I wasn’t going to write about the Dan Jenkins faux interview with Tiger Woods, but several people have asked about it, so here’s my two cents.
Remember the movie Spinal Tap? It’s a mocumentary about about the decline of a once-big rock band. “It goes to eleven.”
As the band declines, the manager struggles to find bookings. Eventually, he signs a deal for them to open for a puppet show at an amusement park. At this point, there is no denying it: the band is a has-been.
That’s where we are with Woods, although the golf media is in denial and continues trying to convince us the puppet show is Carnegie Hall.
But does that still work? I don’t think so. Do you know anyone who truly believes Woods remains a big deal in golf? Frankly, to me, he’s no longer even interesting as a freak show. I skip the “Tiger Says…” and “Is Tiger…” and “Can Tiger…” and all the other bullcrap non-articles and never look back. Unless you get your jollies from the junior high comment sections (“Tiger sucks.” “No, YOU suck.”), what’s the point?
This is probably the most bizarre prediction I’ve ever made, but I don’t think the golf media will be able to do “Only Tiger Matters” in 2015. Woods is not last year’s model: he’s last decade’s model. Rory is the story, and Woods is not even a paragraph.
Woods has now gone as long without a major as Jack did between his 17th and his 18th. Physically, Woods is a wreck. His image is in even worse shape; he’s a walking punchline. Most observers of the game continue to wait for the coup de grace: further revelations about Galea or Biogenesis.
And the game has moved on. Rory McIlroy has won four major — four! — since Woods’s last major. Martin Kaymer has won two. Think about how long it’s been since Kaymer won the playoff with Bubba at Whistling Straits, the year DJ grounded his club in the “bunker.” Speaking of Bubba, Bubba has two majors himself since Woods last won one. I believe there are a couple of other multiple major winners in that time frame. There have been so many, I can’t even remember them all! The game has moved on.
I’m watching Rory play in Dubai as I type this, but my focus is much more on football this, and every, autumn. I check the golf results on Monday, and that’s about it.
Woods has a puppet show coming up soon. I’m not sure if it’s the Chevron thing or the “two-man South American Ryder Cup.” Whatever the case, Woods has a silly season event he is trying to publicize, and, well, people just aren’t lining up to buy Tiger Tap tickets like they used to. Fuse Science and MusclePharm have replaced AT&T and Accenture and Gillette and Gatorade. Woods’s reaction was an obvious publicity ploy, an attempt to morph his current image from “injured old guy” to, I don’t know, “grouchy old guy”? “Whiney old guy”? Jenkins turns 85 soon. Maybe Woods thinks a public battle with an octogenerian would make him look youthful in contrast.
As for the actual Jenkins piece, I found it tame. Jenkins’ piece about Woods after the 2009 scandal was devastating (“graveyard dead”); this new one was recycled schtick I, or any of my readers, could have produced.
Why did Jenkins even write this, I wondered. My theory is that Jenkins wrote this as a proxy for all the things he can’t write about. Jenkins knows that Woods and Galea and Haney all made statements indicating that Woods was visited by Dr. Galea “only” four or five times. We found out last year that there are at least 14 documented visits from Galea. Dan knows this, but Golf Digest isn’t going to let him write about it. Dan knows about the Biogenesis reports.
(We interrupt this piece to announce Shane Lowry, playing alongside Rory at Dubai, just aced the fourteenth hole.)
He knows about Finchem’s secrecy regarding drug policy violations, and all the other things regular people know. But Dan also has access to the rumor mill, and I’m betting the things Dan could tell us about Woods would shock even the most cynical among us.
I think Chamblee’s “F” last year and Jenkin’s “fake interview” this year are mere proxies for what they would really love to tell us. They don’t fear Woods because Woods would not dare take them to court. After all, testifying under oath is what brought down Lance Armstrong.