occur in the same calendar year, it was the first time that one golfer held the four consecutive major titles of his time in his possession since Bobby Jones did it 70 years earlier.

It grows into a mythology like DiMaggio hitting in 56 straight games, or Chamberlain scoring 100 points in a single night, or UCLA winning 88 straight games.

And if it's threatened too quickly and too frequently, it loses its allure.

Don't believe me?

There's nothing easy about reaching the highest level of athletic competition, but Tiger was another Masters domination away from making it look easy-and you never want that.

Augusta National knocked him down this past week. It grabbed him by the back of the neck and dunked him face-first in Rae's Creek.

It's not easy dominating the majors, but, my goodness, could the rest of the PGA Tour stop making it look so easy for Tiger? That's why Johnson's emergence from a crowded pack was critical for the game. Nobody's going to stop Tiger. Only ill fate will deny him Nicklaus' place in the championship books, but the abject fear that has historically paralyzed the field doesn't help the sport.


speedy 10 years, 6 months ago

until the TV people got involved golf was a great game. whenever the players had to beat each other in match play a win meant something. with medal play it means nothing!!! tiger can catch up if you total up the score instead of elimanating someone each day. golf is now a STUPID easy game. imagine a world series in which the scores were added up to determine the winner. yankees score 12 runs and come from 10 down to win it all 36 to 35. golf is also the second easiest pro game of them all. only bowling is easier. if a 13 yr. old girl and a 80 year old man can shoot par what does that say . its a rich mans game too. who can afford the fees. and imagine a group of minorites decending upon a public course and the business men cannot get a t time. go back to match play. a. palmer and jack nicolas are not an excuse for adding up scores to keep the tv audience watching. there are other good players other than tiger!

speedy 10 years, 6 months ago

how about a hundred yr. old lady hitting a hole in one. easy game i say you also made my point. its a rich mans game!!! the country club set. got a few hundred thousand for me to join up.

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