Looks Like Tiger is Done

Photo credit: Wikipedia

There was a time in my life when I could walk out on the golf course and shoot no higher than 85 any day of the week.  While that may not sound stellar to some, the ability to walk out and manage to not embarrass myself was a blessing, not to mention it was slightly less agitating and stressful.

Notice I said, “there was a time in my life” (yes I just quoted myself from two lines ago) because that was the past.  The last time I played 18 holes and honestly kept score I wound up staring at a 108 on the scorecard.  Needless to say, I got my money’s worth.  The 20-stroke transition did not happen overnight, but it did happen quicker than I expected.  Slowly I became happy with a round in the 90’s, and then found myself complacent with a round that consisted of one or two “good” shots.  It took a while, but I finally came to the realization that I was done being a decent golfer, and would be reduced to being the D player on the weekly scramble team.   While not quite on the same level, I believe that it may be time for Tiger Woods to make the same realization.

Tiger was the best that ever teed it up on the PGA tour or anywhere else.  His dominance lasted for twelve years before his golf game, love life, and personal reputation all crashed into a fire hydrant in November of 2009. Since then he has not won a PGA event, and has disappointed his fans and those who still believed he had it in him repeatedly.

Personally, I kept waiting to see the Tiger of old come out of his shell and run away from the competition on a Sunday the way he used to.  I thought he would do it at the Masters last year…he did not.  Then I thought the U.S. Open would be the stage for his grand comeback…it was not.  Finally, this weekend arrived.  All he needed was a good off season to get his head straight and his swing back on line.  Three rounds in the 60’s and he was back.  In the next to last group on Sunday paired with Phil Mickelson at Pebble Beach, it looked like he had returned to his old self.  We saw shades of the former Tiger, the one who was going to own every record ever written.  The one whom everyone imitated but no one would ever come close to.  Then…he blew it…again.

While he is not necessarily the D player on the scramble team, shooting a worse score than the amateur your playing with (a nice round for Romo by the way) must be a wake-up call.  Is it time to say that Tiger is done?  Sadly, I believe so.

I knew that someday I would watch and say to myself, “you know he just doesn’t have it any more”.  I believed though that it would not be for another 15-20 years. Never in my wildest dreams would I have believed that Tiger Woods, The Tiger Woods, would seem washed up at the age of 36.

I can hear you already yelling at the drastic nature of anyone calling Tiger “washed up”.  It is true; I may be taking it a bit far.  I believe though, that we must all come to the realization that his reign is finally over.

For two years, I have stood amidst laughter and sarcastic sexual references about him, all the while saying, “just wait, he’ll come back, and when he does you better watch out”.  Finally, it is time to grasp the fact that I was wrong (a feat that does not happen often).  This however is harder to comprehend then my own golfing downfall was.  It is difficult to watch a legend that we have adored for years fall apart both personally and professionally.  How do you react to the demise of someone who once seemed infallible?  It is impossible to put into words.

I am not saying that Tiger Woods will never win another golf tournament.  I am saying though that he will never be the Tiger that we once knew.

It reminds me of the only time I got to see Michael Jordan play in person.  It was 2002; he was 39 and playing for the Washington Wizards.  At times he showed flashes of greatness gliding across the floor and occasionally showing glimpses of the tongue waggling Jordan I had watched my entire life.  However, for most of the game, he resembled an old man that needed to be wearing a suit at the game rather than a jersey.

I’m sure Tiger will still find ways to hit a cut punch 210 yards from under a tree and around a TV tower to split two bunkers and roll to eight inches, it just won’t happen as often.  We can all find those shades of greatness from time to time.

Last time I played, I had a string of three pars and a birdie.  I almost had myself tricked into believing I was back; then I shanked two balls out of bounds on a short par 4 and holed a 12-foot putt for a 10.  It happens to all of us, even the great ones; at some point in your life, you will come to realize, I am “done”.

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Chuck Briese, Oak Ridge Now

[avatar user="cbriese" size="thumbnail" align="left"] Chuck Briese has been a resident of South Montgomery County since 1988. He and his lovely and patient wife, Leslie, have six sons, with only one left to finish high school. Chuck has been a Cub Scout leader, a Little League baseball coach, a church youth leader, and a general troublemaker over the course of the past 25 years. He is obsessed with his lawn, and likes restaurants that serve food that fills up the plate. He has a tendency to tilt at windmills, which may explain why he started Oak Ridge Now.

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