I’m sure you’ve seen the constant attacks on the ability and accomplishments of Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy in the comments sections on mainstream golf websites. The attitude is, “I want everyone to cheer for Tiger the way the whole world did back in 2001. I want everyone to go along with the narrative of Woods being the sui generis uber golfer of all time. There is no reason to praise Rory McIlroy or Jordan Spieth. I want all coverage to focus on Tiger the way it always has, the way it’s supposed to. However, because the world won’t do that, I am going to attack everything that captivates the golf world now.”
As well, there is a great reluctance to joyfully speculate about what Rory and Jordan might accomplish in their careers. Circumspection is the order of the day — odd, because circumspection was MIA for the entire career of Tiger Woods. You’ll remember some of these Greatest Hits:
It’s not if, it’s when. Greatest Of All Time. Twenty-five or thirty majors before it’s all said and done. No one else could hit that shot. We’ve never seen anything like this before. He made golfers rich. He moves the needle. Golf will die without Tiger.
Some even said Woods made the stock market go up. Others said he was the reason President Obama was elected.*
Now, suddenly the people who couldn’t be gullible enough when it came to Tiger Woods find it absolutely preposterous that Rory McIlroy, on pace to catch Jack, might… catch Jack.
Reminder: Rory McIlroy has already won three times this year. He holds two majors. He’s the number one player in the world. He just turned 26.
Reminder: Jordan Spieth has won twice this year, including the Masters, and has three other second place finishes. And, oh yeah, he also won two events last December. He’s 21.
The Woods Only crowd, hopelessly clinging to the past and upset that people have noticed Woods will soon be 40 — make comments about Rory and Spieth as if they were the 39-year-old playing out his final act.
Okay, enough rambling. Here’s my point: I don’t think Woods Only crowd’s interest in golf can endure much longer. No one follows a sport where they have disdain for every participant save one, especially when that one retains only a marginal relevance.
Looking ahead, combine the departure of the Woods Only crowd with what I see as a budding “Revolt of the Hackers” — everyday golfers balking at the high-priced green fees, slow play, expensive ever-changing equipment, ipso facto ban on pullcarts — and it seems certain golf is about to enter another Golden Age, with Rory and Jordan as Jack and Arnie.
* Get in the Way Back Machine and read this Mike Bianchi article from 2008, before the Woods scandals of 2009:
If you’re searching for tangible reasons why it became possible for Barack Obama to make his historic run at the presidency of the United States, then look no further than the golf course, basketball court or football field.
Before a young, biracial Barack Obama captivated a political process monopolized by old white men, it was a young, biracial Tiger Woods who conquered a sporting landscape dominated by old white men. When you attend a golf tournament today, the mostly white fans in their Tommy Bahama shirts and nicely pressed slacks cheer Tiger as one of their own.
In addition to the Obama link, it’s fascinating to note the description of the “white fans” who “cheer Tiger as one of their own.” Now any of those white people who cheered Tiger but no longer do (after Woods’s scandals) are told they are “racists.” For judging Woods by the content of his character.
That’s how mixed-up and unhealthy the World of Tiger Woods has become. Talk about failed promise. Who could have envisioned this end for Tiger Woods?