The Death of Tiger Only Fans, The Rebirth of Golf

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.*

Gandhi, anyone?

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?

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10 Responses to The Death of Tiger Only Fans, The Rebirth of Golf

  1. Jaybird says:

    This is why prognosticators, who talk about future accomplishments as if they are certainties, are idiots.

    My question is, Why do we have to bring TW into every Rory/Jordan conversation and vice versa? It’s like any mention of Tiger requires you talk about Rory and/or Jordan and any mention of Rory or Jordan requires Tiger talk.

    This is the problem I have with the majors only matter stance. Sam Snead is the all time wins king with 82…..but he only has something like 7 majors so, eh, he was okay. That’s overstating it but you get the point.

    So lets say Rory finishes with 19 majors and 40 overall wins. No way on earth do I consider that to be more impressive then 79 and 14 or 73 and 18. Hell, It’d be tough for me not to put it behind Snead’s 82 and 7. For me, in this scenario where Rory get’s to 19, he’d have to north of 50 overall for me to even think about putting it above Tiger and Jack.

    • Jason says:

      In keeping with my theme of thread jacking to ask the community questions, I want to ask if anyone has seen this classic film. The Tiger Woods Story – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0153080/

      Circa 1998, Showtime pictures. It’s a must see. One of the best “bad” films of alll time.

      • lannyh says:

        I have not. If I have ever even heard of it, I don’t recall it. However, I see John Cho (of Harold and Kumar fame) was in it!

    • lannyh says:

      That’s because you don’t want to. I’m serious. It’s human nature.

      Think of counter-arugments. If Federer had won more Cincinnati Opens and fewer grand slam events, would he bet thought of as highly? What if Rory wins the Grand Slam? That was really Jack’s Holy Grail. And ever other player’s until the golf media and Tiger Woods decided just getting to Jack’s 18 was the goal.

      And don’t you think this is a severe case of changing horses in mid-stream? I’ve got an old SI article I’m going to feature in a few days. It mentions Woods’s list of major taped to the headboard of his bed. So for 18 years, we were told all that mattered was majors, and now, now that Woods is almost certainly going to fall well short, we’re told “we were just kidding” about “chasing Jack.” Majors are — we have now decided — not that big a deal. What is a big deal is…. making a bunch of consecutive cuts — yeah, that’s the ticket!

      And then, lastly, what difference does it make?

      My interest is in the media so obviously lying and distorting in order to fool the public and enrich themselves, and in case of Woods, push a political agenda or social narrative. I’ve criticized that behavior (in other forums, regarding people in positions of political or industrial or financial power) than I have the golf media being all-in for Woods. “All the news that’s fit to print” turned into “All the news you pay us to print.” Or maybe it was always like that; some would maintain so.

      I will say this: I don’t think it’s going to get any easier for Woods in the PR department. It’s a case of the old saying: Be nice to people on your way up because you’ll see them again on your way down.” Woods and the media adulation over him was so over-the-top — even after the scandals, which is where he/they lost me — that people are have little sympathy for him.

      Think about Lebron James vs. Michael Jordan. It was always, “Is Lebron getting close to Jordan?” With golf, it was, “My goodness, but golf sucked with all those past non-athletes. Tiger is showing them how it’s done.” The whole, “when, not if” mentality.

      When I do the SI article analysis, it’s really going to drive home my point.

      • Jaybird says:

        Let’s keep it simple, its not that I don’t want to. I just give some credit to winning a lot, period. Let’s use a different example, If Rory were to get to 19 majors, and had 60 wins, then I could get on board.

      • lannyh says:

        Okay, but surely you will admit such a “reconsideration” represents the most extreme case in all human history of changing horses in mid-stream.

      • Jaybird says:

        You seem to think I shared the media belief. What I’ve been saying here is what I, personally, have believed forever.

    • lannyh says:

      Another point: you wonder why Woods is brought into every Rory/Spieth conversation (and vice versa), well, people have been wondering for years and years why Woods was mentioned every two or three minutes in tournament broadcasts when he wasn’t even playing. Or shown 80 percent of the time when he was nowhere near the lead.

      After enduring that, if Woods fans have to suffer a few years, no one is going to shed a tear for them. The attitude is, “Now you see how we felt.” This is the phase where people tear down all the Saddam statues, so to speak.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Lanny – comparing Woods to Saddam might be your lowest point. Woods transgressions are absolutely and unequivocally no where near that of Saddam Husein. His greatest crimes are infidelity (which is no one’s business but his, his ex-wife’s and his children’s business) and alleged steroid use (that has still not be proven). By your simple “slip” of the keyboard, you have revealed your inability to write objectively in any way with respect to Woods. You have lost a lot of credibility in my eyes. You are now the equivalent of a jilted lover speaking about her ex. I cannot take anything you say about Woods seriously as your judgment is so obviously distorted.

    • lannyh says:

      1. I didn’t compare Woods to Saddam. I compared the reactions and mindsets of the public after Woods/Saddam were exposed/dethroned. Your feigned loss of reading comprehension belongs on GolfChannel.com or Golf.com; it’s beneath the intellect of the readers here.

      2. This is what, the twentieth time you’ve told me you can’t take me seriously? Forgive me for not taking THAT comment seriously.

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