Is Tiger Woods finished?
A second consecutive failure at making the cut in a major probably has sports journalists scurrying to pen obituaries for probably the greatest golfer the sport has ever seen.
Woods last won a major in 2007. Since then, he has battled injuries, an infidelity scandal with the fallout a divorce and intensified scrutiny of his private life and the results have just dried up since.
Jilted lovers and wives who have been subjected to philandering husbands may discover some poetic justice in the high-profile athlete’s predicament and subsequent travails. It would be hard put for anyone (with an axe to grind or not) to not see some connection between his fall from grace and his fall in the rankings since.
That’s as it may be. That’s not for us to decide or deride.
Woods seemed to be putting it all behind him when he recovered his much-vaunted form and reached the apex of the rankings in 2013.
But the Slams still eluded him.
I don’t watch golf. I probably never will.
But there was something mesmerizing about a Cablinasian (Caucasian, Black, American Indian, and Asian) male making it to the top echelons of a sport considered the last white man’s bastion and that too in style. His egalitarian appeal transcended race and nationality and he was the face and spur behind Nike’s foray into the game.
Woods may never win another major. He may never make it past Jack Nicklaus’ 18 Grand Slams.
Arguably, he may never go down as the greatest golfer of all time.
But he deserves to be allowed a chance to enjoy the game in which he achieved greatness, he deserves to be cut some slack while he goes about reinventing his swing and other aspects—yet again. Like all superlative sportsmen, the man craves perfection and it would be foolish to dismiss his reactions to his recent failures as living in the past or excessively positive.
Golf, thankfully, is not a young man’s sport. At least, that’s what pundits would have us believe. I’m not too sure given that major winners are getting younger by the generation.
But the game and its fans will always be thankful to the man who made it one for the masses across the classes in his era and the next.