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Sunday, 29 January 2017

I Wish Jack Would Ring Tiger

There's a new commercial out where Tiger's peers--if we can call them that--talk about his incredible 79 PGA tour wins. Even Phil, with 42 wins, was willing to take part and pay homage to the great Tiger Woods. 

But, in view of Tiger's rather dismal return to competition, this commercial might just end up being the postscript to his incredible career. I watched a piece where Greg Norman talked about Tiger's return and believes that, while Tiger will probably win again "somewhere in the world," he will likely not challenge Jack's Major record. The clock is ticking, according to the Shark, and Tiger's opponents are less intimidated and seventeen months improved from the last time Tiger competed. In fact, many of the top competitors were still in school when Tiger last won a Major.

There's no doubt that Tiger intimidated the hell out of his opponents. Most of them, if Tiger was in the field, were pretty much beaten before they teed it up. They knew--and what's more imortant is that Tiger knew--he was that much better. Then along came a little-known Korean who ran Tiger down in a PGA championship and the man who could not be beaten with a lead in a Major became the man who for eleven years couldn't be beaten with a lead in a Major.

Tiger has never been the same since that defeat. He hasn't won a Major since. Now, you can blame it on injuries. You can blame it on swing changes that haven't helped. You can blame it on the fact that the guy who seemingly never missed a six footer now misses plenty of them. Or you can blame it on all of these things. But the fact remains that Tiger is not the same cat he was when he won his last Major on one leg. The other players know it, and Tiger knows it.

We can hope for a great resurgence from Tiger, but I think the best we can really hope for is one magical win like Jack had in 1986. The golfing gods seem to be willing to let the great ones have one last moment of glory. And if that's the best we can hope for, it will still have been one helluva run.

The nice thing is that we seem to be seeing a kinder, gentler version of Tiger Woods. He smiles more. He's seemingly more comfortable with the media and the other players. I must confess that I like the new Tiger better. Now, if he'd only start playing fades off the tee, like Nick Faldo suggests, maybe he can win a few more. Jack wrote about why he preferred the fade, even though he sometimes played the draw. I wish he'd give Tiger a ring.